Stafani Milano’s Modeling Dreams Were Crushed So She Started Her Own Business
Brooklyn babe Stafani Milano is an inspiration for every girl who’s getting a fashion degree and has no clue what she’s going to do with it.
She’s been a creative director, fashion blogger, and now is the CEO of her own brand. She’s taken her love for fashion and turned it into a career, something most of us only dream of. Check out our interview with Stafani to see how you can do it too.
Why did you become a stylist and creative director for a clothing company?
Originally I started off as a print model. I thought modeling was going to be my career and suddenly that dream went down the drain due to my height. I’m only 5’5″. The type of work I wanted to get was runway bookings, and realistically runway models are 5’8″ and up, so I just knew modeling wasn’t it for me in the long run.
After that realization, I knew I wanted to remain in fashion, but it was hard for me to find what area I wanted to work in because fashion is so broad. I was an assistant buyer for some time and it was a great job. I loved the fact that my desk was full of samples every morning and I had the chance to pick pieces for the store.
Styling came naturally for me because I dressed my friends and family all the time. It was a smooth transition. When it comes to my clothing company, I felt like I always had a vision of how I would like to see women dress and what better way to show that by starting my own online store.
What represents your personal style and what are your favorite pieces to wear?
I can’t really define my style because it changes based on my mood on a day to day basis. Sometimes I wake up and want to look girly, but the next day I may wake up feeling like I want to go for the tomboy chic. I’m a daredevil. I feel like you don’t know what look to expect when I post and that’s the beauty of my page. My style is always changing. My favorite pieces are blazers, joggers, and I love a perfect slouchy t-shirt
What tips do you have for entrepreneurs looking to make their brand stand out?
Turn yourself into your brand. Your brand should represent who you are as a person. It should be your reflection. Before you leave your house, ask yourself, “do I represent my brand to the best of my ability?” If your answer is yes, you are on the right track, but if your answer is no, why would people want to support something you don’t look like you are sure of? If you don’t stand out, it will be hard for your brand to stand out. Now, if you are one of the behind the scenes type of people and don’t like the attention, then hire someone that is going to represent your brand the way you want it to be represented.
What is your favorite product you sell and why?
My favorite product that I sell are dashikis. To be honest with you, when I took a chance on wearing them years ago, I had no idea it was going to be such a “hit” in the fashion world. Dashikis sort of became one of my signature looks from all the reposting to websites using my images dressed in dashikis. I specifically love selling dashikis because everyone can wear them for different purposes. Some people wear it for culture purposes, and then you have people like me that wear them for fashion purposes and to make a statement.
What are the most important factors in creating a clothing line?
Quality, branding, and having a really great photographer to capture the beauty of the pieces.
What are some business goals you set for yourself?
I would love to open up a fashion school in Haiti. I also would like to open up a few clothing stores between NYC & LA, and start a styling company as well as a fashion magazine.
From starting your business and being where you are now, what are some things you would have done differently?
I would have protected my brand more. I feel like so many companies big and small made profit using my photos to sell their product. I work really hard. Some people have this perception that it’s all about taking photos everyday, but it’s a full time job, so when I see people consistently stealing my work, I wish I researched the legal aspect of the business before I started.
What do you want your supporters to take from this interview?
I wouldn’t have been doing this interview if it wasn’t for them. Set goals, aim high & go after them. Nothing is impossible when you have faith.