My Story – Who am I?

Friends, I don’t take this question lightly. Who am I? What defines me? What is my story?

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I’ve been doing a lot of what we can call soul searching lately. To be completely honest with you actually, that’s why this blog has been quiet for some time. I wanted this post to be the next one that goes up because it’s been so important to me to be able to answer this question.  Sad to say, it’s not as easy as I thought it would be. It’s hard for me to describe who I am. I don’t know why, but I feel like right now is a turning point for me.

Personally and professionally, I’ve been on the hunt for self-improvement. I’ve been signing up for a webinars and events and reading more blogs and books. I’ve noticed a lot of them emphasize the importance of showing and sharing your story. That back story is the true accelerator of a successful business (as well as good products, of course) and sets each company apart from the other. The entire reason why someone would be interested in what I have to offer would be because they can relate to me, my story, and see that need in my product.

That being said, who am I anyway?

Well to be honest, I don’t really know how to answer that question except with this: My name is Carissa, but you can call me Kissa. I’m a wife, daughter, and friend. I love making products that make people feel emotions because I wear my heart on my sleeve.

I love to tug at people’s heartstrings because other people do the same for me. I feel like those emotions and moments change me and inspire me for the better. I laugh when I think something is funny. I get angry when something is unjust. I cry when something makes me sad. I learn from my lessons. I cry when something melts my heart and makes me happy. I cheer when something amazing happens.

I’m almost 29 years young and I’ve gone through a handful during my journey so far here on Earth. Life, death, success, failure, happiness, sadness, anger, sickness, health, highs, and lows.

So, what’s my story?

Ok, I would dive in to all the details (forks in the road as I like to call it) that have brought me to this very moment but I’ll just give you the semi-short version (which actually is still very long).

When I was a kid growing up, I saw my mom and dad have their own successful businesses. They started with an idea and they went for it. I remember thinking in my head and even telling my mom and dad when I was younger that I would NEVER own my own business. Haha! I remember that day like it was yesterday. The 3 of us were in the car and I was in the back seat. And I remember being so mad that my mom had to work on weekends. And I said, “I don’t ever want to own my own business. I want to just work Monday – Friday from 9-5 and leave my work when I clock out.”

Well, look at how that turned out – the exact opposite. Haha! At the tender age of 19, I started my first business. I started a 2nd business with Charlie 2 years later. A year later, I helped my family start up Ninong’s Pastries & Cafe. In 2012, we started Assemble Media Network with friends. And of course, in 2011, a month after the best day of my life (our wedding day) we started CO Creative Cartel. Lol, the irony. I guess the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree!

Despite all the things that I’ve been through up to this point in my life, the last few years have really shown me who I am and how far I can go. 2012 completely changed my life. One of my dear friends, Ray, who was battling cancer passed away in September of 2012. It was just so sudden when we lost him. And so young. Less than a month later, my Grandfather passed away. My Lolo has always been so proud of me. I really feel I got my entrepreneurial spirit from him. He was such a smart business man. It was the hardest time of my life to lose 2 people that I love and care for so much. Experiencing those major losses so close to each other was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to go through. Then the following year, about 1 year after losing my Grandpa and Ray Ray my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. And I learned shortly after that it’s hereditary.

From all of that loss, pain, anger, depression, tears, and sadness, I somehow was able to channel it for the better. And while not everyone has the opportunity to do so, I used it as a light at the end of a very dark tunnel in my life. I seek God more than ever and saw strength through Him. I am more aware of the food I eat and the products I use. I exercise regularly and am now more fit that I ever have been (and my fitness journey has just begun!). But most importantly, it has taught me that life is too short. We should continue to live every day as if it were our last because if very well might be. And though sometimes you are handed the short end of the stick you must find strength to press on. And press on with grace. Though I don’t know my fate, I can try to create the best future for myself that I can. All I can do is try and that is certainly what I intend to do.

From the day I started my first business until today, there has been so many signs that show I am truly destined to be an entrepreneur. A creative entrepreneur at that. God has led me through a crazy journey so far and looking back I now understand why. I have learned so much about myself and why I’m so passionate about what I do. And that is what CO is all about. I wanted a place where I can share my interests and my art no matter how often it changes and evolves. I want CO to be a reflection of not only my success but also my struggle. It’s an opportunity to create quality products that evoke emotion and that are functional for a generation of Millennials.

Phew. To be honest guys, this very moment as I type this…I think I just found myself. :’)

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