Thursday, January 24, 2013

The Background Story

I always get a lot of emails and questions about how I came to work in the fashion industry and how/why I started my blog. It's all sort of a long story, and I never really thought it interesting enough to share. But I was reflecting a lot about how far I have come from where I was before and I just started writing. I've had this post saved for quite some time, and I think that now might be the perfect time to finally let ya'll get to know me a little better. So here you go. My little background story.

 
Color Me Nana actually started under said name way back in my junior year of college (fall of 2007) when I was still a direction-less little Bio major at UCLA. I was studying chemical reactions, growing mold in petri dishes, and figuring out the velocity of footballs being thrown at (insert # of degrees here) angles. My life was faaaaaaaaaaar from going in any sort of fashion-forward track. I mean I always LOVED fashion and gravitated towards it the whole way through. I just never expected it to actually be a career for me. More of just a hobby. I mean hey, I liked to get dressed up for Bio class. So what?? I spent an ape-shit amount of nights studying under that disgusting desk lamp in my dorm room filling my head with numbers, theories, and formulas that I didn't really care about as much as I should. It was just work, work, work for me. Too much effort and not enough love to actually be worth it. Underneath the serious, go-getting, soon-to-be (hopefully) medical school student that I was for two years was a serious, go-getting creative type just looking for a way out. Sorry Mom and Dad, but there isn't going to be a third doctor in the family.

I felt like a failure (just for a day) when I got back my horrible physics score (I HATED HATED that class), I called my parents and told him that I couldn't do this anymore. Yes, there were definitely tears in my eyes. Yes, I definitely felt a little defeated. And yes, I felt totally extremely small and lost. But I also felt a huge weight lifted off my shoulders. This whole wanting-to-be-a-doctor-sort-of-thaaaang just wasn't for me. It sounded great on paper. But in real life, my heart and my head just wasn't in it for the long run. I wanted to excel at something I was actually GREAT at and PASSIONATE about. I wanted to finally feel at ease and confident. I switched my major to American Literature and Culture the next day and it all went uphill from there.


It made sense I would study English, growing up as an avid reader and writer of short stories. My entire high school career was intricately laid out in a diary spanning a series of maybe 20 different composition books (all still back at home in Cali, and all hopefully still safely hidden from my mother). I consumed books with a hunger that even I was shocked to realize looking back on the situation. Analyzing stories came naturally to me and I was for once INTERESTED. I finally felt in my zone. But still I had no idea what that would mean for my future, especially with my mom telling me that being an English major basically meant that I would be unemployed for the rest of my adult life (she doesn't think so anymore, of course!). But after putting myself through over 2 years of a creatively stifled college experience, it felt very worth it to me to follow my heart and dreams, and just let that take me where it should. I hated having everything planned out for me step by step. The idea of going by a book kind of freaked me out. I was never good with making plans. The offbeat path seemed like the right one for me.

Magazines and Style.com were my haven and editorials filled my mind with dreams and stories (most likely the reason I couldn't concentrate on studying for organic chemistry class). Fashion has always been such a wonderful, enjoyable thing for me, ever since my mom made me my first pair of plaid pants to wear to school. I couldn't help falling into this direction-less direction. I still wasn't sure what I wanted to be in life, but not really knowing felt right to me. And so Color Me Nana blossomed. And it was my escape. I started my blog on a whim. The idea just hit me one day, and I wanted and needed a place to keep my thoughts and sartorial interests all in one place. Color Me Nana back in 2007 was far different from what it is today. My blog always had a strong sense of passion behind it, but I feel like my blog today is a lot more of just straight up ME, which a much stronger focus on photography and personal creative direction (two things I really love). I started interning at Teen Magazine and was freelance writing for online fashion publications. I went on to work in the girls' marketing team at Volcom as the social media manager (a job that truly stimulated my interest in marketing and social media).


Then I made the big ass move to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, two weeks after hearing about and accepting a web stylist position at the Free People home office. I always dreamed of making it to the east coast eventually, specifically NYC, but Philly will do for now. For me, Philly was the start of something brand new and super grand. My independence, drive, and lust for life grew so much over the past year, it's unbelievable. I've taken in so many new experiences, met so many new people, and seen so many new places. I have to say I am very lucky.

I styled for 4 months before making a change within the company to the e-commerce team as Free People's copywriter. It felt like the right move for me to explore and utilize my writing abilities, and get to work with even more departments within the company. It's my job to make the clothes we sell at Free People sound pretty, floaty, wearable and on brand. I describe the detail of each and every product that goes up online, including our massive vintage collections, and sometimes I work on homepage and email copy. I work with outside vendors to make sure I am giving our customer the correct information about what they are purchasing. I'm always running around to the web studio looking for samples. There are so many aspects of my job that I don't even think a lot of people at my work now about, and at times it can be very stressful. But thank goodness I am a very organized and hardworking person. Someone's got to do the job right.

Ever since moving to Philly, I've been diving more into photography, and who know where I plan to be in the future?? I love the game of it all. And I always trust my heart. There are still so many things I want to do in this industry, and I ain't gonna stop. I feel super lucky that even in this economy, I am able to have a full-time job at a company I love and have been inspired by for years, while also being able to run my blog and pursue my other passions outside of my daily 9-6 desk job. I couldn't ask to have it any better really.

There have been so many ups and downs the past 4 years, and I've learned that you just have to take it all by the reins, with your head up and your heart wide, wide open. Nothing comes easy, and that is the fun of it all. That's why life is interesting. You never know what's around the corner. And reaching a goal feels so much more grand when you get on the other side after going over hurdle after hurdle. So with that said, here's to more excitement to come in the future!

Yikes, what a cheesy post! But I hope it lets you guys get to know me a little better. And I hope it inspires you all to go after what your dreams. And to never say never (as sung by Justin Bieber . . . love that song by the way).

And here is to Marilyn Monroe, for reminding me every single day that:


**All flower pictures taken by yours truly!

43 comments:

marinecoe said...

Thanks for sharing this with us. I really appreciate that.
Kisses.

http://wtshnoname.blogspot.pt/

olivia grace said...

This is one of the most inspiring posts I've read for a long time! I dropped out of uni as I felt the same of my course, started focussing a whole lot of time on my blog and have never looked back. I'm currently freelancing and have no idea about what's round the corner, and looking at it from your point of view I kind of like it that way. Your blog is one of my new favourites, and your style is completely flawless xx

EmerJa said...

Love the way you0ve written it all. Thanks for sharing for story, your dreams. :) I love coming here and read you and see ypur amazing ans inspiring looks.


www.emerjadesign.com

The Fancy Teacup said...

Such lovely and enchanting captures. x

www.TheFancyTeacup.com

Sweet Laundry said...

For someone who loves your blog and follows along on twitter and Instagram I would have to say that this post really helped me to get to know you better. Sometimes the Internet can be misleading. I just think you're amazing :)

monkeyshines ♥ said...

stunning photos!


Bises,
monkeyshines
http://monkeyshines-monkeyshines.blogspot.com/

Scatter Girl said...

Thanks for sharing your story! It's great to hear that, even though you didn't have a clear direction, you're loving what you do now. Very inspiring xx

http://scattergirll.blogspot.com

Shandrese/ Natalia said...

This is such a wonderful story! Very inspirational! So happy for your success :)

http://sincerelyrenay.blogspot.com/

Jeans Please! said...

beautiful roses!

Lucia said...

this is a beautiful post, and it's really nice to see something like this on a fashion blog, where you really speak about your life and acheivements. it's inspired me to keep on going! xo

Http://whothefuckismickjagger.blogspot.com

MintJulep said...

You're a very creative and beautiful soul, indeed you are, but I am of the belief that not everyone will accomplish their dreams or be successful, and sometimes one does need to just give up a goal that is never about to be reached, because it is bringing only sadness and frustration. But I have been reading your blog since my son was born - 2008 - and I have loved seeing your evolution and your growth as a human being, one I truly admire and like even if I do not know you except from your blog. I wish you all the best and a lot of success, and let me say that your photography just keeps getting better. Way to go, Dylana.
http://fashionfauxpas-mintjulep.blogspot.com

Seeking Style said...

What a beautiful story Dylana! it seems that you are truly flourishing in your element now and I only see great things for you to continue in the future :)

xo Jennifer

http://seekingstyleblog.wordpress.com

Andrea said...

aww i love that post and i am so happy for you that everything turned out so great!

odysseyhome.com said...

Lovely and inspiring story. If we don't follow our heart, we're going to be unfulfilled.
You had me at the roses photos! :)

Jacqueline davis moranti said...

Talk about passion! This was truly inspiring, thanks for sharing this!

Burgundywhispers.com

Stamina said...

Thanks for sharing! It is so inspiring!!

http://staminasproject.blogspot.com/

Kiwi Fashion Blog said...

You two are absolutely adorable I do want to wear something like this... a long fowy dress with a demin over it...tall boots (better yet with a guitar)!

bisbee said...

Very nicely written...but I think you mean "take it all by the reins" instead of "reigns".

Annelise Bee said...

i liked this post, i only started following your blog maybe 6-7 mnths ago and it always seemed like everything in you life was so together and perfect. its reassuring to know you weren't always so sure of the direction your life was headed. i just graduated from college and am still a little but lost and creatively stiffened..actually you just inspired my next blog post. gonna go write it hahah thanks and byee :o)

Lizzy said...

I'm from Philadelphia, and though it's no New York, it's got a gritty, scrappy charm all its own :)

Marina y Brais said...

I really love your blog and your post
I´m a fan, haha
xxx,m

Soha♥ said...

Lovely pictures, inspiring! ♥ XOXO

www.sohamokdad.blogspot.com

JM Mericle said...

I can't help but be curious about the "secret" lives of bloggers that I respect and admire -- it is such a treat to be able to hear your story and learn more about you. Thank you so much for sharing, and opening up about your struggles and accomplishments. Too much of my life I've also felt direction-less; struggling to achieve goals that are actually what other people want or expect of me. I know it's cheesy to say "follow your dreams" but through hobbies and interests you really can find something that makes you happy -- especially when you're as hardworking and practical about it as it sounds like you are! Or at least that's what I think I've discovered... and the journey never ends. Who knows where you will go next with photography or the next passion that strikes you!

www.threadandbones.com

Kb said...

Lovely post and great to know more about you, I hope I can write something equally as uplifting when I sort my life out!

Akilah -Smoothiefreak- said...

This is a great story. I feel like I'm hitting my stride on my blog, but I get the whole "road less traveled" sentiment. How did you get so involved with modeling jobs? I'm not really a model but I just think it's really cool that between e-commerce, blogging, and modeling, you have had such big success. I think that's just the greatest!

www.ItsAkilahObviously.com

Morgan Erina said...

I love this post so much. Your words are inspiring, and make me feel like I won't be lost forever. Thank you


Willowtreespace.blogspot.com

fran said...

so beautiful post baby...
fran

http://www.showroomdegarde.blogspot.com.es/2013/01/red-rocker.html

demypagoudi said...

Oh God, I needed this SO much right now. It only made me love you even more <3

caylee said...

<3 you so much dydy.

irene wibowo said...

lovely quotes! :) Irene Wibowo

Jenelle Witty said...

Sharing this has made me love your blog even more. Thank you, your story is very inspiring. You were one of the first bloggers to ever comment on my blog, and I was so happy to read yours, and follow your journey since.

Love the roses, you never know what is coming do you? Anything is possible after all.
Much love,
Jenelle
http://shutmyeyescantfindthebreak.blogspot.com/

Kacie Cone said...

Aw gosh this is so nice to read, thank you for the glimpse into your life. Your someone I aspire to be like and to see how you got here is awesome for me to read! Thank you for posting this!

Domonique Wilson said...

What a lovely and endearing post- I'm sure a lot of people have found themselves in a similar situation- heck I even struggled and still do today not knowing where your future lies. I love how nothings set in stone and can literally change in a matter of days!

Great post lovely!

http://lilylovelock.blogspot.co.uk/

x

ira s. said...

Thank you so much for sharing your story! I am glad you found your way! And it's obviously the right one!

http://honeylaceandsugar.blogspot.de

Andrea Robledo said...

One of your best posts ever! I appreciate this so much! I really do!

fizz said...

love reading your story, and your photos are absolutely gorgeous!!! i've been a long-time follower of your blog so it's definitely awesome to see how your life has changed and where it has taken you!

xo

freshfizzle

Kira said...

What an amazing and inspiring post!
You have shown me that you can do anything if you have the drive an passion for it <3
Thanks so much for sharing
xx,
Kira

lavelle said...

Your job sounds very similar to mine! I work for a UK website selling designer clothes as the Content CoOrdinator! I would love to work for FreePeople though.

I love your blog - your photography just gets better and better! I love the collages you have been posting recently.

Keep it up!

Much love x

Camille said...

yes! another post with depth and a lovely story. it's refreshing for readers of blogs to get a real sense of what happens "behind the curtain". it humanizes the blogger - you! - and makes the blogger/reader relationship all that more compelling. thanks for sharing...

Camille said...

yes! another post with depth and a lovely story. it's refreshing for readers of blogs to get a real sense of what happens "behind the curtain". it humanizes the blogger - you! - and makes the blogger/reader relationship all that more compelling. thanks for sharing...

SiĆ¢nicles said...

You're amazing! Makes me proud to be a Web & Press Assistant, I love writing about clothes all day :-) xx

Jessica Santos said...

I like the photos*

www.jessicadesign24.wix.com/jessiejames
www.facebook.com/buyjessie.j
www.bonjourjessie.blogspot

Dessiree said...

I just found your blog because of instagram and I love it, youre such an inspiration and this post inspired me a lot more. I am struggling right now with my major at school and you have my dream job.
besos, Adi