Hey guys! I’m Frankie. I’m a fashion designer with ADHD who was born and bred in Louisville, Kentucky. Currently, you can find me in Los Angeles fitting all of the stereotypes of a starving artist barely scraping by. While that can paint a very melodramatic picture, it happens to be a picture I'm proud of. I may be starving some days, but I've been self employed every day. My art is what is what keeps me alive. But now, it's time to stop surviving. It's time to start thriving.
Let's settle in, shall we?
I like to think that every ADHD brain comes with its own set of superpowers. My power is problem solving. I am the perfect person to brainstorm with. I get excited about talking through problems. I can create efficient systems and devise creative business strategies and build effective programs. But alas, like all classic heroes with super-human powers, I have a weakness that derails my strengths. Loneliness. When I work alone, I am slow, depressed, unfocused, unmotivated, and tasks that should take me hours, take me weeks to accomplish. But when I’m leading a team, however small the team may be, I become a new creature altogether. I’m driven and creative. I produce more work, seize and secure more opportunities, and I can see the change right before my eyes. After years of going at this alone, I know now that if Frankie Lew is to truly grow and be the force for good that I know it can be, then it is time to grow the team. Time to start hiring.
It's been 14 years since sewing my first straight line on the sewing machine. In that time, I’ve experienced every kind of seamstress job imaginable. I’ve crouched back stage as a costumer for college students, but I’ve also stood barefoot in celebrity living rooms pinning dresses for red carpets. I’ve carried pounds and pounds of garments up stairs for both high school productions and music videos. From cutting fabric at Joann’s to designing custom fabrics in Los Angeles, I’ve truly seen the good, the bad, and the ABSOLUTELY NOT of the fashion industry. That includes experiencing every kind of boss you can imagine. Bosses that made me feel valued, bosses that made me feel expendable, bosses that disregarded my rights, and bosses that made my rights the priority. As I embark on this mission to grow the Frankie Lew team, it is important to reflect on what kind of boss I’ve been. And more importantly, the boss I want to be.
I want to be the boss that pays a living wage. I want to be the boss that values the humanity of my employees. The boss that carries the clothes up flights of stairs with my team. I want to be a boss that pays her fair share and bears the tax burden for my team, and not the boss that makes independent contractors do it themselves. I want to be a boss who does it right.
By now you may be thinking, "go get a business loan Frankie. That's what most people do." Well, my ADHD has always prevented me from being “most people.” Trust me. Because of my backward brain, I can’t make the kind of money I need, until I hire the help (remember the whole working alone thing from earlier?). I can’t get the bank loans I need to hire the help, because I can't prove ( on paper) any consistent profits or show any evidence of the money my business COULD make if I had the help. I don’t have rich parents to beg and living gig-to-gig in Los Angeles doesn’t allow me to “save” much of anything.
So here I am. Finally getting to the point.
This GoFund me is my humble plea for you to believe in me as a leader. For me to open my hands, for you to open your hearts (and pockets), and help me be the boss that I know I can be. With this donation I can build up a reserve for salaries and expenses related to salaries (legal fees, set up fees, etc.). With a salary reserve, I can confidently spend the time that I need developing my team and setting up Frankie Lew to soar. I won’t have to worry about how I will pay the team in these early months while we test and develop our plans and systems. I can also pay off existing business debt and have a fresh start with my new team. People won't have to work for free or for wages less than they are worth while my company goes through expansion. I also plan to use the funds to rent space outside of my home, so I can set healthy boundaries with my employees. It would also help to have the funds I need, without the added stress of yet another monthly payment to remember.
I know this is a long shot. But it’s a shot worth taking. Thanks.