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Finding zen in crazy times

We initially talked to Marissa Mills, founder of Style Firm LA, maker of “The Little Black Dress of Activewear,” on March 12, 2020. At that time, she was just this side of frantic about the cancellation of several events she’d been organizing for clients of her other business, Style Firm, LLC, a global event and fashion show production agency. The big question on her mind that day was, “What’s happening with Coachella?”

Fast forward to April 8, when we reconnected with Marissa to learn about business life for this dual entrepreneur in the age of coronavirus. She was in a decidedly different place as she recounted the past month.

“The first two weeks were total shock. My business of 15 years had zero events in basically a one-week time span,” recalls Marissa.

“I talked to a lot of my clients and brands, and everyone was so upset and so full of despair and so full of sadness that it made me feel really awful. I decided I don’t want to be like that, I don’t want to feel like that, and I don’t want to live like that.”

Marissa says it was a lightbulb moment.

“I’m not doing that. This is just whatever it is. There’s nothing fun about it, but we have a choice about how we experience this.”

By the end of the third week, “it was surrender.”

“In LA, we’re so identified by our careers and what we do and we’ve been stripped of that in a week. Hopefully, this is a good moment for people to look within.

“I always had lots of guilt that I wasn’t working hard enough, or doing enough, or having enough meetings, or getting enough clients. That doesn’t exist anymore. When everyone around you is in the same place, it’s like it’s okay. In the past, it was never okay. It’s an incredible shift in the energy of the world.”

So what does a day look like now for this former 15-hour-workday founder?

“If I get eight hours of sleep a night, do two workouts and a 5-mile walk (in Style Firm LA shorts, of course), try to cook, and watch a show, it’s okay. I had three virtual happy hours with clients in one night, and I was exhausted! I like the slower speed.

“I’m framing it this way: the fact that we have so much time is truly a gift. Hopefully, it will never be like this again, so we should relish it. It gives us time to go within.”

Cheers to that…and invite us to the next virtual happy hour!

Katelyn Murphy-McCarthy

Katelyn is a writer and editor specializing in creative nonfiction. She comes from a long line of entrepreneurs, and loves hearing and sharing the stories of women who are making a difference.
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