In 2001, after graduating from Virginia Tech, I moved to California with a suitcase packed of the few things that I owned and a whole lot of aspiration. I studied hard in school and was able to graduate with honors and a degree in Industrial Design. The world felt like a big oyster and I was young and full of steam. If someone told me I was going to start my own company, I don’t know if I would have believed them.
As I settled on the west coast, I had a tough time finding a job. It was 2001 and the world felt as if it were in complete chaos – 9/11 had just happened and it seemed like there weren’t many jobs for college graduates. I was discouraged. I managed to get a part-time job a small furniture design company in Oakland while also waiting tables for extra cash. I was having a blast, but felt lost in my career path… things didn’t feel quite right. I decided to work hard for a year and save all of my money and follow a dream I had of traveling the globe.
I spent the next year planning my travels. Then, I picked up and left. I took off with a backpack and traveled for the next 6 months with a backpack and super wide eyes. I left San Francisco for Tonga, then on to New Zealand, Australia followed by Indonesia, where I spent 5 weeks in Bali and Lombok. From there, I traveled to Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia and then back to Thailand. I was in love with Southeast Asia, spending between 2-5 weeks in each country. My travels were originally going to take me India and then to Europe, but I decided to extend my visas and really dig my teeth into Asia. It was the most amazing time in my life. Traveling the world opened my eyes to possibility, and inevitably gave me the guts to start my own business.
I came back to SF, and CMD was born. It took years of trial and error, but I stuck with it and always believed that if I worked hard, I could make anything happen. Starting a business takes at 26 take a lot of courage and perseverance, but I knew that living my life as a creative is what I was put on this planet to do. I’ve never looked back.