Following the Stars to Slow Factory

by Shelby Strattan

It was just weeks before Halloween, and I was diligently searching for the perfect galactic accessories to accompany the silver metallic dress I had just purchased. I hopped on Pinterest to see what I could find, scrolling though interstellar make-up designs and sparkly tights. But alas, I saw something that really took my breath away.

The sheer, beautiful star-printed globular cluster scarf would be perfect for my costume – and everyday wear too! I excitedly clicked on the picture that then led me to Slow Factory’s website. At the time, Slow Factory was promoting different collections that included many different prints of galaxies, clusters, and nebulas. I looked at every product on the website and became infatuated instantly.

If you’re reading this article, you probably know at least a little about this company, so I’ll spare some details. But as I was surfing every last pixel of Slow Factory’s site, the social mission blew me away. This company is the “trailblazer in fashion meets human rights” as founder Céline Semaan later told me. Few companies with such a strong rooted purpose exist, let alone with product lines near as whimsically beautiful as Slow Factory’s. I read every blog Céline posted on the website and searched the origins of the company. I read everything I could about Slow Factory – my connection was immediate and strong. Maybe this was a result of the way my father always talks about the stars. Ever since I was a little girl, he would spew out facts about outer space, black holes, and galaxies far away. We still hunt down constellations at night, wait hopefully for shooting stars, and follow celestial events. I knew fate brought me here.

I followed Slow Factory on all media platforms and regularly checked the website for new products and blog posts from Céline. Her independence, unique creativity, and fearlessness inspired me. She created this company from the ideas that organically manifested in her mind, inspired by her passion for design and social responsibility. She is a boss lady and no one can refute that. As a woman, I have looked up to her as a role model for all she has accomplished and her strong will to succeed with what she sets her mind to.

So I decided to email her and tell her just that. I wanted to part of the sustainable company that thrives on innovative fashion that supports humanitarian and environmental causes. I told her a little bit about myself, how I found Slow Factory, how I purchased some scarves as Christmas presents, and how I would love nothing more than to work for a such a driven company and motivated female boss. We emailed back and forth for a little bit in January, but it was hard to keep in touch and establish goals or objectives. The company was seeing great growth, and Céline was busy with her second child, so nothing materialized at the time.

Months passed and I was sitting in class a week before Spring Break checking my email. My eyes stopped and fixated on Slow Factory’s newsletter heading: Headquarter Opening Event. I clicked on the email and starting reading how Slow Factory was opening its HQ out in Brooklyn and anyone was welcome to come celebrate. Its grand opening was happening over my Spring Break, and some gut feeling inside was telling me I HAD to be there. I wanted to see the beauty of the company unfold and meet the team behind the ingenious designs. Initially, I was going to go home to Nebraska, but the idea of going to New York was infinitely more appealing.

With a little finagling and flight changing, all of my accommodations were booked within 24 hours of reading the email. I emailed Céline and told her I would be in town, asking if she would have time to meet outside of the event. She was excited to hear from me again, and we set up a time a few days after the HQ opening. I was absolutely ecstatic.

I flew to New York with an exhilarating energy pervading my whole body. The day of the event arrived, and I recruited my dear friend from the area, Aidan, to come with me. We met at Union Station, all dressed up and ready to attend the event that ultimately brought me to New York. We pulled out our iPhone maps and navigated our way to the address on the email invite. My heart was pounding so fast as we walked up to a beautiful space populated with Slow Factory friends and family. The “We Are Home” collection was on display for the first time. Everyone was so happy and expressed their sincerest congratulations for Céline, celebrating this huge milestone for Slow Factory. I only briefly said hello to Céline at the event, as we were to meet in a few days, but she was glowing was a humble radiance, grateful for those that attended this wonderful event.

A few days later I went back to the headquarters in Brooklyn, alone this time. I arrived early and anxiously waited for Céline outside the store. After a few minutes, I saw her walking up, pushing her new baby in a stroller. What a power woman, I thought. She made us tea and put some little cookies on a plate for us to munch on. My memories and feelings from this meeting are so vivid. The feeling of sheer awe washed over me – it was hard to believe I was sharing the same time and space with this woman. I asked her all the questions I always dreamed of. I got to know her and how she got to where she is. I also handed her my resume and told her that if I was going to be in New York for the summer, I would love to help her out on a part time basis. We talked about different objectives and short-term and long-term goals. And as we wrapped up, she gave me a scarf imprinted with an aerial image of New York lit up at night. “It’s so cold out there,” she said as she draped the luxurious silk around me. “There. That will keep you warm.” I could’ve cried I was so happy.

In brief, we continued to email back and forth for a bit until things were finalized and we could set a start date for us to meet again when I arrived in New York for the summer. So here I am in my cozy, little apartment in New York writing about how I somehow ended up in this city at Slow Factory. The stars brought me here, and I am eternally grateful for their unwavering positive light and wise direction.

 

Filed under: dear diary