Women Of The C-Suite: “Sorry to give it to you like this, but you’re going to die really soon!” With Silvana Favaretto

“A hundred years from now? All new people.” ― Anne Lamott

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“A hundred years from now? All new people.” ― Anne Lamott

That gave a reality check like no other!! Do you understand how short of a time is that?? 100 years is nothing!! Why would waste a month crying over a person who treated awfully? Why would you waste a whole day depressed because something didn’t go your way? Why would you waste a second doing something you hate doing?

Sorry to give it to you like this, but you’re going to die really soon! So will all of those people who made fun of you in school, that crush you have and are afraid to approach because you’re too afraid of looking stupid, who cares? Your parents will be gone!! If you have children they most likely will be gone too!! This is hard to think, but get your mind in the right place and start appreciating the gift life is!

I had the pleasure of interviewing Silvana Favaretto, the Founder of The Tulle Project — a retail clothing company featuring tulle skirts. Through The Tulle Project, Favaretto is doing more than designing and selling fabulous skirts; she is creating a movement for women to reclaim and find strength in their femininity. Her tulle skirts are a vehicle for women to reconnect with their playful inner girl and powerful womanhood. They are also a statement that symbolizes that women don’t have to act like men to command respect. Join the movement, #tulletribe, for yourself and for the young girls in our society! Something so game-changing has never been so fun!

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

Thank you for having me!

And yes, this is a cool story. I was at a point in my life where I thought I had so much going on: I finally have achieved an excellent level in my career, I had the “perfect boyfriend”, great friends, and I was living in a highrise in the middle of beautiful Chicago. I had so much I always wanted, I had I’ve got all the bullets checked, but still, I wasn’t happy. Something was missing. As a graphic designer (aka creative) I decide that I was missing creativity and fun.

So I decided to do a side passion project. At first, I didn’t know exactly what to do, but I knew I wanted to do something very unique and fun. One day I was walking in the street of the Windy City and saw two little girls wearing cute outfits paired with tutus. I looked at my friend and ask “Why can’t I wear tutus like little girls can?” She answered “Why not?”… that stuck in my head and I asked that same question many times in many different situations since then.

That’s when I decided to wear tulle skirts everyday for 100 days… and connect myself with my inner little girl, my 5-years-old-self, the girl who said and did and wore whatever she wanted (ask my mom!). And that project changed my life!

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?

When the Fearless Girl statue (bronze sculpture by Kristen Visbal facing the Charging Bull) was installed on March 7, 2017, at Bowling Green in the Financial District of Manhattan, New York City. That same day I put a call out to everyone on my social media “Who wants to go to NYC and take a picture with that girl, all wearing tulle skirts?”

Three weeks later I was flying to New York with a suitcase full of tulle skirts, along with a couple girls from Chicago and met close to 20 other women and girls there, many of whom I’ve never met before. The photos, connections, and the energy from that day stayed with me to this day!

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

Ha! The words “funny” and “mistake” never went together on my vocabulary… And now I women to embrace mistakes and go make more!! I used to take everything so seriously. It felt like I was gonna die when I completely forgot to ship an order and the woman called me asking about it! My face turned red, my stomach hurt, I was so embarrassed!! A very funny one was when I shipped 2 skirts to two different Valerie’s and I switched the order!! I swear I was on top of that, I “made sure” that would not happen… and it did!! Luckily, I knew both ladies and they were so understanding!

My lesson was to relax and trust people and myself more. You’re going to make mistake, no matter what! Specially when you’re starting, doing everything by yourself, doing things you’ve never done before, and that’s okay, the world won’t end, you’re not going to die, the opposite, you’re going to learn so much and I promise you, you’ll learn to laugh at it one day!

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

The Tulle Project boldly challenges the idea that femininity and “girliness” are signs of weakness. By continuously portraying strong women in tulle skirts, The Tulle Project re-maps this stereotype and demonstrates the positive impact of femininity. The end result is that girls and women can accept their feminine qualities and truly take steps towards self-love. And because of that, now I have a tribe, the #tulletribe! Women and girls who believe in this concept so much that they became loyal followers and supporters of The Tulle Project and each other! We have a private Facebook group where we can share about ourselves and empower each other, I throw events to bring the tribe together, we connect deeply and value boldness, kindness, and the advancement of all females.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

I just finished another 100 days project: #100DaysOfBold where I asked 100 women for 100 days “What does it mean to be bold?” and recorded their answer on video. I’m editing the video right now and I’m throwing a Viewing Cocktail party to celebrate all these bold women!

I’m also developing a workshop for women to empower them to be bold, to embrace their inner strength, and let go of the invisible chains that are holding them back! I want to create on for girls as well. I want to start with workshops in Chicago and eventually travel all over the country supporting and connecting with women.

As females, we have so many negative messages thrown at us in a daily basis. Those messages influence us either we are aware of it or not! And all the sudden we’re worried about our thigh gap, how to sit in a meeting, being careful we’ll say something stupid and sound dumb or crazy, so we stop taking risks and worry more about being perfect. Or worse, we try to imitate men and ignore our feminine nature, judging that as weakness. I want to help change that and encourage women everywhere to take more risks, to speak up more, to be ok making mistakes, to embrace their femininity, and be bold!

What advice would you give to other female leaders to help their team to thrive?

  1. Be vulnerable. I know, I know, not what you want to hear. But that’s the secret sauce. I see so many people trying to hide the hard struggles from their teams, or trying to look “put together”, because most leaders think vulnerability is weakness. It’s not, it’s what will connect you more with them and will help them work harder and with more passion for you!
  2. Share your story, share the struggles, get to know them too. Because if you’re pretending everything is fine, they’re probably doing the same and that’s where mistakes start to happen.
  3. The more I share my story, my struggles, my tough times, the more passionate my team and my tribe is!

What advice would you give to other female leaders about the best way to manage a large team?

Cultivate connections amongst your team. Bringing people together for brainstorming sessions, trainings, or for a fun monthly social hour will help people to connect, learn about each other and they’ll be able to work better together.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

I have so many incredible women to thank! My entire tribe, every single girl and women, they inspire me so much every day!

But there are a couple women who made incredible impact in my life!

My really great friend Rachael Marusarz, Director of Corporate & Foundation Relations at Sinai Health System. She was the very first person I told about the 100 Days Project. In fact, I called her to tell her this exciting new project I wanted to do, reached her voicemail, and when she called me back I said, “Never mind, that’s stupid”. She insisted I said it anyways, and when she heard about it she replied with tremendous enthusiasm, “OMG Silvana, this is so you! You have to do it!” Without Rachael I might have never started the project at all!

Then one day, a few months later, I was meeting a bunch of Chicago women entrepreneurs and it was my turn to share about my company, and my friend Chereesca Bejasa, badass boss, founder of Brrrilliant, who knew about me and my story, said “This is not just a retail company, Silvana is creating a movement!”. I was so confused and amazed with what she said. Mainly confused that she thought that of me. I mean, ME?? Leading a movement? Little did she know she opened my eyes to possibilities for my life I’ve never imagined before!

And lastly, but certainly not least, my friend, coach, mentor, an angel in my life, Kirsten Zoub. I met Kirsten over 10 years ago and she made a huge impact in my life throughout the eyes. Last year she started to officially coach me and she taught me so much! How to be intentional, aligned with my values and intuition, find my purpose, get really grounded and focus on my gifts, and what kind of person I want to be in the world. She had a no drama, no BS policy. She taught me personal responsibility and really reinforced the belief in me that I’m the creator of my own life and I’m always in control, specially in how I act or react to situations and people. She passed away Sept 13th (two weeks ago) and she was the most beautiful soul. She had a lust for life like no other, and not one single person alone has impacted my life the way she has. Her coaching not only brought me farther in my business, but also got me in the right path!

Find a friend who has your back and cheer you on! Find a woman who has a bigger vision for yourself and what you think you’re capable of. And find a mentor who’ll be direct with you and get you farther with integrity.

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

This one thing I’ve been doing, that might seem simple for some people but have created a huge impact, is donating a tutu to a Children’s Hospital for every skirt sold. Tutus bring so much life and fun to little girls, they make them forget what they’re going through and be a kid again.

I’m also giving permission to women to embrace their femininity, to be bold, to make mistakes and love themselves fully, flaws and all. And as I build my tribe, connect more women with each other, and create my workshops, I hope to create a bigger impact in females of all ages everywhere! I aim to empower them to really embrace their femininity as strength, to look inside of themselves for the answers they’ve been seeking outside, to speak up more, to stand out in the crowd, to be bold!

What are your “5 Leadership Lessons I Learned From My Experience” and why. (Please share a story or example for each.)

  1. Believe in yourself. This is cliché, I know, but really though, do you? Even if everyone around you didn’t? It took me a long time and a lot of personal growth work and books to learn this one. And the thing is, if you don’t really believe in yourself, no one will!
  2. You can’t do everything. You can’t do everything, trust me, I tried that but I ended up spreading myself too thin. Yeah, in the beginning you might have to, but eventually you’re going to pick one or two things to focus on and work on those main things!
  3. Listen to your gut! I cannot say this enough!! People will try to tell you what to do, how to run your business, what is best for you. Although I wouldn’t be where I am if I didn’t have amazing mentors, I wouldn’t either if I listen to everyone. At the end of the day, this is YOUR business, trust your gut, that invisible voice that knows… it knows!
  4. There are no mistakes, only lessons. All the very successful people know this. There’s no mistakes or failures, there are only lessons. What is the lesson in that? What did you learn? How did you grow? What are you doing different? What will you get from this and how you’ll use it for the future?
  5. Have fun! For God’s sake! Don’t burn yourself out, don’t burn bridges with your friends because you’re too busy getting rich and successful. Have a girl’s night out, plan a weekend getaway, go get brunch, make phone calls to catch up with people. Throw a dance party and invite all of your girlfriends so you can catch up with everyone in one fun, amazing night!

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I AM CREATING THAT!! I’ve created a tribe of my own in Chicago and now I want to reach women and girls all over the country!!

Because when we empower females we make the entire world better! For men too, for kids, for animals, for the health of the planet, everyone and every living thing. Females are collaborative, kind, thoughtful, strong, and caring. They think of the greater good of everyone, not just themselves, they thrive when they are connected and making a difference. Enough with the talk that females are catty, or too emotional (emotions are beautiful btw, and if you’re afraid of them, you should try it sometime!)… or that we can’t do some specific thing because we’re not a men.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“A hundred years from now? All new people.” ― Anne Lamott

That gave a reality check like no other!! Do you understand how short of a time is that?? 100 years is nothing!! Why would waste a month crying over a person who treated awfully? Why would you waste a whole day depressed because something didn’t go your way? Why would you waste a second doing something you hate doing?

Sorry to give it to you like this, but you’re going to die really soon! So will all of those people who made fun of you in school, that crush you have and are afraid to approach because you’re too afraid of looking stupid, who cares? Your parents will be gone!! If you have children they most likely will be gone too!! This is hard to think, but get your mind in the right place and start appreciating the gift life is!

Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂

Serena Williams!! She did exactly what I do: she wore a tulle skirt (a tutu) to show her femininity and her strength to rise above! She keeps thriving amidst of all the controversy, she keeps breaking through all the barriers!

She faces judgment, pressure, and harassment for being a woman of color, a mom, not just a wife, but a wife of a white men, for reacting in the tennis court less aggressively than her male counterparts, but getting bigger punishment for it. As a woman of color (I’m Latina), who wants to get married and be a mom, and also be a successful woman with strong opinions, I strive to be like her!

How can our readers follow you on social media?

Silvana Favaretto, Founder
The Tulle Project YouTube Channel
instagram | twitter | facebook 

Originally published at medium.com

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