For those of you who read my inaugural blog post, you’ll recall I was at a point of delving deeper into astrology to see how it could answer some of the burning questions I had about my career.  I was at a crossroads where I felt I had to make a major decision and I needed a compass.

I consider myself lucky to have led a very focused career trajectory.  At an early age, I was able to hone in on my first passion and career path: fashion.  While I watched my friends flip-flop from one university program to another, I made deliberate steps forward to build the business I established at age 17.  Being that my Sun occupies my 10th house, having a successful career that I can be proud of has always been important to me. (stay tuned for my upcoming post on career indicators in astrology and what they mean for you).

I was very fortunate to have been met with success and support at an early age, but it wasn’t without my share of sleepless nights, workaholism-induced health issues, and late nights questioning my future.  I was driving myself into the ground by overworking and ignoring my physical and mental health.  Focusing on my business always seemed so much easier than focusing on my personal problems. Checking out with alcohol became a bandaid solution to psychological pain. Around this time I began searching for answers which led me to astrology. But my first big warning sign was a physical one and at age 23 I began to develop tendinitis in my forearms from long hours of cutting and sewing.  It was a wake up call alerting me that that something had to change.

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As a self employed person with a modest budget, accessing healthcare beyond what is covered by OHIP was a challenge.  A friend encouraged me to check out the Artists’ Health Centre which offers a subsidy program for working artists. It was here that I found help and support in caring for my stressed body through physiotherapy and healing my troubled mind through psychotherapy.

As my twenties drew to a close, I entered my Saturn Return and the ride got rougher. For those of you who don’t know, Saturn returns occur approximately every 30 years with the first one happening around age 27.5-30.  At this time, Saturn is essentially returning to the same place in the sky as it was when you were born.  Saturn is known as the taskmaster of the zodiac and initially it can be really difficult. You’re met with a lot of obstacles and setbacks and then you begin to get serious about life (more on this in a future blog post).

So Saturn lived up to its reputation and at this time, the world began throwing obstacles in my path – a production error caused damage to hundreds of garments, a moth infestation affected a thousand pounds of wool slated for upcycling, my tendinitis flared up (exacerbated by the first 2 problems) and a key employee left the business.  At this point, I had been running my fashion line for 12 years and I’d never doubted my commitment or dedication to it. It was clear that if I were to move forward, things would need to change. But for the first time in my life I contemplated other career options, specifically psychotherapy. I had always enjoyed intimate one on one conversations and being there for friends during hard times.  At that time, various circumstances lead me to rebrand my business rather than changing careers, but the next 4 years were a continued challenge. It’s also significant to note that during this time I stepped away from astrology.  I went through my Saturn return without even knowing it. And if I knew then what I know now, I wouldn’t have resisted so hard.

Fast forward 3 years to late 2017, I again found myself undergoing major life changes. Having just ended a significant relationship, I was back in the rental housing market while also trying to juggle work demands and a changing economy.  At 21, a landlord had allowed me to sign for a 6 bedroom house all on my own. Now at 33, I was finding it hard to find anyone who would rent to me at all.  Although I had great credit and references, without proof of a solid income most landlords wouldn’t even consider me.  

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I had spent the past 4 years testing the waters with various alterations to my business model, but the reality was, financial gains had been minimal.  Losing my affordable workspace in Chinatown was incredibly destabilizing.  Fortunately, I was able to relocate to a building in the Dupont corridor, purported to be the last affordable studio space in Toronto by its tenants. But through that search, it became clear to me that unless I was able to triple my profits while keeping my expenses static, due to rising real estate costs my years in Toronto were numbered. It felt like I was fighting an uphill battle.  This January, the Ontario Liberals raised minimum wage by a whopping 20% which was another turning point for me. I had been keeping my prices artificially low for several years and if I wasn’t able to raise my prices significantly and ask upwards of $200 for my more complex garments there was no sense in continuing the business.  I had already tried this price point and knew this wasn’t going to fly.  Certainly there were options for me – like outsourcing production overseas or using cheaper synthetic fabrics – but none of these options felt right. As much as I tried to constantly improve my offerings with every collection, the writing was on the wall. No matter how nice and how reasonably priced my products were, they were only products.  More and more I was finding that as customers stopped by to admire and compliment my designs, many said they already had too many clothes. As a culture, we’re now paying to have things removed from our homes. It became more and more clear to me that my future was not in goods. This quote by the Dalai Lama became particularly relevant to me at this time:

“People were created to be loved, and things were created in order to use them.  The world is in chaos because everything is the opposite.”

As I continued to mull over this newfound realization, another interesting synchronous event occurred. I got back into astrology… heavily. If there is anything I consider a passion other than fashion, it is astrology. I already had a good basic foundation, but I knew that there was so much more to learn. My real burning question was, “how can astrology help me in my life (and how can I use it to help others)?”  So, I picked up a book from the Toronto Public Library called “The Astrology of Self-Discovery” by Tracy Marks. In this intermediate astrology book, Marks uses her training as a psychotherapist and astrologer to create self help exercises. It is brilliant. All of a sudden, my career path became clear: I was supposed to become a psychotherapist/astrologer.

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In the weeks leading up to the February 15th eclipse at 27 Aquarius (conjuncting my moon) I experienced a real internal shift. It was like a weight had been lifted. My inner voice said it was time to shed the ball and chain that my business had become.  The fear of losing what I had worked so hard for was replaced by feelings of hope, confidence in my ability to adapt, and the prospect of a new beginning.

And so I submitted my application to psychotherapy college with the plan to work towards becoming a registered psychotherapist, employing astrological techniques in combination with more traditional ones to help and guide my clients.  Regardless of what happens, I’ll be wrapping up my business this year with Spring/Summer 2018 being my last collection. 

The last 17 years have been incredibly fulfilling and constantly challenging.  I’ve met so many great people in and through the local fashion and maker community who have shaped my life in myriad ways.  

 In the coming months I’ll be sharpening my astrology skills by offering free readings as I ramp up to full steam with Twin Souls Astrology.  I hope you’ll join me in this new adventure:

-join my Twin Souls mailing list
-get a free astrology reading
-follow Twin Souls on Facebook
-or help me fund my studies by visiting one of my upcoming studio sales

6 thoughts on “A Turning Point

  1. sjmcclelland says:

    Dear Jennifer – I am a huge fan of your clothing and will miss your wonderfully comfortable, yet chic designs. I wish you all the best in your next journey.

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    1. Jennifer says:

      Aw, thank you so much for your kind words and generous support over the years. It is the end of an era!

      Like

  2. Milena says:

    Hey Jennifer!! It’s nice to read the background of your decision to close the brand. Thanks for helping me pick out those great clothes for my mom this weekend… she loved all of the pieces. She said that it was a shame that someone with such amazing clothes was closing 🙂 So good on you for creating new fans even as you decide to let go of this career. It was a pleasure to meet you!! I wish you the very best of luck and I will be signing up for that newsletter!

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    1. Jennifer says:

      Hi Milena, Thanks so much for checking out my new blog! It means a lot to me. And I’m so glad your mother liked her new clothes. Hopefully I can bring as much joy to people with my new endeavor as I apparently did with my old one! I will surely see you at Inland next time, as a shopper 😉

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  3. Congratulations Jen, on the wonderful job you have done with your business while facing many obstacles. A career change can be a good thing, and I believe you will be a fantastic psychotherapist! You are brilliant, and I believe it is time for you to help people in a different way. You have worked on their outer shell, now it’s time to help with the inside. Best wishes to you and much success on your new path!
    Suzanne
    PS You can still be creative by giving your patients your little doodle drawings that you used to do. It will make their day!

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    1. Jennifer says:

      Aw, thank you for all these kind sentiments Suzanne! Leaving this behind is a real up and down journey and I really needed the positive encouragement today ❤ I hope you are well and getting to spend lots of time with Lucas!

      Like

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