Take Wing, Let Your Heart Sing. It's Time

Hi – I am often asked how I came up with the idea for Bouvés. The short answer goes something like this... “I was looking for something new to do that wouldn’t feel like “work” because I would enjoy it so much. Since my most prized possessions are a blend of beauty, fun and function, I’d always thought it would be great to come up with something like that.”

The other thing people want know is did I invent Bouvés. I answer, “Yes. However, since head wraps have been around for ages, I tend to think of Bouvés as more of a re-invention … a new and improved version of a timeless, ageless design.”

The long answer goes like this …

Take Wing, Let Your Heart Sing… It's Time!

August 9th, 2003

My friends have started saying they'll be able to say they "knew me when", because that's how big everyone thinks my Bouvé® business is going to be and I admit that I agree! I have had nothing less than 100% positive response and feed back from everyone who has seen them. I am not quite one year into my new business, which features a line of exquisitely stylish, and especially comfortable hats that transform one's look from ordinary to extraordinary! Bouvés are fashioned from soft, sumptuous fabrics. You pull them on your head then wrap them around in imaginative and fun ways - it's never the same hat twice.

I'm blown away with not only the success of my business, but with how perfect it is for who I am and what I want to accomplish while on this planet. On account of it, I will be able to put smiles a lot of faces and joy into a lot of hearts and that makes me feel very happy. It is the embodiment of nearly all my personal strengths and passions. I am astounded at how quickly it all came together - seemingly "out of nowhere". I have never felt so delighted, excited and alive!

I’m quite sure I wouldn't have been able to create this business without my life coach, Lauren Sullivan. When I showed up on Lauren's doorstep, I was living the "life of leisure". I lived with my boyfriend, in an oceanfront home with breathtaking views of the Santa Barbara coastline. I didn't need to work, I could go shopping anytime and buy whatever I wanted with my boyfriend's blessings. I could indulge myself in spa treatments; play tennis at leisure, and take vacations anytime and anywhere in the world. Most people would think with that type of lifestyle that I'd be very happy. Well, I wasn't. I felt restless, unproductive and unfulfilled.

My relationship wasn't working out as well as I'd hoped and yet I was afraid to let it go. I had forgotten who I was outside of the context of a relationship and felt rather lost and confused. I did know I wanted to do something meaningful with my life. Though I had been searching for years, I didn't have a clear vision of what I wanted to do when I "grew up".

It was a classic case of one thing leading to another and being ready and willing for change. I had just spent a relaxing and wonderful week with my boyfriend in the beauty of southern Utah at the Green Valley Spa where I was fortunate to hear a lecture by a life coach. Something resonated deep inside of me and I realized that having a personal coach was exactly what I needed! The woman who gave the lecture recommended a book by Cheryl Richardson called Stand Up For Your Life that had a list of Life Makeover groups in it. I joined a local group that was starting right away. At the first meeting, I said I wanted to find a life coach locally. A woman in the group instantly said, "Oh, my sister does that and she lives right here in Santa Barbara".

I met with Lauren for a few weeks focusing only on finding a new career. After getting more of a sense of who I am, what makes me tick and what I was wanting to accomplish in my life, she recommended the expanded Living Your Vision process to help me gain clarity, conviction and the confidence to move forward in all areas of my life, not just my career. This was far and away, one of the most productive investments of my life.

We spent 20 hours or so one-on-one focusing intensely on defining who I am to the nth degree. This was an extremely empowering experience. A number of themes emerged that truly defined me. I wanted to express my creative and artistic talents and immerse myself in sensual delights. I wanted to use color as a therapeutic and beautifying element in my life’s work. I wanted the freedom and flexibility of having my own business and to enjoy a lifestyle that was fun, healthy and soulful with an energizing and "spicy balance"!

I came to the process ready to have fun and ready to work, but I was not expecting the intensity. The insights and revelations came fast and furious. It was daunting, but I enjoyed every minute of it. The most astounding experience came through a visualization exercise that guided me to ask my higher self for a symbol of my life's vision. I can still see it clearly in my mind's eye. It was in vivid Technicolor, wholly spiritual and the communication was very direct…

I found myself in the awe-inspiring Utah desert amid the electric blue sky and intense red rocks. I was standing in a circle with several American Indian figures that appeared to be shamanic healers. They were dressed to the nines in ceremonial attire. My Higher Self emerged as a stunningly beautiful Priestess, dressed in a white doeskin dress adorned with feathers and beads. She had dark long flowing hair with piercing, knowing and loving brown eyes. As she looked directly into my eyes, she handed me a long, straight, pure white feather. Her message to me was, "It is time to soar, fly freely, unencumbered by things of this world. Use your powers of "other worldliness". After accepting the feather from her she said, "Take wing, let your heart sing, it's time."

As I came out of the visualization, I said right out loud, "I can't believe it ... I feel so "busted". I knew in that moment I had to do something special with my life. Never mind I didn't yet know what that something special was, but I knew that when it showed up, I would do it. No more "life of leisure" for me, I knew I had to make my mark in the world.

This is what emerged for me via this process:

MY SYMBOL: A Pure White Feather

MY VISION: I am a playfully wise, sweetly sensitive and powerfully strong woman. I soar freely with colorfully creative intuitive visions. My magic is irresistibly magnetic. I passionately engage in soulful and sensual pleasures with glowing style - and I mean business!

MY PURPOSE: My Highest Purpose is to lovingly be who I truly am - to lightly take wing and let my heart sing by playfully personifying the magical powers of "other worldliness" helping to heal, uplift and beautify the world.

I've had a sense all my life that I was put here for a higher purpose than to play around all day in my own little world. Part of my life's problem in finding my special purpose was that I have many and varied interests, a bit of talent in a bit of everything. That made it difficult for me to focus on one particular endeavor. I never had one special shining light illuminating a clear direction for me to go.

The LYV process helped me to bring substance and definition to my desire to make a difference. Several business ideas emerged during the 20-hour process, all exciting and viable possibilities. It was during the 12-week follow up coaching piece of the program that the concept for my Bouvé® business emerged.

In the weeks that followed, I couldn't talk about anything else. All I could think and dream about were Bouvés. It was one of the most exciting experiences of my life! I could imagine Bouvés becoming as popular as baseball caps (FYI - the only other hat "invented" in America before Bouvés). I could see it in the dictionary sometime in future. My goal is for everyone to eventually know about the new hat on the block - Bouvé. (By the way, I made the name Bouvé up from a combination of two ancient hat names I found on the Internet, Bourrelet and Couvre.)

During this time period, my relationship with my boyfriend ended and I moved back into my own home. I had to quickly face the fact that I needed to produce an income to cover my mortgage and other expenses. Like magic, the perfect part-time job appeared. This gave me the security of a base income and the time to pursue my new business idea.

I was very jazzed with the idea, but being able to actually make a Bouvé presented a challenge. I only knew the basics of how to sew, but I didn't let that stop me! Everything fell into place so quickly it made my head spin.

A good friend told me I needed to get a special sewing machine called an overlock in order to sew my hats properly, so I went right out and bought one. That very week, a beginning overlock sewing class was starting in the local Adult Education Program. I ran over and signed up. Before you know it, I had my first prototype of the Bouvé. No matter that it took me at least 5 hours to make the first one! When I held my first Bouvé in my hand, I was so excited, I practically danced around the room exclaiming, "I can do this, I can do this!"

Once I produced enough Bouvés to build a saleable inventory, I set out to find ways to market my hats. This is where I met with some initial frustration. I sold a fair amount one on one and even found a couple of local boutiques to carry them. However, at the end of each month when I added up my sales, they were not quite enough to meet my expenses.  Soon, I decided to apply to sell my hats at the Santa Barbara Arts and Crafts Walk, located outdoors on the beautiful beach front near the harbor. I began setting up my booth on Sunday afternoons, and bingo, that's when I hit the jackpot! The Art Walk has been a major tourist attraction for over 30 years and from there I’ve sold my Bouvés to women from all over the world.

Bouvés look sensational on nearly everyone so initially, I saw Bouvés as simply a beautiful expression of personal style. They are crafted from deliciously soft fabrics in a beautiful array of colors and patterns. They are a fun and playful accessory that make a joyful fashion statement. However, almost from the start, I found them to be wonderfully therapeutic as well. I quickly discovered the poignant need for stylish, comfortable and beautiful headwear for women suffering from hair loss as a result of chemotherapy (or medical conditions such as alopecia, lupus and trichotillomania). I hear several times a day when I'm selling down at the beach, offers to connect me to cancer centers in New York, Los Angeles, Massachusetts, Colorado, Texas and even Germany. Bouvés fills a huge need for women in chemotherapy to not just cover their heads, but to feel beautiful, stylish and nurtured as they work through the process of healing.

Even though this market only represents 20% of my overall sales, it is the most heartwarming part to me, because not only do I have an artistic and creative side that needs fulfilling, I also have a very strong healing and healthful side that craves expression too. To be able to bring this fun and fashionable hat to women who have lost their hair, especially the ones who are fighting for their lives, fills my heart with joy. As far as I know, there is simply nothing this beautiful, this soft and this exquisitely stylish available anywhere. I am 100% proud and delighted about what I'm doing. I feel happy and blessed to be able to spend my time doing something I believe in and that fills such a need.

This is a product that also uplifts the spirit. I frequently get feedback from all my customers that they get many compliments when wearing a Bouvé. The process of giving and receiving compliments is uplifting for both the giver and the receiver. I love that my product brings so much joy and appreciation to people of all ages. I get excited when I see the way a woman's eyes light up when she tries on a Bouvé as she sees her look "funtastically" transformed in a matter of seconds. (Surprisingly, this also holds true for the men who can pull this look off. Admittedly there aren’t many, but the ones that can look really hot!)

I have a wonderful quote framed and sitting on my desk. It says, "Fun has a sacred dimension". I believe in this wholeheartedly. When you're having fun, you are connected to your playful, childlike and spirited essence and Bouvés are definitely fun!

One unexpected outcome of the LYV process was finding a heightened level of self-appreciation and self-love that I’d never known before. It's nice to be in love with your self. I used to like me, now I love me and that is incredibly empowering! I have improved my self-esteem, strengthened my sense of purpose and now have a wonderful sense of being grounded just enough to be effective without taking life too seriously. I used to define myself by my relationships with other people and what they wanted to do. I now define myself by who I am and what I want to do.

If I put my mind to it, I know I can accomplish whatever I want - it's all about intention and focus. My intention is to travel through this life with a smile on my face and a song in my heart focused on accomplishing even my loftiest of goals.

And that's the way it is ... Signing off … Julia Lee Wynn