Today is the first interview in a Creative Careers series I am starting here on the blog. In starting my own paper goods business, I have found that a lot of creative professionals have similar feelings and struggles when it comes to their careers. This series will be a place for people to come for encouragement and to read about others with similar experiences. Also, people who are considering a creative career might find these stories helpful. I will probably do about one interview per month. 
First up is my friend, Sarah Mallory!

Sarah is a fashion designer living and working in Nashville. She has worked with Dolly Parton, Jack White, and other big names around Music City. Here is what she had to say about her fashion career:

Have you always known you wanted to be a fashion designer?
I've always known that I would be in fashion! I've been re-dressing Barbies over and over again since I can remember and I started sewing when I was four on my grandmother's floor. Probably not the safest thing looking back for a four year old, but hey it worked!

Tell me a little bit about your education and how it prepared you for this career.
That's what brought me to Nashville. I looked at a lot of schools and after graduating from a HUGE high school I decided that a small college (O'More College of Design) would be best for me and it was. The education was great, but it was the people that I met along the way that have meant the most and allowed me to grow and be the most successful!

Do you do this full time? If not, tell me about your day job (the good and the bad).
I don't yet at least! I have a few times taken the leap but I've decided what my real dream is and that's going to take a lot of capital and time so I'm one of the managers at the Paper Source in Green Hills. It keeps my creative juices flowing and allows me to use my graphic design skills quite frequently!

What are your favorite and least favorite parts of fashion design?
I LOVE to create! I love to make women feel and look their best, feel always comes first! But over the years I've learned that sewing takes such a huge toll on your joints and I'm sad to say that my wrists aren't what they used to be but I have dreamed of opening a store since I was in school and my training in lingerie led me to that dream! My business plan won me the senior design award at O'More and that's where my heart is now. There is nothing better to make a woman feel great about herself than well fitting lingerie!

When will you feel like you've "made it", or what is your ultimate long term dream?
Well the store opening would certainly be part one but I think being able to sit back and know that the store is off the ground and I can just enjoy it all will be my moment of "making it" and having a family and great friends to celebrate it all with!

One of Sarah's fabulous creations on the one and only, Dolly Parton!
What has been your greatest success?
So far, winning the senior design award has been one of my greatest blessings! But I have also been blessed to work with some amazing people in the music industry as well! That all turned my way when I started working for Dolly Parton 3 years ago. That led me down a path of many other calls and lots of great experiences!

What is one thing you did wrong?
Oh geez! Do we have all day?! You have to make 5 mistakes to do anything right. And you can't be afraid to make them either! That's how we learn and know we're on the right path, by failing and picking ourselves back up again! I've gone in the wrong direction many of times, but I just keep changing my sail and moving with the wind. I think I've dipped my foot into a lot of different aspects of my industry and realized what I do and DO NOT want to do with the rest of my life.

If you could go back in time and give yourself a piece of advice, what would it be?
To calm down a bit. Everything that's supposed to happen will. I mean you have to be proactive but you don't have to stress about it. Just let life happen and enjoy the ride, you only get to do it once after all! (And by the way, I still have to remind myself of this a lot!).

Have you ever faced pressure to get a "real" job (AKA steady pay, benefits, etc.) and if so, how did you deal with it?
Not really, I mean I've for the most part always done something on the side but I've always tried to make it something that is still a part of my industry, something that I can still use my creativity with. Don't get me wrong, I have certainly thought about dropping it all at times and starting over but that never lasts more than 5 minutes! I would miss it too much!

What is your favorite inspirational quote or mantra?

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