I am so fortunate to have found Altar’d State eight years ago. Or I should say, I’m so fortunate they found me.
I moved from the East Coast to go to college in Greensboro, NC, and when I graduated the country was still reeling from the financial crisis of 2008. I bounced between a number of part-time jobs and was trying to get a photography business off the ground. It was really hard trying to find a place where I could flourish and where my artistic eye would be celebrated and refined. But then, a friend of mine recommended I apply to this really cool clothing company she had heard about. She knew I loved fashion and people and that I had energy for days, so she thought that it could be a great little side gig for me.
At the time, Altar’d State was a really small company. They only had 11 stores and were about to open their 12th in Greensboro. I ended up being the very first Brand Representative they hired for the Greensboro store. One of my favorite memories is preparing for that new store opening. The window was Back to School themed and I was able to work with Norm, the head of the window design team. It was a magical window: books floated and curled and reshaped into fantastical sculptures, mannequins wore dresses of pages, and shoes walked up stairs made of novels. I had never seen anything like it. Our windows, to this day, continue to leave me speechless. But more than just letting me build pretty windows, my store leader took the time to develop me. Throughout that year, I worked side-by-side with her every day, and she showed me how to create captivating displays that let the guests know that Altar’d state isn’t just magical because it is pretty, but because the people here care about you and your community.
Through Altar’d State, I have been able to travel from Seattle to Vegas to Nashville to Atlanta, helping open stores and teaching others everything I have learned about visuals from some of the best and most innovative creators in the business.
Another quality that makes me so passionate about Altar’d State is our give back. I am a part of a company that wants to change the world for the better. They encourage us to be the light we want to see in the world and to give back, not just financially, but also with our own hard work. In addition to donating a portion of every purchase to a local or international non-profit, Altar’d State pays its employees to volunteer within their communities for four hours every month. They understand that it takes not just financial work to make the world better, but human energy, connection and empathy too. I saw this first hand when I traveled on a mission trip to Peru with Altar’d State. I was given the opportunity to meet the children that our stores sponsor and also visit some of the schools we built. When meeting some of the sponsor children, one little girl spoke to our group and her story really touched my heart. Milagro was able to attend school and dream of a future beyond her home town because we built her school and sponsored her tuition; moreover, she wanted to pay that sense of hope forward, so she frequently visited with an older woman in her town and kept her company. I made a point to keep in touch with Milagro, and just last year I was able to meet up with her when I went back to Peru to volunteer on my own. I learned that because of her education, Milagro was able to attend university and is currently working toward an international business degree. Seeing her growth showed me the difference my work makes and the impact it has not only my team, but the world as well. It gives me purpose and motivation to continue giving my all each and every day.
Since that first window, I have held every position at the store level. I was quickly promoted to Guest Lead, and then Assistant Manager, and then Store Leader, and I am now the Visual District Manager for the West Coast. Through Altar’d State, I have been able to travel from Seattle to Vegas to Nashville to Atlanta, helping open stores and teaching others everything I have learned about visuals from some of the best and most innovative creators in the business. I am now in the position to give back to the Store Leaders, Assistant Managers, Guest Leads and Brand Reps in the same way that others have given to me. In Altar’d State, I have found a purpose and a calling. I have found my home.