After winning her first Grand Slam since she had her baby, stylishly dressed in a power catsuit, Serena Williams has launched her first independent clothing line, Shop Serena, despite receiving ‘no’ for 15 years!
She shared the back story on social media and we’re totally inspired by this power woman who is all shades of awesome.
They say life is about timing. I learned this lesson at age 18, when I chose to play a light tennis schedule because I wanted to go to fashion school. I loved every aspect of designing, from pattern-making, to sewing, and even to threading the marrow machine. Some criticized my decision, but I knew I had two loves–tennis and fashion–and had to find a way to make them coexist.
That was 2001. I had a vision to create a fashion line unrelated to tennis, but soon realized the complexities of manufacturing and running a business was more than my schedule would allow, as I focused on winning Grand Slams.
I tried many times to align with people who could help me get things off the ground while I played tennis, worked with designers and sketched my ideas. I got so many no’s from potential partners, people I admired and respected. Every time I would go into a department store to present a collection it would always end up with – we love it but we are going to pass. 15 years of false starts and people telling me “no” was frustrating, but also made me more determined. If you know anything about me, you know that when someone tells me “no,” it only makes me work harder.
One day, I was encouraging my best friend to invest in herself and pursue a dream of hers. A light bulb went off when I realized I needed to take my own advice. Here I was, a spokeswoman for women, telling them to never give up and believe in themselves when no one else does. I needed to take a moment to look in the mirror and encourage myself and invest in myself for once.
23 Grand Slam titles later, I assembled my power team and we got to work. We designed and we planned. I wanted to be fully hands on, and work without any limitations. Everyone on the team believed in me and for the first time, I truly believed in myself. I would be my own retailer.