For those of you who don't know me, why don't we start with a simple Icebreaker.
Hi. My name is Justina. I was born in Las Vegas and now live in Brighton, Michigan.
Yes. That is The Child. On my back. The Child Backpack.
I've spent almost my entire life in Las Vegas - born and raised. Only moved away for college. Good old Northwestern University. As if I couldn't find anywhere else colder than sunny, blistering hot Las Vegas right? But still those years were some of the best years of my life. Everlasting friendships, simple skills like shoveling snow and how to wipe the freezing snot off of your face while walking in below temps - things I will always keep with me for years to come.
Upon moving back to Las Vegas, I decided to pursue a career - as a professional golfer. Yes. I played professional golf. From mini-tours to Qualifying School for the LPGA to the Symetra Tour. Definitely a learning experience I will cherish for the rest of my life. Mostly because as we can see - no spoilers here - I did NOT make it. Ha. No regrets though.
Probably the only professional golf picture I have.
So into the real world I went. My mother Mei (five-foot-tall tiger mom with wacky-constantly changing color hair) had already started a company under my name - cleverly called Forever Vegas LLC - with the intention of me FAILING at my golf career (HA Just kidding, my parents never wished that upon me. Although it might have been suggested through subtle context...) - no, my mother had started this company as a way for her to rebound after her and my father sold their screen-printing business they had owned for over 30 years. And now it was my turn to take the reigns and join her.
I was VERY young at the time. And at a Backstreet Boys concert with my mom.
We dabbled in anything and everything we could get our hands on - selling products directly to the casinos; vendor owned programs that required us to physically stock locations (at one point, we had over 8 locations, one Chevy Express van, two employees, and a TON of suitcases we used to re-stock product. They didn't like boxes out on their floors so we had to "class" it up); and eventually I ended up opening a retail location inside of a casino. Granted, it was not that glamorous as it may sound, but it was still another opportunity to grow and so why not.
As promising as all this sounds, there's always bound to be obstacles and failures. I started a business partnership that ended tragically (and financially crippling for a fleeting moment). Decided to jump into another business partnership with a HUGE company thinking that it was so amazing and promising as well. That ALSO ended in disaster - and me having to file for bankruptcy because of some ridiculous amount of money they were demanding that proved inconceivable.
Moral of the story - I suck at partnerships. Business partnerships, that is.
But there is a silver lining. My awesome husband. During the first disastrous partnership, we bought our first house (when we were still dating). It was the beginning of building our future together. We went on amazing trips to Sedona with our goldens Henrik and Butters. While I was struggling to maintain my sanity with my crippling business relationship, he got to grow as a golf instructor which was incredible to watch.
During the disastrous second partnership, we got married. Simple traditional ceremony that included Elvis singing to me as I walked down the aisle, a couple finger-points at the camera, and a remarkably entertaining reception at Top Golf.
I wasn't joking. Elvis and finger-pointing.
After these two horrendous partnerships, I vowed to NEVER enter into another business partnership as long as I drew breath. So back to tiger mom Mei and the wholesale business.
And then came the next chapter in our lives - finding out we were going to be parents.
That story I will save for another day.