Yesterday I wrote about my first trip to Paris. I was incredibly fortunate to return just 1.5 years later, this time with both of my parents and under truly amazing circumstances. I was there to watch Charmone shoes on the runway at the Ethical Fashion Show. This was an absolute dream come true. Every since I was little I dreamed of working in fashion, but life got in the way and I had long given up on the dream. Now, thanks in part to a trip to Paris and a best friend with the crazy idea to make luxurious vegan and eco-friendly shoes, I was experiencing something I had always fantasized about but never thought possible.

Every second of the experience was exactly what I had hoped for. I had my mom, a sexy eco-friendly Linda Loudermilk dress and champagne.  We had seats right in the front and the music was loud, dramatic and exciting. Most importantly, there on the runway, were the shoes we had toiled over. We had spent months going back and forth to our factories in Italy, on the phone with Italians, working with our contract designer, getting hung up on, having shoes stuck in customs, having shoes barely make it to the show, having the wrong heels put on the wrong shoes, spending tons of money, fighting with every Italian we met, and still…it was all worth it in that moment.

I knew it was special, but because the initial success came relatively “easy” for us, I had no idea how rare that moment was. So many designers start with a dream and never even produce a single item. Or they create a sample but never get it into production. Or they produce a few runs but never get into stores. Or get press. Or have a runway show. Or have celebrities wearing their designs. We got ALL of that, and in our very first year of business. I couldn’t have been happier or more excited, but I could have been more appreciative of just how rare that was. I see it now, but at the time, I had no idea, nor did I have any idea how much more stress and strife was coming. I’m glad I didn’t though, because that second trip to Paris was truly a dream come true.