Design Your Own Path – Unlock Your Fashionista

When you listen to Maria De Rosa Cuscuna, you quickly realize that she is a creative artist who marches to the beat of a different drum. She refuses to settle for the status quo or live in the spotlight of anyone else. Her passion for fashion, quality paper, design, and all things happy/joyful merged to create her company Papier Fashionista. Maria’s Montreal-based entrepreneurial childhood dream was to be a Fashion Designer. She grew in the industry for over 12 years by working her way up from assistant designer all the way to designer. After giving 110% to a company, she decided to part ways when she gave birth to her son with husband Gino. This amazing experience of giving life to another human being and being married to a brilliant husband who runs a successful company inspired her to create the next chapter of her life.

Today, Maria works with 80-100 clients per year to brand the most important events in their lives. Through designing invitations for weddings, births, business events and much more, her work is unique, personal, and memorable. Most importantly, she chooses to work with happy and fun people. As a soft rock music lover, her cool video says it all, and you will see why people like to connect with her spirit.

I asked the Papier Fashionista to share the greatest lessons that she has learned in the last five years of running her business, and she said the following:

  • Stop Selling and Start Listening – Maria is committed to designing on paper the hopes, dreams, and wishes of her customers. She asks questions and then really focuses on creating what the customers truly want instead of what she wants to sell them. In a noisy world overwhelmed with information and many options, she points out that the same letters that spell the word listen spell the word silent. And when she really dials into the frequency of her customers, she transfers onto paper what resonates with them at the most critical moment of the conversation: where imagination+creativity+design come together.
  • Be Uber-Responsive – Maria believes that customers want to work with someone who responds quickly and professionally. Her hallmark of excellence is summed up with this statement: “The fortune is in the follow-up.” Maria realizes that she is not the cheapest vendor in the market, but she is the fastest to deliver a first-class product that her customers love.
  • Balance is a Joke – As a wife, mother, and business owner, Maria has learned firsthand that juggling all three roles is challenging, but it also brings her complete joy. She discovered a long time ago to stop judging or complaining about the various hats she has to wear and just embrace them. She says she is fortunate to have her husband’s 100% support. He understands that flexibility is imperative in any relationship that stands the test of time. (Men: take note.) Maria finds a way to be effective in all three roles by infusing them with a spirit of joy, happiness, and no complaining. As an artist, that makes her more effective for the customers that she serves.

Maria then shared with me the one piece of advice she would give to anyone who wants to design their own path. Simply put: NEVER, EVER--GIVE UP ON YOURSELF.

The moment you give up on yourself, you experience death by one thousand cuts. Every setback is a cut. Every piece of business you lose is another cut. Someone cancels your contract--it’s just one more cut.

Pretty soon, your paper dream is cut, nicked, smeared and about to be crumpled and thrown in the trash can. Take that piece of paper (or as they say in French, papier) and smooth it out. Find your best Mont Blanc felt tip pen and dip it into the ink of a new reality. Write down what you want.

Why? Because what you want...wants you!