The Success Diaries: Kathy Wilson

Dear 12-Year-Old Kathy,

It is with great relief that I get to say to you that all of your dreams will come true.  Your work will be featured in magazines, television, and film.  Your clothing will be worn by celebrities at major red carpet events.  You will even be featured on a new type of television genre called a “reality show” where you will get to experience stress on a whole new level.  You will have successes that you did not even imagine could happen.  You will learn that balance is the key to a happy life.  You will also learn what makes you happy evolves and changes as you evolve and change.

All of the lessons you learn at each workplace will be useful to you later as you embark on your own business.  Never underestimate the power of hard work.  Always remember that job security is based on being someone that people need.  It is important to understand that doing what you love is fundamental to your happiness; however, loving where you work is just as important.

Traveling overseas is extremely significant to who you will become as an adult.  Seeing how people live all over the world is what inspires you to become the best version of yourself possible.  Seeing how misunderstandings can occur and how to resolve them diplomatically becomes a great asset. Also, being open-minded and a willingness to learn about another culture helps you build great business relationships.  By the time you are 35, you will have lived in Japan for three years and traveled to China, Vietnam, Thailand, Spain, Italy, France, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Canada, Mexico, and the Dominican Republic for inspiration.

The best lessons come from the most difficult experiences.  Whenever you find yourself in a tough situation that seems to be too much to handle, try to find comfort in knowing that it is these experiences that will be the ones you will learn the most from.  The challenges you overcome will mark significant moments that forced you to become stronger than you knew you was possible.

Do what you want to do, not what you think others think you should do.  The things that you think will make your 12 year old self happy will change.  The idea that you will never get married or have kids, because you want to be a career woman, will change.  You will learn that you can have more than one identity at a time.  You will also learn that success means more than making a ton of money.  Thankfully,  you will learn that early enough to enjoy what life has to offer outside of professional glory.

Lastly, follow your gut.  When you get a bad feeling about something or someone, do not ignore it.

Everything is going to be better than you dreamed of, so enjoy every moment.

Sending you love, courage, and wisdom!

Kathy Wilson

Kathy Wilson is a women’s and men’s custom and contemporary fashion designer.  She founded her namesake line in 2009 after dressing Stevie Wonder for the 2009 White House Correspondents’ Dinner.  She was profiled on Season 2 of the critically acclaimed series, “All On The Line With Joe Zee” for Sundance channel in December 2011.  Kathy’s celebrity clients also include Michelle Pfeiffer, Sophia Bush, Chris Jacobs, Diplo, Masi Oka, and Adam Lambert.  In 2011, Kathy was recognized as an emerging Asian American fashion designer by the Asia Society.  Check out her designs at!




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