My Best Advice for Graduates: Never Give Up!

I was honored to speak at the Art Institute of Houston graduation ceremony. My best piece of advice for the students, a spin on the classic Never Give Up.

I decided I was going to be in Architectural Digest. I couldn’t imagine how I was ever going to make that happen, at the time I was still selling vacuum cleaners door-to-door (a great lesson in rejection). I decided the best place to start was at the top. I was going to meet Paige Rense, then Editor-in-Chief of Architectural Digest. I wrote her letters and called her office asking for a meeting whenever I was in New York City. On my 14th phone call, the one I thought about not making, her secretary said why don’t you come over. Our conversation was short but memorable:

PR: “Did you bring something to show me?”

BS: “No I just wanted to meet you.”

PR: “Well bring something to show me next time.”

BS: “There’s going to be a next time?”

I never gave up and eventually found my way onto the AD 100.