I believe everyone has a dream and a purpose in life. I also believe the universe will align you with people who will help you to fulfill that dream when the time is right.
Creating my own clothing brand has always been my dream as a designer. It’s the kind of dream that has lit a fire in my belly, and I always knew at some point everything would align for me to take on the challenge.
While designing activewear for my clients, I began to design a few pieces of my own. I decided to start with things I wanted to wear myself, so it all began with a dress and a coverup. I ordered the fabric, had the samples made, did a photoshoot, and created and trademarked the name. I decided I wanted this brand to tap into my heritage and the relationships I had with my great-grandmother Odessa, from whom I take my middle name, and also from her daughter Josie, my grandmother.
The fire in my belly remained, but didn’t feel like the time was right, so I put it away, knowing I would get back to it someday.
Fast forward a year. While on a walk, I ran into an old colleague and we started talking about my projects. She said she wanted to introduce me to a former colleague she thought I should meet—and just like that, I was introduced to Shirley. After chatting with her on the phone, I felt like I had known her for years. She was brilliant and accomplished, and like me she was ready for her next new thing, something different, and maybe not in corporate America this time. The entrepreneurship road was new and scary to her, but I felt just the opposite. I had spent 20 years working on my own as a consultant, so to me it was corporate America that was scary. I brought her in to work on another project, and very quickly realized she was the Yin to my Yang, the crust in the apple pie, the soul on the shoe, the wheels on the car. You get it, right? She was the brilliant executor I’ve been waiting for to fulfill the dream of launching Odessa+Josie.
It’s funny how you never know what you need until you have it. I know what I’m good at, so I had to wait for the elements to align and for Shirley come along, ready for her new chapter. She could be doing a million other things, but she chose to take this journey with me. I am humble and grateful and look forward to creating a brand that allows women to connect to things they love.
God had a plan and now that someday I’d had been waiting for is today.
– Noah Gentry