Have you Found your Feather?

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Today’s guest blogger is Barbara Winter of http://www.joyfullyjobless.com

Today my sister Margaret is headed to the garment district in Los Angeles on a field trip for her business. I know she’ll return with all sorts of treasures that will take on a new life in one of her hair ornaments.

Yesterday she participated in a bridal show, introducing brides to her <‘);”http://overthetopfascinators.com/”>Over the Top Fascinators. Since starting her business earlier this year, Margaret has acquired feathers, jewels, fabrics and combs of all shapes and sizes. She’s also acquired two rescue dogs that need a lot of attention. Happily, she can combine both in her living room.

A few days ago, she and I were having one of our frequent Skype chats (where she often shows me the latest creations she’s working on) and for some reason the conversation turned to the subject of resumes and cover letters. Margaret suddenly looked thoughtful and said, “I’d be working on my resume right now if I hadn’t found the feather.” 

“If I Hadn’t Found the Feather could be the title of your autobiography,” I joked. She laughed, too, but is quite aware that this happy enterprise has made a huge difference in her life. Her perpetual enthusiasm is downright contagious.

Like many wonderful enterprises, this one seemed almost accidental. Last fall, Margaret’s daughter had a friend who was getting married. Alexis, the bride, asked Margaret to make a fascinator for her to wear at the wedding. I’m not sure if Margaret knew much about fascinators at the time (I was oblivious until she introduced me), but she found the experience so delightful that she bought a few feathers, some veiling and began creating a few more. Then she had some new ideas and turned those into hair ornaments. Suddenly, she was headed in a new direction.

Margaret’s daughter Gretchen shared her enthusiasm and offered to build a Web site for her. Gretchen rounded up some friends and a photographer and scheduled a photo shoot. In its brief lifetime,  Over the Top Fascinators has had disappointments and detours, but Margaret’s passion has moved it right past those interruptions. 

Watching my youngest sister evolve as an entrepreneur got me thinking about tiny Bhutan, a small country in the Himalayas. Bhutan is an unlikely place for the birth of an international trend, yet its policy of determining success based on Gross National Happiness has gotten the attention of leaders from around the world. The term was coined by Bhutan’s King Jigme Singye Wangchuck, when he ascended the throne in 1972. GNH defines prosperity based on spiritual well-being and environmental responsibility rather than consumption. 

Imagine that…building prosperity that takes into account personal happiness and well-being. And to think it could start with finding the feather.

Barbara shares ideas and inspiration with other creative entrepreneurs through her blog Buon Viaggio, her long-running print newsletter Winning Ways and Joyfully Jobless News ezine. In addition, Barbara conducts seminars and retreats across the country and internationally. Since it first appeared in 1993, her book Making a Living Without a Jobhas been a handbook for thousands of people. An updated edition makes its appearance on September 1, 2009.

Margaret Winter’s stunning designs may be viewed at http://overthetopfascinators.com

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