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It Takes A Village..... Or Two!

Joan Oloff I've always loved the expression "it takes a village." It reminds me that I don't have to do everything by myself. I've always been a dreamer, or as my mom used to say..."you think too much!" By definition, dreams can be overwhelming. I know that most people have dreams. I used to wonder why some people's dreams become reality, while others just remain fantasy. I certainly don't have all of the answers, but I have observations that have lead me to certain beliefs. When my mom told me that I thought too much, it seemed judgmental at the time. In retrospect, she lived in a concrete  world, where dreaming was not valued. I believe that creativity is either cultivated, or it is suppressed. I am lucky to live in Silicon Valley, a community where creativity is not only accepted, it is encouraged.  I grew up where failure was not an option. It was considered an embarrassment. In Silicon Valley, failure is considered a valuable lesson, on the path to success.  I have not met a successful, creative thinker, who has not experienced some failures along the way. The key, I believe, is to listen to those lessons that life teaches all of us. Flexibility and adaptability  are key, as is tenacity and passion. Without the passion to move forward, why bother? Re-engineering shoes is a challenge, but something very natural for me. I have studied shoes and feet my entire life. I am lucky to live in a community that encourages creative thinking and have connected with creative artisans in Italy, who are equally passionate about shoes.  I've learned to ignore the negative thinkers, while surrounding myself with people who are not afraid to think outside of the box. Just because things have been done a certain way for many years does not mean that change is bad. It truly does take a village, or perhaps a few villages, to a make a dream come true. As I leave Italy, I am filled with gratitude and inspired by everyone who is helping to make this dream become a reality! A special thank you to Stephano, Marco,Mauricio, Eva, Natalie, Jamie, Av, Jerry, and Alessandro!!! Xo Joan  



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