57 min

MADDIE FLANIGAN | On Loss + Grief, Building a Business + Failure as a Must | No. 19 IN THE UNKNOWN with Alyonka

    • Philosophy

It's the very exact flaw Maddie carries which made me feel seen when I needed it most.

"Too open with people at first. Be careful with who you let in."
It's that, right there, which saved me. I had just moved to Fort Lauderdale, Florida. I was in 7th grade. I knew no one in the state. No one in the town. No one at my new Catholic School. I was just starting my transition into becoming a woman and fresh off of a year of home-schooling. I was nerd-central. Not in the cute way. In the socially debilitating way. I did not fit in. And I didn't know how to find my place in this new space. In comes Maddie. Smiling. Kind. Taking me straight under her wing. Open. I never forgot that. 

I saw her a few times thereafter. Majority of what I knew about her was cultivated through the narrative of social media. I knew she became a brand maven of sorts. Super photographer, in-house graphic designer, blogger for Urban Outfitters, Antrhopologie + Free People. Then there was sewing, and sewing kits, and teaching. Then I found Madalynne Intimates.

“At my core I’m a problem solver. People are always like how are you so creative? How do you get so much work done in the day? I’m a problem solver. So whether it is sewing. Whether it’s photography, graphic design, whatever you throw at me, that’s what I’m made out to do. You give me a problem. I want to solve it. I’m a creative problem solver.”

Maddie is killing it, I thought. Really. I was so impressed. I did not, however, remember an artistic side when we were kids. That's when I read about her Mother's breast cancer.

“I remember saying to myself she’s probably not going to be alive in a year. At the moment I just couldn’t imagine what my life would be like without my mom. It’s just like how would I live without my right arm? You know? At the age of 12 my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. We didn’t talk about it much when I was a teenager but I think it was still subconsciously there. When I was 17 her spine collapsed and she passed away two weeks before my senior prom of high school. ”

How does one move through grief and make it to the other side?

“My motto in life is that I just keep going. I just keep going. My Mom died but okay, it’s a new day. The world doesn’t stop for you. And no offense, I don’t mean to sound pessimistic but the world really doesn’t care about you. We’re so wrapped up in our own lives. You just keep going. You just put one foot in front of the other because those days are limited. The more that you grieve and stop living, you’re wasting time and nobody - nobody - can give you time. Nobody.”

After her Mother's passing she found her old sewing machine. And then she found Mishka (you'll hear a lot about her) and that was that. To say the least, Maddie is pragmatic. She has no time for b******t, negativity, or wasteful energy. She clears house, making way for positivity and light.

“Anybody who doesn’t bring me up and support me. If this is a parasitic relationship rather than a symbiotic. It’s funny. I just won’t respond to your texts. I just won’t answer your calls. I will literally remove you from my life."

She has many life hacks of the sort. We talk about mastering failure and rejection.

“I think one of my biggest strengths is that I really don’t care if I fail. I just don’t. I fail 90% of the time. It’s just the 10% I succeed gets recognized. Failure, to me, is a learning opportunity. So if you fail - what happens? You try again or you try something different.”

About adhering to a schedule which allows for meditation and decluttering the mind. And most importantly, how to STEP INTO THE FEAR - like, FULLY embrace it. Hug it. Love it. And to know that you'll come out okay.

“I get paralyzed when I feel like I have no options or when I don’t have control. But there are always options. If Ma

It's the very exact flaw Maddie carries which made me feel seen when I needed it most.

"Too open with people at first. Be careful with who you let in."
It's that, right there, which saved me. I had just moved to Fort Lauderdale, Florida. I was in 7th grade. I knew no one in the state. No one in the town. No one at my new Catholic School. I was just starting my transition into becoming a woman and fresh off of a year of home-schooling. I was nerd-central. Not in the cute way. In the socially debilitating way. I did not fit in. And I didn't know how to find my place in this new space. In comes Maddie. Smiling. Kind. Taking me straight under her wing. Open. I never forgot that. 

I saw her a few times thereafter. Majority of what I knew about her was cultivated through the narrative of social media. I knew she became a brand maven of sorts. Super photographer, in-house graphic designer, blogger for Urban Outfitters, Antrhopologie + Free People. Then there was sewing, and sewing kits, and teaching. Then I found Madalynne Intimates.

“At my core I’m a problem solver. People are always like how are you so creative? How do you get so much work done in the day? I’m a problem solver. So whether it is sewing. Whether it’s photography, graphic design, whatever you throw at me, that’s what I’m made out to do. You give me a problem. I want to solve it. I’m a creative problem solver.”

Maddie is killing it, I thought. Really. I was so impressed. I did not, however, remember an artistic side when we were kids. That's when I read about her Mother's breast cancer.

“I remember saying to myself she’s probably not going to be alive in a year. At the moment I just couldn’t imagine what my life would be like without my mom. It’s just like how would I live without my right arm? You know? At the age of 12 my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. We didn’t talk about it much when I was a teenager but I think it was still subconsciously there. When I was 17 her spine collapsed and she passed away two weeks before my senior prom of high school. ”

How does one move through grief and make it to the other side?

“My motto in life is that I just keep going. I just keep going. My Mom died but okay, it’s a new day. The world doesn’t stop for you. And no offense, I don’t mean to sound pessimistic but the world really doesn’t care about you. We’re so wrapped up in our own lives. You just keep going. You just put one foot in front of the other because those days are limited. The more that you grieve and stop living, you’re wasting time and nobody - nobody - can give you time. Nobody.”

After her Mother's passing she found her old sewing machine. And then she found Mishka (you'll hear a lot about her) and that was that. To say the least, Maddie is pragmatic. She has no time for b******t, negativity, or wasteful energy. She clears house, making way for positivity and light.

“Anybody who doesn’t bring me up and support me. If this is a parasitic relationship rather than a symbiotic. It’s funny. I just won’t respond to your texts. I just won’t answer your calls. I will literally remove you from my life."

She has many life hacks of the sort. We talk about mastering failure and rejection.

“I think one of my biggest strengths is that I really don’t care if I fail. I just don’t. I fail 90% of the time. It’s just the 10% I succeed gets recognized. Failure, to me, is a learning opportunity. So if you fail - what happens? You try again or you try something different.”

About adhering to a schedule which allows for meditation and decluttering the mind. And most importantly, how to STEP INTO THE FEAR - like, FULLY embrace it. Hug it. Love it. And to know that you'll come out okay.

“I get paralyzed when I feel like I have no options or when I don’t have control. But there are always options. If Ma

57 min

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