Creative Vulnerabilty: It's a Good Thing

Only two people heard the words Fort Lily in the year I kept turning the idea over in my head. Two. I couldn't bear having more than two people hold me accountable for being too chicken to try. The big ideas, the good ideas, the ones our hearts know they deserve to be born, tend to scare us into burying them. I still get dizzy when I hear the brand's name spoken. That means the secret is out, the work is visible, people will know what sort of creative, businesswoman and person I am and have opinions—those empty, poisonous little nothings that only serve to stun you into inactivity.

I didn't write a business plan, I wrote a seven-page to-do list that included all the questions I had, affirmations I needed and me talking stone cold trash to myself to force me into being comfortable with visibility. On the very top of my planning document I wrote to myself: "You cannot be a leader and not be seen. That's cray." My goal with Fort Lily was to take some of my favorite things: thrift shopping, WOMEN, portraiture, branding, layout, creative collaboration and business, boil them in a pot, and hope they made a memorable dish that would sell.

I'm so proud of this brand's freshman effort, and even though I'm sticky from all the vulnerability, my endeavors are confirmed in all the wonderful things that are already growing as a result of simply daring to begin. I'm proud to say that my brand is exactly who I am. This brand's blog will be personable, incredibly transparent and hopefully, a trusted resource. You can even write me questions in the comments to do posts on. In this New Year, start something, anything. Start it small, add all your favorite ingredients and watch it boil. When you cook with your soul there's no way you can make something tasteless.

—Aj

Ashley Johnson2 Comments