We had the good fortune of connecting with Stacy Johnson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Stacy, how has your work-life balance changed over time?
When I first started my business, Stacia, twenty years ago, there was very little work life balance. I lived and breathed my fashion business 24/7 trying to get it off the ground. Every February I would travel from NYC to Hawaii to recharge my batteries for 2 weeks. After 6 years running my own boutique and factory, I was definitely burnt out from working so much and just had a baby, both of which triggered my husband and I to drop everything and move to sunny California for a beach lifestyle. I basically had to start my business over once I got here, but being able to spend time out on the water surfing, I was able to clear my head and change my business plan pretty quickly. For ten years I shifted my focus from retail to wholesale and ran a successful knitwear business selling to over 300 stores nationwide. But once again, I found myself working non-stop and forgetting to get outside! Finally, in 2015 I decided to take a much needed pause and scale back my business and focus on work life balance again. Now, I’m designing and producing small batch products on my own terms, allowing me more time in the ocean to surf and more time with my family.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
Even after twenty years in business, Stacia is still a small and nimble company. We’ve been able to ride the roller coaster of the fashion industry and survive the ups and downs of the market over the years. Whether it’s shifting to wholesale, taking the business online, or bringing production back to the US, these decisions can happen on a dime because we are so small. I also love being my own boss, pursuing my own passions, and flexing my creativity with my Stacia clothing line. I continue to focus on small batch production of my designs inspired by the ocean and my beach lifestyle, which are sold online at shopstacia.com. I created a signature scent for Stacia called Bungalow, which is handmade in California with all natural oils of bamboo, fig, and coconut. The smell will remind you of your favorite tropical beach vacation. I also designed a wet/dry beach bag out of a personal need for the perfect light-weight travel bag that can hold a wetsuit, beach towels, and kid’s ocean gear. Many of my designs are inspired by things that I need or want, but have not found in the market. I love to problem solve and figure out the patterns, materials, and functionality of my designs. I’m always trying to find new inspiration, and to share my passion for fashion with the next generation of designers. That’s the theme behind my illustrated children’s fashion book, “Mabel the Fashion Muse,” which will be published on September 30th. Mabel was my trusty dress form during my college days at Parson’s School of Design. The chatty, animated dress form takes the reader behind the scenes in a day in the life of a fashion designer. Loosely based on my own experiences in NYC starting out as a designer, my goal is to inspire future designers, specifically girls, to consider fashion as a career and present to them the possibilities of female entrepreneurship. With the book and my online fashion portal, mabelthefashionmuse.com, I hope to encourage young girls to have their own fashion business someday by sharing with them my own journey to fashion entrepreneurship.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
One word, MALIBU. I always take my visiting besties to the ‘Bu. Driving up the PCH to Malibu in itself is a treat for anyone outside of LA. First stop, Traveler Surf Club across from the Malibu Pier. I’m a member at this fun little surf club where I keep my long board stored. With lockers, changing rooms, a clean restroom, and a warm outdoor shower, it’s the perfect spot to introduce a friend to the beautiful, but chilly Pacific ocean. Next, we’d walk our boards across the street to the right of the Malibu Pier and paddle out to the line up at First Point. All levels are welcome on this gentle wave, but it’s also fun to just float on your board and watch the pros slide on down the line toeing the nose. After a hot outdoor shower at Traveler and a quick change, we’d head back across the street to Malibu Farm on the Malibu Pier. On the deck, we’d enjoy rosé slushies and some cauliflower pizza while watching the sun go down on another beautiful day in paradise.
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?
I am constantly inspired by other female entrepreneurs out there hustling and supporting each other. From day one, my girlfriends have had my back. Shout out to my life-long friend and artist Ria Ray (https://riaray.com). Back in the ’90’s when I worked for J. Crew in NYC, she used to sell me wholesale fabrics and we became fast friends. When I leaped out on my own with Stacia and opened my first boutique, she was there rooting for me. I even made her custom wedding dress! When she moved to California with her family, we soon followed. With us both starting over in California and launching businesses, we supported each other with pep talks and showing up for each other’s events. When your entrepreneurial journey is a long and winding road, it helps to have a friend who just gets you, and knows where you’ve been and pushes you to where you still need to go.
Website: https://shopstacia.com, https://mabelthefashionmuse.com
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/shopstacia/, https://www.instagram.com/mabelthefashionmuse/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/shopstacia/, https://www.facebook.com/mabelthefashionmuse/
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC8wZ6WjdvLsOcpmoHsS0fvg, https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCYeAlmwqQCtK_gHvZo18g9g?view_as=subscriber
Stacia products: Carmel Samiri; Bio pictures (of Stacy): Peter Viles