My 10 Strength Commandments

(project cover photo from my recent W2013 collection shoot)

I feel the Strongest I have ever felt since starting my beloved brand CMND-Z in 2009.  I just finished reading Marc's book, "Unlabel" and it has hit so close to home for me.  I am an artist who had a dream to put my art onto clothing.  I ended up investing my money I had saved from selling my paintings into a screen printing shop so that I could take on in-house manufacturing of my product.  Because I had no capitol investment to start a line, I began to screen print for local businesses in Santa Barbara.  I now have owned and operated my own commercial printing business for 3 years.  This entire time I have been building a foundation of knowledge, experience, and resources in order to grow CMND-Z my apparel line in a strategic and love-felt manner.  I  guess you could say my commercial printing business has become my bread and butter, and the clothing line is my ultimate DREAM.

 I know what it is like to be an artist in the business world.  It is a different world than our dreamy heavenly safe creative world.  I am so thankful for the lessons I have learned along the way and the upsets, the grief, the triumph, the success, the losses.  They have all helped me build a solid foundation for my heart and my passion for designing clothes.  And after reading Unlabel, and learning the Aunthenticity Formula, I feel like I am more prepared with a strong armor of solid knowledge to help me push through and get my clothing into the buying market.

After watching all of Marc's videos and moving throughout the lessons, I have some very particular things that I live by in my own business practices that are very similar to the 10 Crack Commandments, but in a very different vocabulary.  They are the things I have learned in the last 5 years of owning my business, CMND-Z Art Apparel and Screen Printing Shop.  

My 10 Strength Commandments are based on a painting I did while reading "Unlabel."  I changed a couple of the Commandments after I finished the painting, but this was my inspiration:

Adapt     Your plans will change, due to bottlenecks, people who don’t come through with their word, hiccups, forks in the road.  It is your duty and strength as a business owner to adapt to the changes that life throws at you. 

Improvise      When these life changes hit you like a bag of bricks, you have to improvise and think on your toes.  You have to swiftly pick up the pieces and figure out plan b, plan c, or even plan d.  You don’t have time for self pity, no time to cry about it.  Stay calm and breathe always and trust that the universe has a plan and its time to act quickly.  Solve that problem and kick its fucking ass out of your office, your head, and your solar system

Overcome      Yes, kick the problem’s ass.  Whether you are getting screwed by someone you trusted, or cashflow upsets, or an extremely important production run goes bad, you will overcome it.  Why?  Because you are living your dreams and you don’t have a choice but to succeed.  You have to get solve it and overcome without stopping. 

Love      Love and appreciate everything that surrounds you personally and business-wise.  Love your desk, love your Macbook Pro.  Love your screen printing press and your printer that works their ass off for your dream.  Love your fans and your followers.  Love your friends and families and pets.  Surround your business with love always and the power of love will rule out any shitty energy that is unworthy of being in your business and in your life.

Knowledge      Never stop learning.  Soak in information every single waking moment.  It is your best asset to your business.  It is vital you become a master at your trade.  Surround yourself with the masters until you become one.  Never let your ego in the way that thinks it knows everything.  Because it doesn’t.  Respect your teachers and your mentors and they will show you the way. 

Power      Knowledge is power.  Power is strength.  Be a gentle forgiving powerful leader.  Use your power with grace and gratitude and do not abuse it when you gain it.

Assertive      Stand your ground and your belief system.  People will try to fuck you, and not in a good way.  Trust your instinct and fight for what you want.  You have to be aware of your weaknesses and you cannot allow anyone to take advantage of you.  Keep your radar on at all times.  Do not trust anyone until they have earned your trust.  And that takes time. 

Lead     If you are a business owner, you are already a leader.  You are courageous and you lead people.  Be a just and righteous leader and people will see it and carry you.  You have the beautiful opportunity to guide, teach, and provide for others. People look up to you. That is an amazing thing!

Manifest     You are in control of your life.  You have to keep your eyes on the prize and work every single day on your goals for your business, your dreams.  Every move you make is for your business.  Know it is not a race, be patient, and manifest your destiny.  You see it in your head, you eat, sleep, and breathe it.  While you do this, you pave the way to your own success.  Know it is going to happen and work your fucking ass off.

Affluent     When you become one with the Strength Commandments, you will become affluent.  It is a definite sign of hard work and strength.  You will be financially abundant if you love what you do and you stop at nothing to reach your goals.  When that time comes, and you become affluent, remember where it all came from, do not take it for granted, and remember those who helped you along the way.  Give back, help others, and use your money to do good and to continue to grow your positive loving affluent empire.  

It has taken me 4 years to learn these life and business lessons.  I have had to become really tough.  In the beginnign I was a sensitive artist with a lofty dream.  Reality is that this shit is unforgiving and a total hussle.  It takes the utmost strength to power through and not give up when things don't go your way or when it gets hard.  The fearless leaders are the ones that keep going and never give up.  Strength is the key factor to achieve goals and turn dreams into real life.

A look into what I have sprouted while learning these life lessons along the way:

My printshop that I built from the ground up, piece by piece, with my own money that I earned by selling paintings, serving in a restaurant, and eventually screen printing for all the local businesses in Santa Barbara:

One of the millions of great quotes from Unlabel includes: "Building a brand is like creating your own personal religion.  You need to be willing to fight for it, defend it, die for it."  Every move I make is for my company.  I live, eat, sleep, breathe it.  I started with absolutely nothing and a big debt from university.  Everyday I get closer and closer to living my dreams.  Well, I already am livin the dream.  I can't forget that, as hard as this can be sometimes.  I work for myself in one of the most beautiful places in the country, Santa Barbara CA.  My shop is two buildings away from the beach and I have a beautiful team that helps me keep it all alive.  

Where I want this all to go:  My commercial printing biz continues to be the bread and butter.  The pritngn schedule is pretty steady.  With this biz I see it taking care of itself, keeping rent and bills paid, keeping my printing team paid.  And eventually expanding the operation with an automatic press.  With the clothing line, if I were to recieve Marc's $5,000, I would invest it into a better website with a backend that allows growth in online selling.  This year my major goal is marketing and selling, because that should have been the first thing I did years ago, thats how Ecko blew up the way it did.  I instead started my printing biz since I didn;t have the capitol to start the line.  Now after years of R&D on the side of running my other company, I will be pursuing a sales team and investing in a bigger better marketing plan to get this little clothing line seen.

A few examples of what we did last collection:

You can see the rest of my recent t-shirt collection at www.cmnd-z.com

Instagram is @cmndzclothing

I am enjoying reading everyone's projects.  We all have strong hearts and badass dreams.  Cheers to us

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