I was inspired to create this fine artisan jewelry collection by my 11 year old chocolate Labrador Retriever, Feisty Tiger Sloane Van Der Muffin. Tiger's place of prominence within our family was eternally etched before ever laying eyes on him. Bred by Coppertone Labradors in Ocala Florida, our perfectly pudgy, massive-pawed bundle of love took his first airplane trip at just 8 weeks old.
He had little difficulty adjusting to his new life and home. He affectionately ruled our roost, was surrounded by the beauty of the Hamptons and enjoyed frequent field trips to picturesque ocean and bay beaches and world-class golf courses.
Weekends were always spent with my best pal, the career I adored was two hours away in Manhattan. A financial technology corporate executive, Sundays were always met with sadness because it meant leaving Tiger for the week. Although I would have moved mountains to have Tiger with me, professional life demanded my full attention and consequently far too many hours in the office.
With each ‘goodbye’ harder than the last, I ambitiously spent the next few years focused on my career and climbing the 'corporate ladder'. Eventually, weeks that led to months and then years of twelve hour days and countless nights at the office coupled with the stressful nature of the financial services industry took its toll. My next professional endeavor uncertain, I rather humbly decided to trade my demanding professional life for one of rest and rejuvenation in the Hamptons with my family and my best pal, Tiger.
Leaving behind the luxuries executive life in the ‘big city’ afforded the opportunity to pave a new path of clarity and perspective. This, in addition to Tiger’s unconditional love and unwavering support made ‘closing’ the next deal or being awarded the next promotion so much less significant in the grander plan that was unfolding before me. Clearing away the ‘corporate chaos’ yielded space for new insights, and I began to more fully appreciate the abundance of gifts with which I’d been blessed.
The following period of personal reflection revealed what was truly most important in life while also unearthing the essence of happiness in its purest form - both previously overshadowed by the ever-increasing ‘noise’ that had formerly consumed all aspects of my life. I now cherished the simplest of life lessons learned from my best pal, Tiger and will forever value his teachings greater than the world’s most expensive gem.
Devoid of Tiger’s influence, I doubt I would ever have found the courage to explore and pursue my creative passion, and Van Der Muffin’s Jewels would forever remain just a ‘twinkle’ in the eyes of my unconditionally loving, wise-beyond-words, brown dog. For all of these reasons and countless more, I am forever grateful to Tiger, my Chief Creative Inspiration and forever best friend.
Enlightened, I now strive to become my best self by living a more abundant life – one that not only emphasizes, but also prioritizes kindness and compassion. I’ve developed profound respect for the clarity and perspective that can be gained by simply slowing down, reducing the ‘noise’ and taking a moment to enjoy the little things….like the exuberance Tiger conveys with each wag and wiggle and its ability to evoke ‘joy’ in its purest essence.
With my newfound commitment to living my life with gratitude, kindness and compassion, comes an acceptance that it’s likely going to take a bit longer to reach the top of the corporate ladder than I previously anticipated. I find it a fortunate coincidence that I’m no longer in any hurry. I’m ready to experience the journey that lies ahead and welcome life’s lessons along the way. In doing so, I am beyond confident that the ‘view from the top’ is going to be a million times sweeter once I arrive!