Marketing, musings, and the future
I stood in my half-empty closet surveying a large pile of clothes I had accumulated since graduate school. The oldest of them, patterned with holes from lab chemicals, were at the bottom, but on top of those were a sprinkling of clothes that hadn’t fit in years and sweaters that were faded and pilled. The few hangers left on the racks looked piddly and forlorn. In 30 minutes, I had a guest coming to see the results of my closet inventory–and I wasn’t sure what she’d make of this….or, frankly of me. I was beginning to deeply regret the impulsive moment in which I’d agreed to have someone come help me inventory and plan my wardrobe.
It all started when–for the fifth day in a row–I exclaimed to husband, “I can’t find anything to wear” and later that day at work there were two semi-slurs on my sense of style. Something had happened over the last couple years of working, getting my MBA, having kids. I’d gone from someone with a deep love of art and design to someone who was….well, rather frumpy. The fact that I hate to shop was probably not helping any. So when someone suggested that I meet Ella Moore, someone who had a knack for assembling a stylish and functional mix-n-match wardrobe…I took the leap.
The 30 minutes I spent waiting for her to arrive, I began playing a tape in my head that went something like this: “Why on earth am I doing this? I should just go get a few more collared shirts and pants. This is either extremely shallow or extremely fake….who does this? I am just a simple person from rural New York……maybe she’ll forget and it won’t happen.” Yet as a surveyed my disaster of a closet, I knew that I was curious to see what she’d say. When the doorbell rang, I grasped the door handle tightly and I opened the door like a determined soldier.
The woman that I met on the other side of the door is someone who had a spark inside her unlike anyone I’d ever met before. She lit up a room with her smile and devoted her time to uplifting people. She believed kindness was catching. Truly, she helped me figure out how to remake my wardrobe in the most efficient and stylish possible way (merrilyn-style, that is). But She wasn’t just about style. She was about finding yourself and paying it forward. This whole style thing was her medium for entering your life.
One of my favorite stories about Ella posted in the blog “Given Breath” begins:
“One February 1, 2011, I received and anonymous note informing me that for the whole month, I was going to be showered with love.
Sure enough, each day thereafter, for the whole month of February, I would walk out to the back patio and discovered a carefully wrapped gift for me. Imagine! For a whole month!”
That was Ella. A whole month of small gifts to shower someone with love.
(Read more From Given Breath.)
A year ago, Ella passed away after a courageous fight with cancer. She left a husband and two small children. And a wide base of those–including me–who were touched by her life and her strong belief that kindness is catching. It’s true that my wardrobe improved thanks to Ella’s help but style was only the beginning of her gifts. To remember her and carry on her legacy, some of her closest friends founded the non-profit “Moore Love.”
What will be your legacy? Ella’s was style and a little more.