For a New Beginning

I received this poem yesterday… for KiraGrace:

For a New Beginning
In out-of-the-way places of the heart,
Where your thoughts never think to wander,
This beginning has been quietly forming,
Waiting until you were ready to emerge.
For a long time it has watched your desire,
Feeling the emptiness growing inside you,
Noticing how you willed yourself on,
Still unable to leave what you had outgrown.
It watched you play with the seduction of safety
And the gray promises that sameness whispered,
Heard the waves of turmoil rise and relent,
Wondered would you always live like this.
Then the delight, when your courage kindled,
And out you stepped onto new ground,
Your eyes young again with energy and dream,
A path of plenitude opening before you.
Though your destination is not yet clear
You can trust the promise of this opening;
Unfurl yourself into the grace of beginning
That is at one with your life’s desire.
Awaken your spirit to adventure;
Hold nothing back, learn to find ease in risk;
Soon you will be home in a new rhythm,
For your soul senses the world that awaits you.
~ John O’Donohue ~
(To Bless the Space Between Us)

Launch dates – going zen

written November 16, 2011

Our launch date is set:  Thursday, January 5, 2012
Our original target launch date was set for the fall, and everything was going perfectly to plan…or so I  thought.. and then I  realized can only control so much… actually, you control so very little..  In September it became clear we would need more production time for the Goddess Collection, a few more weeks. That’s ok… no biggie really.. it will give us more time to fine tune the website, and our new date easily moved out. It’s a little later than the original plan, but still before the holiday season gets into full swing. I decide to embrace the changes, and go with the flow..after all, I can’t control everything.. 

Then two things happened, I had a long conversation with my Dad, and there was a little production glitch.

A conversation with Dad
Starting a new venture while holding down a full time “day job” is an extraordinary undertaking. Especially when the day job moves well into the evenings, weekends, and requires oodles of travel. One thing keeping me going on all fronts is the undying passion I have to create and launch this concept…. the second is the amazing group of people working on KiraGrace. They are all so positive and full of energy and enthusiasm for what we are creating. I have found so much support within the community and friends and family.. and it is this energy that has kept me going.. and yet, even with all this energy,  I know that I am close to being tapped out. There needs to be more balance in my life right now.  And so one thing has to change.. I need the gift of time.. and it’s funny.. I just recently realized that this idea of the KiraGrace timeline, the launch date, was entirely self-imposed, and it was too constricting… and really artificial. I needed to re-evaluate all workloads, business and personal and family commitments, and decide how to best allocate my focus in the next 60 days. After much discussion and counsel, I decided it would be in everyone’s interest to launch KiraGrace  in January - after the storm of the holidays. It feels like the smart thing to do.. This will give us all the gift of time.. .time to better prepare, work on PR, gather wear-testing feedback… and, of course, enjoy the holidays.  Thanks Dad.

And then, on the same date of this decision, sixteen cartons of our pants arrive! I am so excited, tearing into the boxes to try them on and see how they look. I pull a size small from each of the four bottoms we have in the line and put “The Goddess Skinny” on. That’s funny,..the pants are a bit too long! Do I have them on correctly? I adjust the waist, hips and thighs, and yes..they are definitely dragging on the ground, and no adjustment is going to make up for the extra length here. …and, btw, I’m not petite – I’m nearly 5’8″. Hmmm… I try another and another and another..same thing in all styles and sizes. I know immediately what happened and it is an easy mistake, and completely my oversight.  Thank goodness we have great partners.. a quick email to Greg and Becky, and a few phone calls later, and I am re-packing 16 cartons of product and sending it all back to the maker to hem and adjust the length. Delay is 3 to 4 weeks. Not a bad turn around. It is clear that we would not have been able to hit our self-imposed launch date anyway!!  Feels like the world is telling me to hold off a bit.. It’s interesting how all things point to the same conclusion – KiraGrace will launch in January.

There were definitely some good lessons that came from this production issue: 
Put in place the necessary process checks!
Don’t scrimp on time just because you know what you’re doing and you’ve done this a million times before
Confidence breeds risk. 
Embrace change and Love the ongoing lessons!

Make the most out of everything: I kept a few of the too-long pants and will now be offering “Talls” to those fabulously lanky gals with a 34″ inseam!

Kathryn Budig’s Savannah, GA Workshop


Written December 16, from the Kathryn Budig workshop in Savannah, GA

Kira’s notes and thoughts from day one of Kathryn’s workshop:

Kathryn is incredible – such and intelligent, articulate, passionate, warm., funny, beautiful, authentic woman. I am so fortunate to be here right now..

Aim True
“Make my aim true, give me goals and the constant determination to achieve them”

Inspiration drawn from Artemis, Goddess of the wilderness and of the hunt in Greek mythology.. her Roman equivalent is Diana.

Kathryn talked about what “aim true” means to her - ”setting the intention every day, to do that which makes my heart beat strongest..”

“Allow me to be my own mistress, not ruled by the opinions of others ”

“When you really believe in something, and put your heart into it, you may never know how many people you affect..”

Kathryn talks about connecting with more and more people who are so unhappy in their lives, and they want to make a difference, to find the bravery to change… “There are two choices in life – you are either choosing it from a place of love, or a place of fear…”

Love – belief, embrace the moment
Fear – dread, doubt, expectation

When you are moving from a place of fear, you cannot be in a place of love.
Belief – you have to believe that you can do it…

When something horrible happens to you, there is always a silver lining..
Do not sit in despair, it will wrap itself around you …in a cocoon

Embrace – I live my life now..and take it as it comes..
Set your intentions, and when you see the way things can can manifest things

When you have the courage to aim true, you will hit your target

What does aim true mean to you?

What are the truly fabulous qualities about yourself?

How do you use these really unique qualities to affect your life, work, friendships?

How can I use my intention and my aim to make a difference?

Obstacles are what you see when you take your eyes off the goal – Vince Lombardi

The privilege of a lifetime is being yourself – Joseph Campbell 

If you are not using your talents, you are not being of service to the world.


The Goddess Collection

The Goddess Collection

Shiva’s retreat inspired me to think about the goddess – strength, femininity, grace, beauty, wisdom… I spent a lot of time thinking about how to create a line of yoga wear that embraces the goddess in each of us. A line that is designed to flatter our feminine shapes – whether we are curvy, straight, average..whatever.. We are beautiful just as we are.. And I wanted to create a yoga line that celebrates our femininity: The Goddess Collection.

We all know that it takes a team to build a concept… and there was a lot of work to do to bring this idea to life. My first call was to Stephanie Ricker. Stephanie is an incredibly talented designer with a keen eye toward graceful and feminine lines. Our first conversation was a few weeks after I returned from Costa Rica. We immediately connected on the Goddess Collection concept and she was excited to work on the line. We went right to work. I was amazed at how fluid and easily we worked together… It’s as if we had been doing this for years!

After bringing Stephanie on board, I spent the next few months reaching out to people that I thought would be interested in working on KiraGrace. I am humbled and grateful to have such a talented team working with our brand. This team has worked together before, so there is an incredible amount of respect within the group. This is one of the reasons we work so well together. We know each other, trust each other and respect each other. It’s pretty awesome, and I feel privileged to be working with them.

In addition to the core team of Stephanie, Becky, Greg, Brian and Christine, there have been many others who have contributed artistically or strategically to the business. It truly has taken a village to launch KiraGrace.

Making the commitment


Making the commitment:
It was New Year’s Eve, December 31, 2010

I made the commitment to KiraGrace nearly one year ago, just a few months after the Women and Power conference at Omega. The idea of beginning something that gives back to the community, that is women owned, created for women, by women, has weighed heavily on my mind….

I was spending the holidays at Shiva Rea’s New Years retreat at the Blue Spirit retreat center in Costa Rica, decompressing from one hell of year. I desperately needed this retreat to allow myself some time to quietly reflect upon, and recover from, the changes that took place during 2010.

This past year I found myself surprised to have transitioned so much in a such a short period of time…unexpected transitions. Grace and I had moved from Portland to Atlanta, I started a new job, Grace enrolled in a new school, and we were now living in a new environment and facing the reality of making new friends and connections in a brand new place. And with these changes there was hardship, loss, as well as opportunity and joy. It seemed to me that nothing is ever easy, nothing is ever completely clear, and nothing is ever simple. 

 At Shiva’s New Years practice, the women gathered together to reflect on the year and to set our intentions for the next year. We reviewed the challenges and joys of the prior year, and then we turned our attention to the future as we individually set our goals and intentions for the next year. It was in this very supportive, loving and open environment that I made the commitment to begin KiraGrace. The idea of working in yoga clothing to celebrate women’s strength, wisdom and grace felt very natural to me.  I had just immersed myself in the strength and grace of these women for the past ten days.. this was a natural outcome. My passion and intent became very clear. I was inspired by these women to create the Goddess Collection – a line of yoga clothing that celebrates our femininity.

KiraGrace – how it all started

The fire was lit September 2010, when I attended Omega Institute’s annual conference “Women & Power 2010: Our Time to Lead.”

I have been going to Omega for over ten years for retreats, workshops, and self-imposed “time-outs.” This was my first women’s conference, and this year it was a weekend retreat focusing on leadership.  I was looking forward to spending time within a community of women, listening to leaders in the community and getting more focused about the goals outside my immediate horizon –  what are the critical issues facing women today? What are the global issues and challenges we are facing?

As the weekend progressed, I was moved to both tears of compassion and of joy as the speakers shared their pain, challenges and triumphs. We listened to speakers, including Zainab Salbi and Leymah Gbowee, share their views on a wide range of topics from abuse and poverty to science and individual strength. These women have been leading change for us…and because of their commitment and work, women have made great strides here and abroad. And yet, it is clear, there is so much work to be done.  I was profoundly impacted by how far women have come, and how far we still have to go before we have true global equality. There have been great strides, great momentum, and there remain great voids. We all know this. As women we face it every day in all aspects of our life. We see it at home, we see it at work, we see it in the world.

With so much great work – how do we maintain the momentum? How do we accelerate? Is it conceivable to think that if we do the difficult work today, our daughters will live in a world of equality? Is that too big of a dream? I believe that if you can visualize it, it can become a reality.

The conference title “Our Time to Lead” got me thinking… many of the speakers had a call to action – they were asking for involvement, fundraising, and grassroots help..  and I kept thinking about money…if we are going to truly change the platform for women, then  we need to change the economics. Women need to create and control a lot more wealth in the world before any of this will truly and completely change. And yes, women are making great strides in the boardrooms.  I believe that the big wealth creator, and heart of feminine independence, lies in ownership. It means that women need to take the risk to build and create successful women owned businesses. This will change the entire dynamic for women in the world. There is no limit.

I get so much joy reading about all of the young female entrepreneurs in the digital and social arenas today. There seems to be so few boundaries for them – just creativity and opportunity. It’s fantastic to know this is happening.

And then I took a hard look in the mirror… as a woman working in an industry that creates product for women, there are very few women owned apparel businesses. Very, very few. Shockingly few. And I realized that I needed to step up in the world, take the risk,and create a woman owned business that creates product for women. If there was ever a time in my life to build a women owned brand, it is now. 

And so the fire was lit. And it took another four months to go from thinking about it, to doing something about it.