Dear Preston: Can I Be “Myself” and Still Be Successful?


Dear Preston:

I have a very big concern. I am new to this business and have always been called a little “quirky” by those I know and love.  I am getting a lot of advice to conform to more standard “dress” and practices now that I am starting my own business, but I just won’t feel comfortable. I want your opinion on this matter. Do I need to conform while I am trying to make it and then change back when I do? Can’t I be myself and find success as a designer?


Dear Suffocated:

Boy, did you ever write the right person on this topic. Have you seen my designs? Heard my speeches? If there is one thing you will get, it’s a whole lot of Preston, flaws and all, which is great for those who accept and appreciate me for who I am, but not so much for those who don’t (and there are plenty of them).

Guess what? I would not have it any other way.

We are professionals with a unique vision, Suffocated, and if we all “conformed” we would offer clients nothing more than a stagnant industry full of frustrated artists who felt stifled and unable to express themselves.  I say that while we must present our clients with our best selves, they should meet the person we truly are and be presented with the best possible work we can give them. Being who you really and truly are is never a setback, but a great gift one can give themselves and it’s quite liberating to with your soul, words, vision and values in-sync.

Perhaps I am a bit naive on this topic, but I truly believe that being authentic brings the right clients to us and they are the ones who love our work and make it all worthwhile.

Readers, please share your own thoughts on this topic? Do you feel pressured to “conform” to gain success?



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