How do you go from a 9 to 5 job to New York Fashion Week, Couture Fashion Week, become the first American designer to showcase in Cuba since the embargo was established, earn an exclusive invitation to the Cannes Film Festival, AND accomplish all of this in under 3 years?? Meet Kelsy Dominick. In the fourth and final part of our interview Kelsy shares her thoughts on love, friendship, prayer, and passion.
DC: Are you ready for the life philosophy round!?
KD: I think I’m ready!
DC: I have a book in my hand. I don’t know if you’ve read it or not? It’s called “The Prophet” by Kahlil Gibran.
KD: No, I haven’t.
DC: It’s one of my very favorites. All-time Top 10 easy. Maybe top 5. So, I’m going to give you the background. You’ll have to let me read it to you. And it’s kind of a role playing thing too.
DC: The main character of the book is a man named Almustafa. He had spent 12 years of his life on the island of Orphalese. The time had finally come and he was going to return to his native land. The day had arrived for his departure and he was going down to the port to board ship and return home. All of the people of the island come out to see him off as he had grown to be much loved. They implore him to stay and not leave them. Basically he tells them that he had been there 12 years and it was time for him to return. Once they realize this… well, I’ll just read from the book what they said:
“Yet this we ask ere you leave us, that you speak to us and give us of your truth. And we will give it unto our children, and they unto their children, and it shall not perish. In your aloneness you have watched with our days, and in your wakefulness you have listened to the weeping and laughter of our sleep. Now therefore disclose us to ourselves, and tell us all that has been show you of that which is between birth and death.
And he answered, People of Orphalese, of what can I speak save of that which is even now moving within your souls?”
Each chapter is based on a question from one of the citizens to Almustafa. And I’m just going to ask you the same questions that they asked him.
KD: Oh awesome! I love that!
DC: It is beautiful and I love the meaning behind it. I’m asking you to share your experience and your truth with us. So, Kelsy Dominick…. If you were leaving and we may never see you again: Speak to us of love.
KD: You mean love in relationships right?
DC: It’s not that clear.
KD: (laughs). Man, love … I think if you’re speaking about relationships, it has to go both ways. And I think a huge foundation in that is respect. You have to respect each other. It’s not something to be taken lightly. And it is the same thing with friendship. I feel like a lot of people claim each other as friends when they don’t realize how many of those are acquaintances. But, I have a sister and she loves hard and she hates hard and there is no in between. The thing is with love, especially even with strangers, is to extend that love first. I think we are so quick in our day and age when there is a lot of confrontation of people who look different from us to extend hatred first or speculation. I would say love is… the only thing stronger than what separates us. My aunt said it best, “We are all more similar than we are different.” Love is one of those essential things in life that everyone wants and what unifies us as a people.
DC: And what of marriage?
KD: I have yet to be married (laughs). One of my seamstresses is always yelling at me, “Kelsy, why you not married? You not married. You making wedding dresses but you not married. You picky. That’s why you don’t have husband.” And I’m like Oh my gosh! So marriage, it’s another thing that should be taken very, very seriously because it is an intentional thing. And again it is one of the most important decisions you are going to make in your life. That being said, you are never going to know everything about someone before you get married. I think it is that fundamental or knowledge that you would fight through it as there will always be times when you are tested or when things are not so easy. But who are you as a person? Personally, I take that very serious. So just being intentional with whomever that is.
DC: Speak to us of children.
KD: Funny thing about children… again I have none. I think it is very funny that in this day and age we have requirements to get a license to drive a car yet we do not have a requirement to get a license to have a child. That is something that I don’t take very lightly either. They are our future. We have to invest a lot in them but also work with them at the same time. Like I was speaking to you about earlier, one of the things that I love about children is their ability to just love unconditionally. It’s important to take that role and responsibility seriously.
DC: Speak to us of giving.
KD: Giving is essential to life. For me personally, I was taught to give at a very young age. And I saw the benefits in that and just to see how appreciative people are. Always be willing to extend a hand to those who need it because you are them and they are you. You could be in the position that they are in and vice versa. By the grace of God you are in a position to give and with that responsibility, you should.
DC: Speak to us of eating and drinking.
KD: So, I eat a lot of cookies and ice cream (laughs). I’m definitely planning to be better about it. Everything is in moderation. Too much of anything is not good. That’s the only thing I have to say about it. I have a really fast metabolism but just because you’re skinny does not mean you are fit or healthy. I think that is important to consider also.
DC: Speak to us of work.
KD: There will always be work. Even as an entrepreneur I have to remind myself of that. For example, when I recently went to Africa I was super stressed out beforehand because there were a lot of September weddings and a lot of fall weddings. I had a lot of work to do! But if it’s important to you, you will find a way. If it isn’t you will find an excuse. Right? That’s the same thing with work. You have to make sure you take advantage of those opportunities because the work will always be there. Will always be there. When you get back I promise you can pick it up again. I have to remind myself of that constantly. Or if not, just get on the plane and just deal with it. Just walk away. Time is something you will never get back. That is one resource you cannot get back. You can always make more money.
DC: Speak to us of joy and sorrow.
KD: Sorrow is necessary to appreciate happiness. It is an unfortunate part of life but for me and all of the successful people I’ve seen, adversity is definitely part of that success. It depends how you look at it and how you come out of it. How you deal with it. Adversity is thrown at a lot of people and their first thought is to quit. As long as your mindset is to persevere through that it will make you a better person. It will teach you some things and make your story unique.
DC: Speak to us of houses.
KD: Um, I grew up in a family and they are all real estate investors. Is that what we are talking about here? I’m really trying to think of how to answer. In terms of housing, they are great investments. But if we are talking in terms of family households… I want to go back to the children part too because it plays into the house. I think it’s very unfair to have one child. I love my brother… I mean my sisters!!
DC: Oh, you love them that much?!
KD: (Laughs). I love them so much! I can’t imagine doing life without them. For a household, I think it is so important to work on the foundation of husband and wife before you put children into the mix or even before themselves. So constantly loving and respecting each other and building a foundation for your children to look at as an example.
DC: This one is totally you. Speak to us of clothes.
KD: Oh my gosh! This was in the book?
DC: Yes! In the book.
KD: Clothing and fashion are a language. And what I am super passionate about is allowing the world that platform to converse. If nothing else, how you dress, you have to understand how that affects you and your daily life. It’s the same thing as your attitude. Your attitude affects how people receive you and how you receive other people. It is essentially who you are. Fashion is important. Without playing too much into the vanity role of it, it is how you present yourself. For me, it is putting your best foot forward or the best version of yourself. When I go take an exam I am not the one that dresses in sweats. Although it is really tempting! Unless I am wearing those heels and that outfit I don’t feel as empowered as I otherwise would have been. Take pride in it.
DC: Speak to us of buying and selling.
KD: With clothing, always sell it for more than you got it. Same thing for real estate. But there is so much to be said for patience in letting that equity build. I think it is Warren Buffet that said, when it came to stocks, you don’t always have to sell it at the top of the market, just more than what you bought it for.
DC: Speak to us of crime and punishment.
KD: I believe in karma. I believe there are so many things out of our hands. I believe everything in its due time is in the right hands and will be dealt with otherwise. And we have to learn outside of that there is only so much we can change.
DC: Interesting follow up… But what of our laws?
KD: Hmmm. Laws. Laws. Laws. I don’t think it is necessarily the laws that I have an issue with. I think it is the cultural structure that has been a result of laws that have passed already. Whether it is something like segregation which was legal less than X number of years ago. We are just kind of coming out of that. I think it is more of the mentality of people that has been the result of the laws. But I think that we are moving in the right direction. I really hope that we are. Whoever our President is aside, I think that it is up to the individual and how we view things. The difference between then and now is that nobody is going around telling you that you have to treat someone a certain way. It’s a choice. But again, with that choice is a reflection of who you are and what is to come in our generation. I don’t think I have anything particular to say about laws. It’s more the people who may cling to laws.
DC: Speak to us of freedom.
KD: There is a price to pay for that. I deal with a lot of wounded warriors. The number one thing that I think about when I see them, who they are, their families, and the amount of limbs they have left is just how grateful they are for life. It is sad to see them come back and not have the appreciation that they should be given. Because that’s the price. A lot of people are removed from that because they don’t have any family members that have served or know anyone who has been involved in protecting our country. But there is a price to be paid for it and it is essential to do what we are doing now whether it entrepreneurship or pursuing some other endeavor. You have that freedom because of them.
DC: Speak to us of reason and passion.
KD: Let passion be the catalyst for what you pursue. And let reason be involved in that after the fact. Earlier we talked about over thinking things. That’s where reason comes in. You will never take that first step unless you act on the passion first and see where it goes. I don’t say get carried away as it is easy for people to invest thousands of dollars in a business. There’s definitely a place for reason in there as you are taking baby steps but let passion be part of whatever you do.
DC: Tell us of pain.
KD: I’m very fortunate in my life. I haven’t lost anyone very important to me. That is relationship wise. Pain will eventually subside. Sometimes it makes it very hard for us to do what we have to do. There is a season for everything. Things will come and things will go. Whatever pain you go through I would encourage you to use it as motivation for anything you want to do.
DC: Speak to us of self-knowledge.
KD: Never be the smartest person in the room. And don’t ever be so far up your own ass that you think you are. The man who knows that he doesn’t know anything is the man who knows the most. It’s important to be aware of that because nobody knows everything. Always be willing to learn from somebody else.
DC: Speak to us of teaching.
KD: Everything we learn, it is always important to pass it along to someone else. We are all teachers but we are also all students. You and I, our parents, the sons and daughters of someone else, we are all still learning.
DC: Speak to us of friendship.
KD: Don’t take it lightly. Make it a priority. Man was never intended to walk this earth alone. Be intentional about your friendships.
DC: Speak of talking
KD: Listen more than you talk. I have an issue sometimes. There are a lot of times friends will come to us and ask for advice. They might not even ask for advice. They may just be venting. We have to realize is that maybe all they want is for us to listen rather than saying maybe you should do this or do that. Sometimes that is what we want too but we have to learn to practice it first.
DC: And what of time?
KD: Now! It is now. I said before: there will never be a good time to do something. Time is a finite resource that we will never get back. Again, when you are being intentional about your friendships or relationships, realize time is the most important investment you can make with those. It is the same for your business.
DC: Speak to us of good and evil.
KD: I wish the world was black and white but it’s not. Surround yourself with the good. Instead of thinking constantly about the bad things in your life you want to get rid of, focus on the good things that you want to attract into your life.
DC: Speak to us about prayer.
KD: hmmm. It’s important. Reflection is very important. There is something so powerful about thoughts. Prayer is a vertical thing and not a horizontal thing. If you can invest that time in your thought process, your mind controls everything else. Where it is, is where your intentions are.
DC: Speak to us of pleasure.
KD: Man, chocolate is really good. Pleasure… I think that’s like the balance of good and evil. What is it that’s pleasing to you? For me, I like to vacation a lot. I say vacation but I feel like I am working every time that I go. I get a lot of joy out of travel but it still comes in moderation.
DC: Speak to us of beauty.
KD: Focus on your heart. Focus on your soul. Focus on your inner beauty. Be very cautious of how your thoughts are, how you present yourself to different people, how you resonate with the rest of the world. There is nothing more beautiful than someone being comfortable in their own skin! But that starts from your mentality, your perception of yourself. It is not an outward thing.
DC: Speak to us of religion
KD: I’m personally a Christian. I love talking about those parts of each other when I travel and meet other people. It defines us and creates us as people. One thing that I’ve realized about everybody and what they want in life, essentially, is that it all rivers leading to the same ocean. A lot of people believe in different gods and different this and different that but the heart of man is what I try to look at. I try to think of how Jesus would treat people if he was still walking this earth. It’s never my intention to treat people different than me as lesser. Religion is also being careful too to make it vertical. A lot of people think that just going to church makes them good. No, it is so much more than that. And it is focusing on your personal relationship.
DC: Last one. Speak to us of death.
KD: Never be afraid to die for what you believe in or what you enjoy doing. We are all going to die at some point. It is not in our hands. We don’t know when it is going to be. I think it is so important not to live your life in fear. People live their fears instead of their dreams because of this thing that we call death. They are so afraid of that end point that they are paralyzed to do anything else outside of that. Death is just that. But don’t let it be how you live.
DC: Wrapping up, what are ways for people to follow you, contact you, get more information about DiDomenico and Sewing the World?
KD: Yeah! Of course. DiDomenico Design is where I make all of my custom clothing that I bring back from Sewing the World. Each one has links to all of our social media. You can follow all of our future journeys there.
Learn about DiDomenico Design from the lady herself….
*Photo by Lionel Madiou