The Success Story I Wasn’t Expecting


Three years ago, I left a secure job in finance to launch an e-commerce platform. Leaving the security blanket and the false sense of control behind, I followed a road with no yellow bricks guiding me. Becoming an entrepreneur was the greatest risk I had ever taken. In so many challenging ways, it was also the most rewarding. It was an adrenaline-charged experience that started a lasting affair with the world of creating, executing and launching.

Until, after three years of fundraising, planning, scheduling, traveling, launching, laughing and crying, I had to cease company operations. I had officially lost my own venture.

Suddenly, I didn’t feel so creative anymore. I was afraid of risk. And ultimately, I was embarrassed to have failed at something I put so much of myself into building. However, I since realized that I did win my own kind of victory. There are so many things I never would have learned if I hadn’t been a so-called failure. They are as follows:

Don’t Let Failure Bring You Down

Keep your perceptions positive. For example, I remember when I first moved to New York and I was living in an apartment right by Ground Zero. I said to a friend, “It’s really not that great living at the end tip of Manhattan.” My friend responded quickly with, “But it’s pretty cool to be living where Manhattan starts.”

Sometimes our perceptions about ourselves can cause us a great deal of stress and anxiety. After closing my company, my support system constantly reinforced everything we had accomplished and learned. I remember zoning out of such conversations to tell myself a different story: that I had failed. Changing my perception about how I viewed the experience and circumstance has allowed me to successfully launch my second venture.

Don’t ever let failure bring you down. Face the stress, perceive your circumstances from a positive standpoint, and always use your support system.


Find Your Passion

My life and priorities changed significantly again after I met my husband. We bought an apartment, moved in together and got married. I had always wanted to get married and start a family, but I had assumed that the pioneering, fabulous, impressive career part would have been right next to me for the ride. It wasn’t.

I was, however, fortunate enough to be able to take this time to deliberate, contemplate, and meditate (you name it, I did it) on the thousands of self-inflicted questions that followed my company’s failure. I didn’t see myself going back to the corporate world, working 80 hours a week. I wanted a career that inspired and fueled me, and I wanted to be around for my husband and someday, my children.

Take the time to find your passion. Learn. We all have one — it just takes time to nurture and manifest it. Disconnect in order to re-connect in influential ways. When you are passionate, you become an expert. When you are an expert, you become a master. Passion gives you such a powerful voice — a tool nobody can take away from you.

Follow Your Intuition

Listen to that little voice inside of you. Be receptive — it is almost always right. I believe the greatest and most powerful gift we have as women is intuition. Take time to contemplate and reflect the things around you. My little voice was a guiding compass, and I wish I had listened to it much more.

Recognize the Power of You

We are all given storms to walk through. The harder things get, the stronger and smarter we become. We can’t control everything that gets thrown our way, but we can control our reactions. We have the ability to fall in love, become supportive spouses, bear and raise children and build brands. The power of you can create, execute, push, persevere, and succeed in situations you never thought imaginable.

Entrepreneurship is a career path that allows you to create your own world. I am now creating mine for a second time. It is hard work, yet the most rewarding of its kind. This time around, I am doing it as a wife and hopefully one day, a mother.

You can have it all — sometimes just not all at once. Empires take time.



Michelle Waugh is the co-founder of One Moon, a luxury cashmere brand with elegance at its core and philanthropy at its heart. The pieces are all 100% made in the USA. One Moon takes pride in the fact that they are a socially driven company with a mission to help those in need while raising awareness for social causes. The company re-invests a percentage of its earnings to help women and children across the country.

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