Four years is a long time. In four years a child can grow from a newborn to school bound toddler; a college dropout can create a social network and amass a fortune of $1.5 billion; a tyrannical leader can gain the hearts of a poverty-stricken nation and turn it into a war machine.
In four years, a lot can happen.
Some may say this approach is melodramatic, and certainly many have pointed to the futility of ongoing protests over a month after the presidential election has passed. However, for organization Women and Allies and groups alike, four years of Mr. Trump has kept them aghast and active against the president elect and loud on the streets around the U.S.
Its been a busy week for those who, in acts of defiance throughout the country, have decided this week might be their last chance to change the nation’s four-year future. An emboldened crowd stormed the streets of New York on Monday in a last ditch attempt to get the attention of the electoral college and perhaps sway their votes uncharacteristically in favor of the popular vote winner, Hilary Clinton.
Clinton’s 2.8 million vote win over Trump is null and void because of the electoral system, something which as a foreigner, is baffling.
This nonsensical and outdated system has outraged not only me, but thousands of other women across the country and has charged a revolt seen on 5th avenue over the past month. This week, in a march organized by group Women and Allies, people took Monday off work and abandoned holiday shopping plans to roast the system and march on Trump Tower, where the future president spent his week meeting up with Silicon Valley hotshots from Facebook, Amazon and Apple, and the controversial musician Kanye West.
These meetings come at a time when other hotshots - celebrity hotshots, have come out with a plea message aligned with that of Women and Allies - for the electors to ‘vote their conscience.' Martin Sheen leads the way in the latest video from uniteforamerica.org calling on Republican electors to change their vote, of which Clinton needs only 37 to ‘change the course of history.’
Women and Allies, one of many organizations fighting against the old system, have been wielding swords in much of the opposition to Trump, perhaps most notably by raising money for causes he has spoken out vehemently against - such as Planned Parenthood and LGBTQA.
Droves of people came out for the march and other such protests for the past week, devoted to disrupting the normalization of Trump’s presidential-elect status. They come at a crucial time not only in terms of the electoral vote, but also in protest of Trump’s newly appointed cabinet, which many believe threatens the very core of American values.
"This protest wasn't just to get our voices out there before the electors vote, but it was also to show a strength in numbers - that united, the people are strong, to show solidarity."
- Isabella G
Signs read ‘electors save us’ and ‘no compromises on bigotry’ while chants of ‘LOVE TRUMPS HATE’ rang out through the packed and rambunctious crowd. Isabella, one of the march’s organizers, was optimistic about the affect of the disturbance on the day. Commenting on the mood, she says it was positive - that a feeling of unity pervaded the predominantly female crowd, united in defiance against the misogynistic prospect of Mr. Trump. The movement has not merely grown out of defiance, but out of fear. There is the deepening divide in ideologies between what’s right and what’s wrong in Trump’s America. For these protestors, Trump is on the cusp of bulldozing over the very democracy this country has spent hundreds of years struggling to create. The change about to come is the likes of which the U.S and the wider world - our generation at least - has never seen before.
While there might be no indicator as to whether the litany of marches this past week has had any effect on the prospective electoral vote, a very clear message has been sent to the president elect should he succeed in attaining office in January.
We shall not be moved.
The day after the inauguration in January, a march has been scheduled in Washington D.C for which 100,000’s of people have expressed interest in via social media channels. Buses from New York City and along much of the East coast are being arranged already and hotels are reporting almost full capacity in anticipation of the exodus to the capital to protest the new president and his promise to change the country from its current standing.
I have always been in love with all things art- I was obsessed with drawing and painting before I was even walking. In high school, I started a career selling art through various gallery art shows and on Etsy. I then went on to study fine arts at the University of Southern California, with an emphasis in painting, but took classes in ceramics, printmaking, cinema and architecture to get a really well-rounded education on all sorts of art.
During my senior year of college, my career path went through a huge transition; I started my own temporary tattoo brand, INKED by Dani, which is a brand of temporary tattoos based on my hand-drawn fine art designs.
The idea for the brand came one night after a themed party at college. My friends, knowing how much I loved drawing, asked me to cover them in hand-drawn doodles using eyeliner. The feedback from that night was overwhelming, everyone my friends saw that night was obsessed with the designs. In that moment, a lightbulb went off in my head... I could do some completely unique here and create chic temporary tattoos with an art-driven aesthetic, unlike anything else on the market. Other temporary tattoo brands were targeted to kids or lacked a sleek and millennial-driven look. It was a perfect pivot; I could utilize my fine arts training and tattoos as a new art medium to create a completely innovative brand.
Using the money I made from selling my artwork throughout high school and college, I funded the launch of INKED by Dani. I had always loved the look of dainty tattoos, but knew I could never commit to the real thing, and I knew my parents would kill me if I got a tattoo (I also knew that so many girls must have that same conflict). Starting INKED by Dani was a no-brainer.
I started off with a collection of about only 10 designs and sold them at sorority houses around USC. Our unique concept for on-trend and fashion-forward tattoos was spreading through word of mouth, and we quickly started growing an Instagram following. I was hustling all day from my room, cold calling retailers, sending blind samples and tons of emails, and trying to open up as many opportunities as I could.
Now, we're sold at over 10,000 retail locations (retailers include Target, Walmart, Urban Outfitters, Forever 21 and Hot Topic), and we've transformed temporary tattoos into a whole new form of wearable art.
My 4 best tips for starting your own business are:
- Just go with your gut! You'll never know what works until you try it. Go day by day and do everything in your power to work toward your goals. Be bold, but be sure to be thoughtful in your actions.
- Research your competitors and other successful brands in your category to determine how you can make your product stand out. Figure out where there is a need or hole in the market that your new offering or approach can fill.
- Don't spread yourself too thin. Delegate where possible, and stay focused each day on doing the best and most you can. Don't get too caught up in your end goal or the big picture to a point where it overwhelms or freezes you. You're already making a bold move to start something new, so try to prioritize what's important! I started off in the beginning hand packing every single tattoo pack that we sold and shipped. If I wanted to scale to align with the level of demand we were receiving, I needed to make the pivot to mass produce and relinquish the control of doing every step myself. I am a total perfectionist, so that was definitely hard! From that point on, overseeing production has been a huge part of my daily schedule, but by doing so I've been able to free up more time to focus on design, merchandising, and sales, allowing me to really focus on growing the business.
- Prioritize great product packaging and branding. It's so important to invest time in customer experience- how customers view and interact with your product. The packaging is just as important as the actual product inside! When we were starting off, we had high demand, and I definitely jumped the gun a bit on packaging so we could deliver product to the retailers when they wanted it. Since then, we've completely revamped the packaging into something upscale and unique that reflects what the brand is all about. Our product packaging is always called out as being one of our retailers' and customers' favorite part of our product!