The story of my mentor

We don’t get to catch up as often as I like, but when we do it usually starts out like this: “What’s new my girl” to which I always reply “Same as always, just slowly trying to take over the world.”

Let’s call her momma bird or “B” for short. My mentor, my muse and one of the strongest female influences I’ve had in my life (the other being my mother of course). She’s my creative mum.

Rewind 10 years ago, I got to assign myself the title “lead designer” for lack of any other employees. Wait, let’s rewind just a bit further… I first met B at a boutique agency in Southern California. She was the account manager, I was a minion designer. We both knew we could be so much more. Two right brains became one. She soon left after a few months to open her own agency and I followed like a moth to a flame.

B and her business partner were like bread and butter. These two strong and ambitious women took to the industry like a storm, hitting the ground running, all from a long glass kitchen table in their high rise apartment on the 19th floor. The plus side of working from your bosses house is you get to slide around the kitchen in your socks when they’re not looking and get unlimited fancy coffees. And the sofas were soft. Oh so so soft.

I wouldn’t say working for two strong women was easy. It definitely was not, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Critique could often be harsh and frantic or soft and nurturing, we never knew. But I always knew it was the best. It thickened my skin, challenged my skills and taught me what hustle really means.

I had never seen the blood sweat and tears that went into a start up before. Agencies can be particularly hard in this aspect and it’s a side most people couldn’t fathom,  let alone pursue. The team grew, the glass table did not. Elbows touching, we all clicked away, grinding and filling up the trash bin with nixed ideas.

This is where I learned to get my hands dirty. This is where I learned what it takes to be an entrepreneur. This is where I learned the importance of paying it forward. This was raw experience.

There are people placed in your life at just the right times and they forever leave a footprint on your life. I wouldn’t be where I am today if I hadn’t fallen in love with these two very special ladies.

I also learned that it’s pretty important to have a partner in business. I knew this was where I wanted to be. Someone who complements your weaknesses, shares the same work ethic and gives undying loyalty. I asked the universe and the universe delivered

I’ve never had an easy design career. It’s always uphill and continues to be. I love it and wouldn’t have it any other way. I dread the day my job ever gets easy.

– Maranda Mitchell