We had the good fortune of connecting with Shir-Ami Thompson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Shir-Ami, what role has risk played in your life or career?
Omg. I think that waking up every morning is a risk! Once you step out of your safe, warm, pillow filled bed; ANYTHING can happen! You don’t know if you’re going to have a good day, a bad day, or even see the next day! Everyday, you routinely step into the great unknown. You have built resilience and have learned to TRUST, as you venture through your day.
Risk taking has played a big role in my life! But during those times, I didn’t look at it from the perspective of risk taking. I looked at it from the perspective of following the deep urges of my heart, dreams and intuition. One of the biggest risks I EVER have taken was moving from Illinois to California to attend college! When I was 18 years old, I moved to Los Angeles to attend Otis College of Art and Design. It was LITERALLY my first time ever in California AND my first time ever seeing/being on the campus. I decided to attend my school sight unseen ( my parents couldn’t afford to take time off work and travel for a college tour! I had to make the choice for myself) . Was it scary? Absolutely. Was it all smooth sailing? Absolutely not. Did it all work out for my greater good in the end? Absolutely.
The same goes with the risk of leaving my well paying, desirable, full time job of 7 years to venture out on my own! It was a big risk to leave the finical stability that I was blessed to have for years; to leave a place that I could have stayed at forever due to connivence. The risk of leaving was out weighed by my heart and soul wanting more for myself! I reached the point where I knew it was ultimately best for me to leap, instead of staying on safe ground….simply because it was safe.
So… when do you leap v.s. stay on safe ground?
When I think about risks, I ask myself; is this something I WANT to do ( once I remove the fear) ? Is this risk going to help me align myself more with my dream? If the answer is yes, and I have the means to do so, I now support and encourage myself to do it.
I like to sit with myself and think about what moves, projects, ect I want to venture into. I usually get CRAZY ideas! Sometimes super fun crazy, and sometimes uncomfortable crazy. Both are great! I continue to sit with these thoughts and decide which actions are appropriate for me to take right now. Sometimes a risk is perfect to take right now, and other times a great risky idea is better saved for a later date. I try not to over think risks, and instead just think if this idea, project, venture, ect feels RIGHT for right now? IF i think I can pull it off, i go for it. If i feel that I still need time to nurture this concept, I take the needed time. I remind myself that in the mean time, I can take risks in little, less daunting ways, that aren’t dangerously out of my comfort zone, but in turn, helps me build comfort for bigger risks I take in the future.
With risk taking, what I have grown to understand and accept is that you won’t feel completely comfortable with everything you venture out to do. And that’s ok. Everything you’re doing right now, is helping you grow and expand into a bigger, bolder, freer person. Sometimes your best idea is literally the *scariest*. In the past I really didn’t think much about ‘risks’ or risk taking. I was just out to create and build! Now that I am further into my career, I think about risks more ( I WANT to take risks!!!); like how to promote and show myself in an authentic way, that as well, makes me stand out! What can I do today to get noticed for the right reasons? Showing your authentic safe is a risk! And it’s the top risk I’m committed to.
As an end note, I find risk taking easier and dare I say fun, when I put my trust in Spirit ( God, a higher power, ect). Spirit has helped me so much in navigating my life and career. Spirit has given me the strength to venture out into the unknown and dare to dream. Spirit has reminded me to trust myself. Thank you Spirit!
Breathing is a risk, but we do it, because we have to! Take risks that are meaningful for you!
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
S By S Valley Made is my clothing line/ fashion brand/ love letter to The Valley, Los Angeles and the *magic* that is California culture. I source all my fabrics, I make all my patterns, I cut all my fabric and I sew each design completely from start to finish. It’s a complete 360 Shir-Ami situation. Each design I make is a part of me, made for you to make your own! S By S specializes in high-end streetwear. I’m talking about everyday, wearable, fashion gems! Like hoodies (my specialty!) sweats, tees, dresses, shorts, skirts, etc. all made in comfortable, soft, supple fabrics. I design fashions for Babes and Dudes that are perfect for hitting the streets, crunching at the gym, or lounging on the couch. My fashions can transport you through the different phases of your day. My goal is to make clothing that doesn’t need much fuss, or styling in order to make it “work” when wearing. I live for pieces that you can throw on in the morning, run out the door ( because you’re running late, like me) and do whatever you need to do without wondering if you look fresh to death. I’m inspired by fashion elements from past decades, as well as what’s happening today. My vibe is always fresh, playful and chillax.
What I’m most proud of: Dressing beautiful people all the way from Los Angeles to Japan!!! Since my launch in 2016, I’ve been selling ready-to-wear pieces, and many made-to-order, bespoke designs ( designs based on a clients unique measurements) all across LA!
How Did I get here?: I always dreamed of fashion. I would draw dresses and sketch endlessly as a child. I learned how to sew in high school and after high school, I studied fashion design at Otis College of Art and Design! I worked various design jobs after that and in 2016 decided I really wanted to make my own dream true! I was ready to leave my mark, so I created S By S! A few years ago, I left my full time job to focus on my line and myself! It was a big moment and I’m so proud of myself for listening to myself. The process was blessed, but it wasn’t easy… I don’t think anything is “easy”. It was a lot of work. I say the biggest take away from my journey thus far is to honor yourself!! It’s so important. Listen to yourself, your feelings and your needs. Embrace the power and knowing that live inside you! You hold your power and no one else can write your story.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I LOVE hiking!! There are so many gorgeous hiking spots here in Los Angelos to venture and far in love with. I love hiking here because you get to experience nature, feel the radiant sun kiss your skin, AND you see the most gorgeous dogs!!! I say go hiking for your health, but stay for the dogs. My bestie, comedian Krista Moy, took me to Roy Rogers State Historic Park for the first time and it was soooo beautiful! We took some of the smaller, less traveled paths, and it honestly felt as if we discovered NARNIA! If i had family visiting, I would also take them to Griffith Park as well! It’s iconic and breath taking!!
Once i’m done hiking, I’m READY for some EATS!!!! And what is the best post hike meal? SUSHI!!!! Actually sushi is the best meal after anything. I love trying different sushi places here in the city, but I have a favorite spot in the Valley that i have so much love for. They have a combination plate that is to die for. And my recommendation is the baked salmon roll!
After sushi I’d go to Venice beach, dip my feet into the freezing water and meditate as the sun sets! I haven’t always been a beach person, but I love the beach now. My Bestie moved to a beach city this past year, so we have been spending a lot of time at the beach. Its very peaceful and grounding. Bring a blanket and watch the beautiful hues color the sky as the sun sets! Los Angelos is the best. Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Omg. I’d like to give a big shout out to Cassidy Park!!! I LOVE CASSIDY. Cassidy has been an angel in my life and I see her as a mentor. When I was working full time in toy design, Cassidy was my first boss. Cassidy was the perfect boss for a young person right out of school. She was kind, fun, nurturing and supportive. Thank you Cassidy for helping me set myself up for success!
Another shout out goes to my fabulous Mother; Carolyn Delphine Thompson. Carolyn has always supported my dreams from and early age. She allowed to me explore my interests freely, and everyday I feel thankful to have her in my life. She never told me I couldn’t do anything. She always told me I could do everything.
My final shout out goes to my amazing high school sewing teacher; Miss. Dierseen! Miss. Dierseen was so kind and supportive to me as I learned how to sew! She allowed me to work overtime on difficult projects and later, let me decide what projects I wanted to do! Miss. Dierseen was exactly what I needed in an instructor. Thank you Miss. Dierseen!!!