A Girl You Might Know foundation
At 25 years old, I was offered my dream job of becoming a head designer alongside a long-term employment agreement. I did what I thought was right, agreed to the corporation’s terms and signed without seeking legal advice. I thought assigning the company the rights to use my name as a trademark for the bridal collection I was designing was reasonable. I was wrong.
Over the course of nearly a decade, I successfully launched thousands of gowns to market and appeared on the fabulous TV show "Say Yes to the Dress." However, during my work as head designer, I took on additional responsibilities that I felt went beyond the scope of my employment role. As my contract approached its end date in 2019, I sought to negotiate as I believed that my contributions had exceeded the terms of my original contract, and new circumstances that did not exist at the time of signing needed to be taken into account.
I was left with limited rights and freedoms, which led to a traumatic negotiation process. Eventually, the company filed a lawsuit against me in federal court regarding my name and ownership of what I believed were my personal social media accounts. In December of 2020, I resigned from my position.
It’s been more than two years, I'm still in litigation, and I've exhausted my entire net worth in the process. As per the current court ruling, I'm not allowed to use my birth name in any business or commercial activity. Moreover, I'm not receiving any commission for my designs that are still being marketed and sold. Additionally, I'm prohibited from identifying myself as a designer in the same trade as my former employer until August of 2027. Unfortunately, this is a scenario that happens all too often.
In effort to move forward, I have changed my name publicly to Cheval, started a new instagram, and embarked on a new trade in women’s shoes.
Although my story may come as a shock to many, I’m more determined than ever to allow my story and experiences to serve other young females and creatives at the beginning of their careers. My hope is to be a catalyst for change in contract law, corporate responsibility, and legislation, and to become an advocate for every girl you might know… because I am a girl you might know.
After years of fighting for my rights and exploring an entirely new trade, I finally launched A GIRL YOU MIGHT KNOW FOUNDATION. As an approved 501 (c) (3), our mission is to be a guiding light for young creators, designers, artists, influencers, and entrepreneurs and to protect their rights by sharing knowledge and experience about the contracting process and our rights under the law. We’re working with an incredible group of advocates and advisors to provide awareness about the potential dangers of non-compete clauses, the risks associated with vague or predatorial contract language, and the importance of implementing thoughtful legislation when it comes to social media presence. We will provide access to affordable or pro bono legal services, negotiation curriculum and training, education on relevant case law, and experience-based content. We believe that by equipping young women and creatives with the necessary legal knowledge, we can help level the playing field when it comes to negotiating with potential business partners, investors, or employers.
We believe that going after your biggest dreams should not come at the expense of your rights, your ethics, your morals, or your name.
Visit agirlyoumightknowfoundation.org for more information on our curriculum, events, and resources. We have also just opened the application process on our very first financial grant which will be awarded to a youth creative in 2023.
Donate to: A Girl You Might Know Foundation
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