August 2013, in Las Vegas, Nevada at the WWDMAGIC Trade show, the KD Signature Line was debuted amidst thousands of exhibitors. A kind woman approached my booth and inquired about each product in my line. She listened intently as I went over the inspiration and philosophy behind each piece of my unique story telling jewelry. After forty five minutes I was sure I must have exhausted her patience and overloaded her with information, but to my delight she was intrigued and smiled. She asked if I’d ship internationally and I said I would be honored. Next, she officially introduced herself; she was the CEO of National Geographic Retail international stores. Tears welled up in my eyes, I stood shaking in disbelief. Since childhood, I wildly imagined working with National Geographic! I admired everything about their prestigious company; known for their education, documentation and passion for our beautiful planet, I imagined myself aiding in their service mission. Honestly, I couldn’t believe my lifelong dream was coming true!
Adventure and excitement lingered in the air the first chilly night I walked down the streets of Madrid, Spain. Finally I found it! The National Geographic flagship store stood with grandeur before me. Suddenly the painstaking task of carrying hundreds of pounds of beads through airport concourses, alone, was now behind me. The drama of my flights emergency landing in Russia was now of no importance. I overcame the numerous delays and frustrating obstacles. I had finally arrived and I was excited!
My thirty third birthday was truly a monumental day in my personal history! Each time I placed my own heart felt art form upon the jewelry displays, chills ran through my body. Years of behind the scenes hard work intertwined with lofty daydreams had manifested into a beautiful reality I could have never imagined. My jewelry, made with passion to heal and help, sat along side National Geographic books with iconic images I reveled at since childhood. This surreal moment in time will never be forgotten. Miracles do come true.
Children giggled and chatted as they entered the auditorium. Nervous but well prepared I stood at the front of the theater. My conversational Spanish skills are poor at best and yet I was about to conduct a “HOW TO” seminar teaching twenty children and their parents how to make bracelets. There I was standing in the same place that Jane Goodall and Jaques Cousteau lectured. Was this really happening? Why me?
My huge goofy smile and over animated hand gestures substituted for my weak verbal communication. With the help of my kindhearted translators we told the story to the 50 person audience how I swam with dolphins, fish and sharks ALL the way from California to teach a special jewelry making lesson just for them that morning. Needless to say, I was exhausted from all that swimming and that was why I couldn’t talk very much. The children and adults relaxed and laughed at our zany make believe story to camouflage my lack of Spanish fluency.
I went on to conduct three separate workshops for National Geographic; two seminars in Madrid and one in London. The magnificent memories I have from those events will never be forgotten. Teaching children and adults about the beauty of their own uniqueness, potential to change the world through love, all while constructing healing gemstone jewelry is a journey I feel blessed to be on. My heart overflows with gratitude to National Geographic for giving me the opportunity to be a part of their inspiring international brand.