What you're looking at is our journey over the past 3 years.
On the left is the very first business card I printed when THE ART OF FATE was in its infancy. For those who don't know how THE ART OF FATE came to be, I'd like to share my story with you.
For as long as I can remember, I've always loved fashion. I grew up in Pawtucket, Rhode Island and was raised by my mother and grandparents. My mother had me very young, which turned out to be a blessing for us because we're extremely close. She always made sure I had the best clothes growing up. She introduced me to designers like Calvin Klein and Donna Karan before I could even dress myself. I still credit her to this day for inspiring me to dress well.
Coincedently, my grandmother worked for a fashion jewelry manufacturer. She would come home with boxes of costume jewelry full of sparkly earrings, rings, necklaces, and bracelets which became a very exciting addition to playing dress up. My friends and I would have sleepovers and dress up in my mom's old prom dresses, stacking on as many accessories as we could. Good times.
When I got to high school, my mom forced me to attend a private school where it was required to wear a uniform. I wish she captured my initial reaction on video because when I saw the horrendous purple polo and khaki high waist pants that would become my wardrobe for the next four years, you would've thought it was the worst thing to ever happen to me. I actually got detention for showing up on picture day in a pink pinstripe button down shirt. Still no regrets.
When I reached my senior year, I applied to three colleges that offered marketing degrees with a concentration in fashion in three different cities: LA, NYC, and Boston. Staying in-state wasn't an option for me. I had spent the last 16 years of my life in Rhode Island, and it was my time to spread my wings over new land. I flew out to LA for my admissions interview at FIDM (The Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising), and after being accepted, I knew my decision was made.
Life in LA at 17 was everything I imagined it would be and more. Sunshine, red carpets, fancy brunches, celebrities, strolling down Hollywood Boulevard, day-trips to Laguna Beach, etc. Imagine growing up in a small town your entire life, and experiencing all of this at once. It felt like a drug.
I got my first taste of luxury retail working for a prestigious NY-based fashion brand that was opening its first West Hollywood location. This job opened my eyes to the world of luxury fashion jewelry. It was the ultimate girls playground. Being one of the first stylists chosen to help open the store and introduce the brand to LA was an incredible experience that helped me build many new skill sets.
When graduation time approached, I felt my time in LA was also coming to a close. I knew my path would eventually lead me to NY, so when a classmate told me she was planning to move there too, we decided to go together. I submitted my transfer request to work for the company's flagship store in midtown on 5th Avenue.
What came next would shape both the woman I am today and the brand I founded - in the place I never thought I'd find myself back in.
Moving to NYC was one of the best decisions I've ever made. I was barely 20 when I moved into my first apartment in Brooklyn, and I was ready to take it all in. Every day I made the commute from Brooklyn to Midtown, and familiarized my new surroundings. The taxi cabs, tall buildings, bright lights, magnificent parks, horrid smell of food carts, feeling like a sardine on crowded trains, getting my first tattoo in the east village at 1am, the best coffee in the world, falling in and out of love repeatedly, going through the worst depression of my life, random encounters with strangers, friends I lost and the ones I would have for life. I wouldn't change a thing.
But all good things come with a price. Moving to NY felt like a bad marriage. You go through the honey moon and then shit starts to get real. I was young and worked extremely hard to be the best at what I did. I was making great money and for the most part, I had the freedom to do as I pleased. Because I lived on my own, I learned a lot about myself. I spent a lot of time alone, voluntarily. I enjoyed my solitude. I would sit in the park and people watch and explore new places I hadn't been. I never felt ashamed of being alone. Spending time with myself made me more self-aware and conscious of everything around me.
You're probably wondering how all of this relates to THE ART OF FATE.
I believe everything happens for a reason. When I chose to pursue fashion as my career, I felt 100% certain about my decision. But after working in the industry for 5+ years, I became aware of some very discomforting realizations. The kind of information they don't teach in college, and you have to witness for yourself. The lack of transparency. The incredible amount of waste we produced. The narrow focus on corporate profits. The toxic company culture. The non-existence of social responsibility. I felt stuck in a cycle that led to no where. The spell was broken.
"My entire life I never considered the industry I chose to build my career in was the world's second largest contributor of waste."
I couldn't believe it. I reached a breaking point in my career and I became so unhappy at work that I dreaded going. Between the toxic workplace drama and the company's misalignment of values, I had reached my breaking point. I was done.
"I had to build something new. Something more sustainable."
In September 2014, my best friends helped me drive a U-haul packed with everything I had collected while living in the city over the previous 4 years. Driving out of my neighborhood in Bushwick for the final time left me full of emotions and uncertainty. I had my work cut out for me.
I'm grateful my parents welcomed me back with open arms and gave me the grace to come home and start over again. For a while, moving back didn't seem as bad as I expected because I didn't feel like the same person I was growing up. I had a wealth of experience on my belt, and was determined to get this idea up and running.
The name dropped into my hands like a fallen star. THE ART OF FATE was my life story. Fate had led me back to the place I grew up wanting to escape, and here I was right back in the center of it. Except this time, I had a mission. A purpose. I was meant to journey my way through these cities I had carved my name in. It felt like returning from a long trip back to the place I grew up, and now I had to sit and unpack everything I had learned.
I didn't grow up in an entrepreneurial family. I didn't have the privilege of having a business mentor or coach, although there have been many people since starting this journey that have helped me immensely. I also didn't have an investor or funding to help get my idea off the ground.
"I invested my own money from the very beginning. This is something I'm very proud of."
My mission for THE ART OF FATE was to build a luxury fashion house founded on the principles of environmental awareness and social good. I believe the fashion industry has a moral responsibility to use conscious business practices and also give back to the community it serves. My goal was to bridge the gap between fashion and social change.
Building this business has been the most rewarding work of my life. I feel connected to a purpose much higher than myself. Being able to wake up and feel like I'm creating something that has the opportunity to reshape the way this industry works by giving people an alternative that aligns with their values is what drives me to keep pushing forward.
I developed the idea for THE ART OF FATE when I was 23 years old. Over the past 4 years, I've evolved so much and so has our brand. I knew this would take time to grow, and I'm a firm believer in never rushing the process. Taking the time to build meaningul connections and share our mission with those who believe in it has always been my north star.
January 2018 marked our first official year in business. Since partnering with ONE TREE PLANTED, we've helped plant 390 trees throughout California and Oregon last year. Thanks to your support.
What else did we accomplish last year?
- We switched to 100% cotton business cards + jewelry display cards (tree-free) made from upcycled t-shirt offcuts, reducing our environmental impact by over 50%.
- Source over 60% of our accessories from designer deadstock + overruns, helping to further reserve resources by recovering styles passed down the production chain.
- We launched a subscription box.
- Partnered with other socially-conscious brands.
- We were featured in a commercial.
- Hosted pop-ups in stores, boutiques, theatres, hotels, art galleries, The Big E Fair, artisan markets, bars, restaurants, universities, investment firms, and even co-working spaces.
- We were featured in holiday gift guides for best gifts in fashion + self-care.
- We learned new metalsmith + jewelry making skills.
- We've supported over 25 independent makers all across the country.
- We've helped organizations raise funds to support breast cancer awareness, STEM education for at-risk youth, and hurricane relief aid for The Dream Catcher in San Juan, PR.
- We launched a wellness collection.
- We launched a men's personal care collection.
- Much more in store for 2018!
I always knew THE ART OF FATE would be a wild journey. This experience has taught me to never compromise on my values and to always fight for what I believe in. It's also taught me to embrace the unknown because some of the best ideas and people that have sprouted into my life, I never saw coming. To each and every person who has crossed paths with THE ART OF FATE, I want to thank you for giving me the chance to share my story.
-Jackelyn Dacanay, founder of THE ART OF FATE