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Community Highlights: Meet Dalila Copeland of Leaf & Riley and Create New Patterns

Today we’d like to introduce you to Dalila Copeland.

Hi Dalila, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today?
I was born and partially raised in Mexico, but my mom brought me to the US when I was about five. I didn’t know it at the time, but I crossed over illegally which made growing up in the US that much harder. Not to mention, I didn’t really know how to speak English well until I was about ten years old—which complicated everything. Part of me refused to learn it because it was just too hard to keep up with. Back then, the ESL (English as a Second Language) programs were non-existent and everything from homework to friendships to simply being a kid was a million times harder. My dad wasn’t in the picture so I felt even lonelier.

In middle school, I really got into art. I liked drawing but loved painting and I was pretty good at it. So much so that my mom was approached by the school’s art program to help further develop my skills. They helped me have my first little museum exhibition and I even made it in the local newspapers! My mom was so ecstatic and I was too! I loved being part of that program and it became the reason I got up every morning happy to go to school.

High school wasn’t any easier for me—I barely graduated. Between having to help my mom pay the bills and juggling high school, I honestly didn’t have much motivation left. My father wasn’t in my life and my mom was so busy surviving living below the poverty level that I was left to my own devices. Immediately after high school, I got married to my amazing hubby. My new life with my husband wasn’t as smooth sailing as I thought it was going to be. We honestly had no idea what we were doing and it was tough. To add to all the hardship, he joined the Marine Corp and left to Iraq for about seven months. We were stationed in Arizona and life there was not easy. We were young, broke, in debt, and alone. I remember a time we talked about how we could live in our car and get a gym membership to take showers because it felt like that’s all we could afford. It never happened, thank goodness, but we did have to get our food from the local food bank for a while. Of course, it wasn’t all sad times—there were many good and funny moments, but those years were definitely not easy.

A couple of years later, I was back at school at my local community college in Washington state studying graphic design at age 24. Graduating with my AA seemed like an impossible feat, especially because I was the first in my family to do so. Paying my own way through college with loans and small grants here and there was so daunting, but I was up for the challenge. Luckily, I had some awesome people and my hubby along the way cheering me on. Surprisingly, I got my AA, BFA and ended up being accepted into grad school—something I never thought I would or could do.

After a year in grad school, I decided to trade my last year there for some real-world experience. Since then, I’ve had a lot of awesome jobs and have worked on some pretty cool brands as a designer: Amazon, Sparkling Ice, Seattle Seahawks, Susan G. Komen, Himalayan Waters, Microsoft, Xbox, Azure, PlayFab, Game Stack, xCloud, and I’m currently at Minecraft as a contract graphic designer. I originally commuted to work when I used to live in the Seattle area, but I’ve recently moved to Huntington Beach, California and I absolutely love it here!

I’ve never been the sort of person who wanted to own a business, let alone podcast and put myself out there, but I’ve always had that feeling of ‘there’s gotta be more to life than this’. So, one day I realized there was. For me, that ‘more to life’ was surprisingly as simple as slowing down, being present, staying positive, and escaping the rat race. I didn’t want to wait for something bad to happen to me in order to start doing the things I love with the people I love. As soon as I had that realization, I decided that I was going to start my own clothing brand business as a way to return to my childhood passion—art. Not only do I get to personally design a lot of the patterns on the clothes we sell, but I also get to express my creativity all around.

As a result of that realization, my clothing brand Leaf & Riley’s fundamental beliefs are exactly that: slowing down, being present, and creating new positive patterns in our lives. And as you probably guessed it, it’s why the podcast is named: Create New Patterns. The podcast is all about motivating and pushing people to create positive patterns in their lives to overcome the not-so-positive things in life.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
Definitely not smooth. I used to live by these ‘stories’ I’d make up in my mind about nothing ever lining up because it never did, or at least it never felt like it did. Things just always seemed harder for me. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I decided to let go of my ‘victim’ mentality in exchange for a more positive one.

As a business owner and now podcaster, there are a lot of things I have to figure out on my own, but that’s probably the reason I’ve learned to be successful. However, the biggest obstacles are really the ones inside my head—my thoughts, the way I speak to myself, and what I envision for my future. I’ve noticed that if my mind isn’t right and I don’t believe it for myself, it’s usually what causes all my failure. I’ve had a lot of hardship growing up so forcing my mind to accept that I’m worth having success is definitely my hardest obstacle to overcome.

Aside from the emotional side of things, running a clothing brand and a podcast has been a big learning curve for me. I’m talking down to the smallest things like forgetting to make the website public after launching or adding a shipping option for customers—who knew! I simply don’t know what I have to do until I’ve messed up and realized I needed to do that. A lot of the time, I don’t know who to turn to or ask for help so it can be maddening trying to figure out stuff on my own. It’s funny and frustrating all at the same time, but I’ve learned to keep moving forward, staying positive, and enjoying the ride.

Appreciate you sharing that. What should we know about Leaf & Riley and Create New Patterns?
Leaf & Riley is a clothing brand that focuses on connecting with people who believe in presence, letting go, positivity, freedom from conditioning, personal evolution, community, and friendship. The culture and lifestyle of the brand is centered around having a healthy balance in life. Each pattern design mainly focuses on showing some type of evolution. For example, if the pattern has a type of plant or flower, then we try to subtly illustrate every growth stage to reinforce our belief in the importance of personal evolution.

The Create New Patterns podcast focuses on the same values. Each episode discusses key topics that my husband and I have found important in our 20-year journey together. We talk about experiences we’ve had along the way and steps you can take to overcome the not-so-positive things in life.

What really sets both brands apart from others is our strong message—whether it be through an Instagram post, our websites, or listening to an episode, you’ll walk away encouraged, motivated, and with a positive outlook on life.

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Aaron Copeland

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