I’m very interested in stories of re-invention. People who have either turned a bad situation that was thrust upon them into a win, or have intentionally redrawn their life maps. People with audacity and nerve.
I recently interviewed one such person, Linda Brzezinski. She is a serial re-inventor, with a penchant for business. Here is her wisdom….
“My first enterprise was while I was a student at Wayne State University. I opened a plant store with a friend next to the Cass Corridor Food Co-op called “The Clay Pot”. I loved plants myself, and that’s why I thought ‘plants’. I learned so much there, it was a labor of love, and the shop lasted long enough for me to learn that I loved being an entrepreneur. I realized there is so much I can do!”
“Soon afterwards, I got married, and moved to Ann Arbor, and began to feel the entrepreneurial bug again. I loved sewing and thought I could begin a craft business. I created an inventory and began selling them at craft shows for a couple of years. From this experience I discovered what makes a successful art and craft show. I knew I could create an environment that artists could thrive in, as a business opportunity for me. I took this knowledge and founded Daylily Promotions. My first show was at Cobblestone Farms. Within a decade I was doing 7 – 10 shows a year, at Cobblestone Farms, Domino Farms and WCC Morris Lawrence. I knew what was important to my clients the artists, and provided good service and large audiences for their work. I handled 99% of all the work for this enterprise, with help from friends and family. The last show I did was so large, that the police had to be called in to direct traffic.”
“How did I know when it was time to end that chapter of my life?” “After the traffic problems I knew that Daylily Promotions would have to make big shifts, and I really didn’t have the energy to go there. I had given birth to my second child, and knew it was time for a change. I went to work for a non profit Visual Arts organization with a retail shop, and put my experience to good use, serving the artists and customers in a storefront setting. I have grown through two additional positions beyond the Visual Arts organization, and am now at the Ross School of Business.”
“I’m a life long learner, I’m really interested in life and how things work. I enjoy my present job because there is so much opportunity for professional development. “The common thread throughout my career?” “Resilience, confidence in natural leadership, being curious and wanting to learn. I learned things I may not need at the moment, but then, every time, I’ve used and relied on that skill in the future. ”
“Advice for others?” “Take every opportunity to learn new things, occasions will pop up that you can wow people with your skill set. Follow your passions – then you’ll be passionate about what you do. And don’t be afraid. You can always re-invent yourself!”