As a small business owner of a women’s specific eyewear company, Church and State Optics, I can dole out all kinds of advice, the right networking paths, the wrong paths, don’t waste your money here, spend it there, be fearless, take care of your customers, pay attention to the details, efficiently utilize the resources you have in the present, and on and on. And, personally, I still have lots to learn as I grow. But the biggest, all-encompassing, numero uno law I have found in my experience, NEVER GIVE UP. 

This rule goes beyond my office and right into the wilderness, on days when I can’t hike up anymore snowpack, I taste the iron in the back of my throat, or I just want to get off my bike and be finished with the punishment. When I push past what I don’t think I can do, and switch to the feeling of reward after it’s all over, that is what drives my inner forward, the destination.

It was a few days ago when I met my latest challenge.  I was facing the final 48 hours of a Kickstarter project. Maybe you thought I was gonna refer to an extreme endurance race or a even a personal dilemma of some sort? No, it was a Kickstarter project that tested my mettle.

I had been researching the newest performance development for my company’s sunglass line, creating aviator sunglasses whose frame and lenses are made completely out of nylon, making it a super lightweight, trendy, and functional frame for leisure or sport. I needed to raise funds to make this technology a reality, to move my company forward.

It took me weeks beforehand to produce, film, edit, write, and fine-tooth comb thru all the details, rewards, bottom line numbers, and Kickstarter guidelines. It even took 3 weeks to finally be approved by Kickstarter after they initially declined my idea. They reversed their decision when I appealed, and I officially had the chance to crowd-fund a dream.

But there’s more. I launched this project the afternoon before Hurricane Sandy hit the East coast, the biggest storm in over 100 years that left a terrible destruction not seen before in the U.S. Obviously, people’s lives are more important than a product, so it was a bit awkward to raise funds when so many other people needed immediate relief. My timing could not have been worse and as per Kickstarter guidelines, I was not allowed to publicize contributions to non-profit efforts or I risked cancellation of my project. Then the election took center importance, and next thing I knew I had a little over a week to reach my goal.

My practical side kicked in, no way was it possible with so little time left. Even with 48 hours remaining, I still needed to raise almost ½ of the $15,000 goal. I was definitely discouraged but that pesky little voice that pushes me, alongside my mom’s cheerleading, said, “Don’t Give Up”. And then it happened. It was the momentum of a few that snowballed into a lot, and at 5:16pm EST on Nov. 28th, the Nylon aviators were funded! The newest technology from Church and State Optics was funded!

From the first brave backer to the last, from the $1 pledge to the $1,000 pledge, I am grateful and humbled by the support of family, friends, and complete strangers, to people who have faith in me, my idea, or even the human spirit in general. It was a very bumpy road with the coolest lesson in life; anything is possible when you believe!

Whether I face a big or small challenge, a professional or a personal one, I am learning over and over again to keep the faith. It has become my rule of success.

Outdoors or indoors, NEVER GIVE UP!

Church and State Optics is s based in Vail, Colorado. Sold at the Boulder and Denver locations of Outdoor Divas. Church and State Optics is a women’s specific eyewear company that produces ski goggles & sunglasses, both technical and stylish since 2007. The newest technology for The Nylon aviator can be found on Church and State Optics’ Kickstarter page,