We had the good fortune of connecting with Stacey Rodriguez and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Stacey, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
A long one. I’ll try to answer without writing an entire novel..

The thought was RELENTLESS in my mind, no matter my course in college, no matter the low paying and high paying jobs I had. The seed had been planted in me in my youth and I couldn’t stir it away. I fell in love with the thought of being my own boss after discovering more about myself and how I function best. It may sound cliche, but I knew what I DIDN’T want to do, and that helped me discover what I was meant to do. I was inspired by all the people in my community I’ve looked up to since I was a child. All the women who have “made it” with much less than what I had. All my resources were at my fingertips. I didn’t give myself reason for excuses. It was go-time, and I realized it a few months into the COVID-19 pandemic. I feel very lucky that I decided to act on my dream at the age of 22 instead of 42. When you know, you know, and there’s no reason to wait on anything or anyone else for it.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I am extremely proud to say that I have created my clothing company from complete scratch, all by myself. It is the most difficult part, yet the most satisfying for me to know. I am nowhere near where I want to be, and I wouldn’t say I have “made it” quite yet, but to see how far along I’ve come from the first day I announced I was opening up an online store, makes me so proud of myself. My business is what I imagine having a baby is like (semi-joking). I have to attend to it 24/7, sacrifice many “fun nights out”, nurture it, and teach myself what there is to know “raising” it. I wholeheartedly believe that what you put in is what you will get. You reap what you sew type of thing. Nonetheless, I am excited to see where my company and I will be a year from now, and I can only imagine all the tears and smiles that are yet to come. It can be very discouraging putting your all into something you’re still learning how to navigate through, and I know being self-employed isn’t for everyone. I don’t have all the answers or secret tips to the “success” but I am willing to learn whatever it takes to get me there. I am committed to doing what I love and I’ll stand behind that forever, though and through.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
DID SOMEONE SAY ITINERARY? You’re speaking my language. I am THE person to go to if you want to make the MOST out of a trip somewhere. My “relaxed” friends don’t like it so much, haha. I’m from the San Fernando Valley in LA, so we’re near everything. If we got a week to kill, we’re doing it all. We’d probably start everyday with a beautiful hike, (I’m gonna go ahead and assume this best friend loves everything I love). Some of my favorite locations would be the famous Runyon Canyon, Veteran’s Park in Sylmar, Griffith Park in Glendale, and Fryman Canyon in Studio City. We’d bring along the doggos, of course. After that, we’re for sure hitting Nat’s Early Bite Coffee Shop in Sherman Oaks. It’s my favorite little mom and pop breakfast joint in the area. The BEST tater tots. We’d take a stroll down PCH and stop at Dockweiler Beach, tan together, and throw a bonfire. Invite some buddies, share some drinks over stories, and call it a night. I’m usually a homebody who finds myself too tired for a night out dancing or at the club, so when I do go out, it tends to be on the more intimate, chill level.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Shoutout first and foremost to God for having my back every single day, all day. The only person who sees EVERYTHING it takes, all the hard work, the grit, the ugly, so that I could be blessed with the happy and the reward, the beauty. I’m forever grateful that I’m never alone. I also thank my parents. It was hard for them to accept I wasn’t going to follow through with college at first, but the way they have supported and believed in me since day 1, will never be forgotten. They never discouraged me. They never doubted that I couldn’t do it. They did have many questions, haha, but I’ve always tried my best to get my family to understand why it was I chose to go this route! It’s normal for those that love you to fear you fail. They only want the best for you. Sometimes that means they’d rather see you in a conventional 9-5 if it means you have security, but it’s not about them, is it? I fear I’ll fail all the time. And I do, and I will, if I choose to see it that way. It’s apart of the process, and if you’re not “failing”, you’re not learning. If you’re not learning, wyd…? Special shoutout to my mom, who never forgets to pray for me and my wellbeing and business every single night, even when I do! I love you!

Website: www.shopmelrod.com

Instagram: instagram.com/staceymelrod

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