Trixie Q & A: Everything (or close to) You Wanted to Know About Trisha Trixie

Trixie Q&A

(I was schedule to do a Q & A for a YW Resource Center that then didn’t happenbut I had all the questions ready so I figured I would repost them here and answer them for YOU, my readers)

Your background (where you grew up, where you went to school,etc )

I am a transplant. Which if you haven’t ever heard that before means I came from somewhere else. But I am a unique transplant. I was born here, in Iowa but grew up in California. Then I became a gypsy (or so it felt) I moved back and forth in my adult life between Iowa and California a few times, and many other places as well. NYC, Colorado, Wyoming, Arizona, you name it. The last time I came back to Iowa was 2006 and I have been here since. Not sure when I will be leaving again, but I know I will. It is just in me to roam.

I grew up within walking distance from Disneyland. I had a pass to go in and as I got older going to a part of the park that had a dance area for teens was what I did as a teenager. I also wen to Angels games nearly every weekend as well. And by the way, to be clear they are called the ANAHEIM ANGELS, not the Los Angels Anaheim Angels. LOL

I went to junior high, high school and college in California. For my college I went to Brooke’s College for Design where I learned everything about design including but not limited to fashion. Fashion Design, Graphic Design, how to do Magazine Layouts, Logos and such, Interior Design, Multimedia Design, Websites, HTML, Dreamweaver, and as I said, Fashion, Art, Croqois, Fashion Illustrations, and Regular Art Classes and oddly enough my most favorite being Typography. 

The schooling was very expensive and my grants ran out so I left that school and got my AA at Long Beach City College and then went onto Irvine Valley College for further training in Adobe products and html coding.

After I was married awhile I also decided to be a Genealogist and got my Certification in Genealogy (Family Historian) so I went to BYU and did that for years. I specialized in Brick Wall Ancestry and also was a Transcriptions and Research Analyst. I can find things on Google you would be amazed! I wrote a local Column for awhile as well The Gen Tree Column and gave Tip and Tricks and even did Genealogy Classes and Talks. I was the youngest Genealogist on the the Genealogy Circuit only being 27 years of age at the time.

I left California when I was 19 and moved back to Iowa. then the true hardships began.

The hardships (The skeltons the family doesn’t want to hear about)

When I was 8 years old, I was molested by a family member, when I was 10 years old, my father passed away, when I was 14 someone tried to take advantage of me again, When I was 18 I was dated raped by someone I trusted, when I was 19 I got pregnant and seriously, I had NO clue how it happened, When I was 20 we got married because of the baby, after we were married his true colors came out, I tried to leave and join the military, this was in 91 when all the Saudi things were going on, I freaked out and felt like I was pregnant, but the Sergeant wouldn’t  test me, when I got home we found out I was exactly one month pregnant, the time I was in basic training, they sent me home on a psychological discharge meaning I could never get called up in the military again, had second baby, since my first pregnancy and labor was so horrific (life flights, blue face, heart rate down for baby,etc) they said since I was a model and so small my body was not ready to have kids and had me sign a paper that said if there were complications i the labor that I might come out with my tubes tied, the anesthesia didn’t take and the doctor had to shoot locals in my stomach so of course when I came out I asked  and find out that yep, tubes tied, all this for me and my first husband to fight constantly only to end with him strangling me and me walking away to save my life having to leave my kids, thus after him and his family committing me to a mental ward saying I was psycho and taking custody of my kids, when I got out of there I just knew I had to leave and went back to California to get my life together, thus fighting a ten year battle for custody of my kids only for them to be of teen years to back out saying they would stay where they were, only to have 6 months later my son get in trouble with the law and that is why I came back here to Iowa in 2006.

I know that was long winded and sounded like a lot. But sadly…that is only a SMALL portion of my life story.

Why did I want to tell you all that? Because I want to share with you that doctors asked me how I was still sane after that kind of life. My answer. I choose to be. Life is what you make it. I used to be fragile. Now I teach other women how to go from Fragile to Fabulous. I am currently working on an update to my e-course Be Fabulous “ How I went from Fragile to Fabulous”.

I want to inspire others and share my story and help others see , you CAN be happy. You CAN have a good life. You CAN be Fabulous. The choice is yours.

What led you to your current career

I always knew I loved Fashion and Designing since the movie Pretty in Pink when she tore those dresses apart, drew a small design and then made something else for herself. I used to do that with my room and clothes when I was in high school so I knew way back then I loved the element of design.

I like many people followed what others told me would be a good career. I worked in food service in high school, hostessing then waitressing. Going in circles in my life, or so I felt.

Then eventually became a manager at a restaurant. One day I was managing and the cash drawer was off and I got in trouble for it because I was manager, the restaurant had a lot of issues that night, and we had tons of calls of complaints.

I went home that night and thought “Why am I doing this? I am miserable. I hate this. I am not happy. I am doing this for my kids yet I feel like I am going nowhere”

So the next day, I gave my notice, they let me go early and I packed my bags and headed back to California.

What are your passions/ hobbies/ dreams/ special talents?

I love to dance, sing and model. I went to a school called The Colony in Calif where they taught you all these things. When I turned 18 I looked like I was 15 and my modeling agency asked me if I would model with some other girls for Teen and Seventeen magazine. I did a few car shows after that and a couple of Mall Runway events where  got free product. But that was it.

I did other things for awhile and when I moved back to Iowa at 21 I connected with another agency here in Iowa called Avant and was a Stivers Lincoln Mercury girl once, did an infomercial and a couple of low kewl photo shoots where I was an extra.

In what ways do your personal interests align with your career?

I love fashion. but I like creating my own style. I like to be different and creating couture fashionable aprons that look like dresses does that. When people say, this would make a cute dress, I beam with pride because to me that is the highest compliment anyone could give me.

What does your typical work day look like?

My typical work day is different every day but there are a very general guides I like to try to follow to help me be successful.

Mondays are Marketing Mondays. Reaching out to others, phone calls, emails, updating blogs online, updating websites and such. Generally do things to help market, advertise and brand myself and my company.

Tuesdays are Trixie Tuesdays. If I haven’t written my blog for this day then I get up early and do that. I have two blogs I put on on this day and I alternate between them. on my TrishaTrixie.com site where I sell and discuss my aprons I might have a how to Be Fabulous on this day or talk about something retro, vintage or old school.

My other blog Trixie Tabloids, Lessons Learned from a Fabulous Fashionista I discuss lessons I have learned along the way. I have had many people ask me to share my knowledge with them and instead of trying to find the masses I let the masses come to me to hear my lessons if they do desire.

These blogs and others I may write I repost onto other sites once I have published them so this also takes up time in my day. I copy the link and repost it to Google, Stumbleupon,Independent Fashion Bloggers. The posts automatically post to Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn so it gets out to those groups without me doing extra work.

Wednesdays are generally mine to do what I want with. Sometimes I run errands, sometimes like this week I was sewing like a maniac and gluing things and unleashing my creative side. From time to time I post a What Not Wednesday but that is up to me. 

Thursdays I generally go to network events. There are a few in Ankeny and other places that I attend and this helps me get out of the house and connect with others. Across the world everyone know Thursdays are Throwback Thursdays so I like to post a little picture of something Vintage or Retro. I means, this is Prime Time for a Retro girl!

Fridays are actually pointless, I mean seriously  who wants to work on Fridays. So I allow myself to be me. Whatever happens happens. That could be a hookie day or a work day or go run around day. So I have Fabulous Fridays! I try to have an uplifting Audio to send a little positive energy going out to my followers. There is a site called Audioboom. You can record audio and add an image. I like to do that and then post on Social Media. I also post in my Be Fabulous Private Group.

And then my weekend are mine and my hunnys. We currently are fixing up the house and do inside or outside work and on Sundays we have Switch off Sundays so we either play hobby board games or go for walks exploring different trails of DSM. We are getting married in 2015 (War and Swing Era theme at the WindPoint Lighthouse in Racine Wisconsin) so we are quite busy, but still make time for each other these days and our date night Wednesdays.

(Adjustment to this since  wrote it. I now have a fabulous assistant who is my Social Media Manger and handles a great percentage of this for me. I still write a great deal of the time, however she writes on Facebook and on the blog as well. I wanted to give a shout out and make sure you know there are no TWO HEADS writing on http://www.trishatrixie.com and Facebook and I am no longer a one woman show. )

What do you like most about your career? What do you like least about your career?

I love that it is mine. My own. My business. I get to make the decisions. Good or bad. I am not making some company money earning the “almighty dollar” for them and getting nothing in return.

What I like least is the struggle at times. Being an entrepreneur is hard. Many people think I sit around in my jammies all day. I do not. I still have a house to take care of, create things and work hard to make my businesses successful. I get up at 630 every morning and make breakfast and start my day with my sweeties then send him on his way. Then I get cracking. He comes off and gets to leave work at work. I may still be sewing or creating and take a break long enough to make dinner, do dishes and spend some times with him. Luckily my kids are grown and older and out of the house. Even luckier is that my fiance’ likes to play video games so we get our own times at night. He plays games, I generally go back to work. I have to tell myself to rest or if I work too hard my body tells me to stop and then I have to listen.

Why is that important? I have arthritis, I have lower lumbar problems i my L2,3,4 and l5 vertebrae, I get severe migraines. I am in pain of some form or the other all the time. BUT, I do not let that stop me. I have made the decision that I can’t allow that to rule my life. My family all groaned and moaned my whole life about some ailment or the other and I couldn’t stand how that stopped them from living the life they wanted. I decided I would keep doing what I love until I couldn’t’ do it anymore and if that ever really happens then I promised to do things like this and talk to others and reach out to help inspire and encourage others to follow their dreams too.

Do you have internship opportunities at your agency? What is an internship?

I am always looking for interns. But because I am a small LLC, Sole Proprietorship business I rarely can pay anyone. I generally hire interns from schools and colleges who are looking for hours for their work study or coursework or someone who is wanting the experience. That is their pay. When I have it, I pay them or give them things they want from my line, aprons, fascinators, etc. From time to time I have paid interns/assistants but actually I connected better with those who are trying to earn it through hours because they work harder. However, I have found this is not always the case. It is amazing when you find that RARE individual or tribe that beleives in you, supports you and wants to see you succeed. I have this little tribe of people called The Trixe Tribe. They are a small handle of people, less than a handful who are always cheering me on, helping me here and there, and rarely ask for anything. I send them a fascinator, an apron, one I feed Ice cream sandwiches (that’s literally all the boy wants) , and one I buy her daughter (who is my mini intern, upcoming entrepreneur little coloring princess sticker books and the mom I pay her when I can and buy her food when she helps me at my booths for tradeshows and pay on the value of when I make money she makes money and she is just the best thing that has happened to me. So, you  know, there are always opportunities everywhere. If there is a company you are interested in, evern if they aren’t saying there is, ask them. Tell them why you want to work with them. You would be surprised. They might need your help and don’t know it. They might think you would NOt be an asset but come to find out, you would be the biggest asset, they never you could be 🙂

What advice would you give others who are interested in your field?

I always tell others to follow their dreams. Even to an extreme point. Something I have learned is that working part time for someone else and trying to live a dream generally does not work. I am not going to say it has never worked because I am sure there are those people out there who it HAS worked for. But Shark Tank and other Investors I have spoke with Start Up City DSM and Business Innovation Zone always tells me and in seminars they have given that you have to work your dream 24/7 to really make it work. Consider that if you are part time that there is someone like me working 24/7 and that is some heavy competition.

Be prepared to work hard. Be prepared to also only do 20% of your dream and the rest marketing, advertising and working hard to be successful. Too many times people think “I’m going to be a Fashion Designer and then I will get to draw, design and make fashions all day.” Not true. I have to schedule time to design, I have to schedule time to draw for fun, and as I said earlier I even schedule time to sew.

Do I love it. Sure. Would I work for anyone else? HELL NO.

Ok, wait, I take that back. Because I WOULD work for someone else if it was in the Fashion Industry doing what I love. If it was the PERFECT JOB, in a PERFECT Career, meaning it was with a company, I have loved and admire and “I” wanted to work there, then HELL YES, I would. (didn’t want to stab myself int eh foot later dont the road) lol

I would rather struggle everyday doing what I love then being miserable doing what I  hate for someone else. (unless what I said)

What advice would you give young people who aren’t sure if they should attend college?

Honestly, I am one of those that doesn’t agree with the College mentality. Earning a degree is just a status quo. Society says we should do it so we do. “College” per say I feel is pointless unless you are going after those fields that require it.

However, “LEARNING, TRAINING, etc” I feel is required. I learned so much from others, small courses, e-books, e-courses, Craftsy, Etsy, Small group sessions, Coaching from a business coach, life learned in from a Life Coach and networking and going to seminars, meetings and conferences. But then again, I am a gleaner. I glean. I can take from others and learn it fast, make it my own and run with it. Not everyone is like that.

How do you advocate for female leaders within the community?

This honestly is a hard one to answer. I think everything here in Des Moines is about cliques. If you are in the right clique you go far. I am sorry if that sounds cynical but sadly I feel it is true. In California and other big sites however I feel the population is so much higher that the society in those areas does not have the time to be focused on the petty things because they are all working on greater things.

I used to have a non profit here in Des Moines Warriors for the Homeless. I tried hard to make a difference. I failed. But I failed successfully. I DID make a difference. But I had to let that part of my life go. I felt a calling to higher and better things and I knew I could still make a difference in another way. And now I have.

By doing what I love I have SHOWN how to be successful, I have shown how to be a positive influence, I have shown how to be passionate, I have allowed my actions to speak louder than my words. I feel THIS message is more important than having a non profit. Now, my business can still help the homeless and others in the community. Now I just do it at the holiday time under my OWN company.

Hopefully sharing my life with you and sharing my life story has inspired and encouraged you.

If you ever want to share your story with me I would be happy to listen.

If you want to join my Be Fabulous workshop email me and I will add you to the list.

“When given the option of being fabulous, why would you choose anything else?”

Until next time,

Xoxo Trisha Trixie

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Interns and Assistants

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As a business owner in a fashion business, Interns and Assistants are a staple of the biz. If you are lucky the road in your business with interns and assistants is smooth sailing. But it appears to me that nine times out of ten that is not the case. I have heard horror stories near and far from assistants and interns who have really messed up.  I thought it might be fun to share some of those horror stories with you.

Click Here to find out some interesting Intern stories for a good laugh.

I am noticing that so far the interns and assistant I have had really do not understand the fashion world. They do not understand because they are just people who want some extra money or someone who is a stay at home mom or a dad or grandpas who just wants to fill time.  They evidently have never seen The Devil Wears Prada or seen reality TV Shows like The Hills or others of this kind. The fashion business is brutal. It takes a lot of hard work and persistence and many long , hard hours. Interns and assistant are supposed to be there to make the job easier for a designer.

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Here is another little story segment about what happens with unpaid Interns in the real fashion world

As one designer pointed out to British Elle, younger, less established designers are in a particularly difficult position because they may not even be able to pay themselves, let alone their interns. And on the other side of it, major designers have tons of people dying to give them free labor just to have the name on their resumés.

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My first intern issues was earlier this year. After changing my business around from showcasing ALL fashions to just fashions about my niche and desire I had issue number one. The intern no longer wanted to be a part of the business I was changing it into and fell off within one day stating the dream and vision of the company I was going in was not something she felt comfortable with.  I learned head first and head on that not everyone is going to see your vision and on top of that they may not be willing to wait to see it yoru way and see what you see further down the line.  Not only was this frustrating to me because I had professional guidance from a Business Coah to go in the new direction but with the coach’s inspiration I was able to see a vision that the intern could not see.

The second issue with an intern was regarding payment of work provided. She felt that the amount I was paying was not worth the amount of work I was requesting. However, I did tell her to do things in her spare time and I also told her that she needed to be open and honest with me about the workload.

In my business there has been such a big controversy from my interns and assistants about paid versus unpaid interns, how much I pay them or how little. What I realized in all this is that is this may always be the case for one thing. Second, I need to align myself with those who are familiar with this in the fashion industry and we actually desire to be a part of a growing and young business such as mine.  To add to more stories for you to read check out this story on the Fashionista website all about this issue.

The good news: According to our better-educated colleagues at Above the Law, interns who are unpaid but receive college credit are fine. As are interns who are being mentored and educated by their superiors

This Intern horror story talks of a business that it appears never paid anyone anything. Read on

“I was hired as an intern to work in the fashion closet at an independent fashion/entertainment magazine. This was when the recession had just hit and all magazines were cutting their budgets. On my first day working the fashion closet I was introduced to my boss who ran the complete fashion closet, working weekends and often into the night. Except…he was an unpaid intern. He had been there for six months, and would even miss school to work in the closet. In addition to this guy, there were, I’d say, around 20 interns whose sole job it was was to organize the closet and act as messenger service for the magazine and they usually worked until 9am to 9pm every day. Again, unpaid. We found out later that the magazine had to cut their messenger service budget and instead decided to hire a huge roster of interns. My whole time there, I think I interacted with about one person who was actually an employee. After I quit, I saw job listings that they were hiring interns to work their mailroom as well and selling it as a ‘way to learn about the magazine business.’ I swear they probably hired interns to work as janitors as well.”

I may not always pay my interns the best but at least I TRY to pay them. I feel as adults it is their responsibility to alert me if they feel they need more pay or less responsibility. Most of my interns work from home, so often I don’t see how many hours a day they put into doing things. Perhaps this is another Lessons Learned for me that either I need to hire a studio intern to work where I can see them or at least ask them to fill out time cards to let me know where they are putting their work hours.

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Which brings me back to my second intern. She was angry and frustrated at me stating no one could live up to my expectations and said that I demanded way too much. She stated that I was a hard ass and rude and I did not know how to ask for the assistance I needed and that I required far more than the job could have paid. Funny enough, she knew going into this it was a low paying job. It was not meant to be the bread and butter of her life. she wanted to help and I needed the help. I didn’t properly interview her, taking others word as a reference and sadly learned the hard way that after her not to hire anyone who did not understand fashion, never hire anyone without an in person interview or at least Skype or video interview at least and never never hire a teacher because they will always want to teach you and not be open to learning themselves. Lastly, had to she told me as the workload got harder and harder that she was unable to do as much as I was asking I would have lessened the load. Interns and Assistants I have figured out, expect you to a be  mind reader. They think because you own the business and are the designer that you should just know it all. Well, I am here to say to al and any interns or assistants who might be reading this, “We don’t!” We don’t know it all. We know what we know. We cannot read minds and as adults we , the owners, expect you to be forthright in communicating with us.  I also do feel, and I will say however, that all was well and fine with this woman until her mother got involved into the mix. Her mother had a business and sewed more than the intern so once the mother had a toe dipped in she decided to dip her nose in all the way and up my arse. I promptly removed her mother out there and informed her that if she was going to sub contract for me under her daughter she had to sign non disclosures and non competes. Well, of course that set her mother off so they both bailed and sent me nasty emails.

Their cousin wrote maybe four blogs for me and never signed any documents and then demanded to be paid. Payment was said over and over that it was conditional upon receiving this information. The mother of the daughter tried to come after me and berate me some more of which I informed her that the persons in question needed to be big boys and girls and contact me directly. Funny how I never heard from them again.

Since these two I tried my hand at having a couple of male friends help me which to my dismay one did not end so well an the other, well, let’s just say I also need to start having “Can you tie a ribbon” test because what I needed help on was bows and fascinators and small things and a man with larger hands just isn’t capable of those things. It was great he wanted to help, but if you can’t do the job at hand (literally) then it doesn’t really help me. The other male was a friend and though he was a tad overbearing at times , meaning always telling me how I should do something, I liked his personality. But what I learned actually had nothing to do with him but had to do with those around him. There is real knowledge in the friends you keep. I can’t always know these things up front, but in this case I did know how dramatic and crazy his friends were and hired him anyway. Mostly because as I said, he was a friend and I liked him. But he took info and drama home with him and sadly brought their words and drama back to the workplace. I just couldn’t do it anymore so I had to let him go. Luckily I think we are still friends but one never knows when there is drama invovled.

My last two assistant have been the most unique to me.

My assistant seamstress is a former college student. Again I didn’t really research  what a Certificate Design student means.Holding a degree in Fashion and having a Certificate are two very different things. As a business owner it is essential to know the difference and for me this had been a hard lesson.

Earning a Certificate of Fashion enables you to pursue a rewarding career in the thriving world of fashion. 

A Fashion Design Degree is about more than sketches and runway shows. It’s a field that requires an in-depth understanding of essential details such as apparel conceptualization, illustration, construction and marketing. Successful fashion design professionals must also develop skills in predicting consumer behavior and trend forecasting

Though on the up side of that she has been a great help in both of my fashion shows. She has helped me sew things when I didn’t have the time. she taught me some things from school courses I didn’t know (because I never went to Fashion School there are things I am still learning how to do). She has been a great help and I do truly feel though I would not have been able to get through the fashions shows and many other things with out her.

I also have a head seamstress who I call my assistant but really at present she is the head seamstress. I know without a shadow of a doubt I could not have moved this business as far as it has. He mad sewing skills have helped unveil my line of Couture Aprons that look like dresses.  She is understanding and patient and doesn’t mind that I have high expectations and high demands. She helped me with things for the fashion show and fully takes care of me as far as sewing work goes, but I would really like to get her more involved into other day to day things of the business. Many people, even her I think, don’t really understand how much goes into running a business. Plus I am honestly just not sure yet how much of the decision making I want to let go yet either.

I have often told my interns as they are storming out the door that they should be glad that my name is not Kelly Cutrone. Don’t get me wrong. I love Kelly. I adore her and admire her in fact which I am sure if she heard that she would probably care less either way. That is the charm of her that I love. Kelly is know for her bitter, hardcore essence and hard nature about her. She released her memoir, If You Have to Cry, Go Outside: And Other Things Your Mother Never Told You, and published a second book, Normal Gets You Nowhere. She is known to be hard, very hard on Interns and Assistants and believe me, I have nothing on Kelly Cutrone!

I aspire to be as thick skinned and rough and rugged as her with a career in fashion and if I am ever compared to her I will greatly say “Thank you. that is a HUGE compliment!”