Client Profile: StarAndia Johnson
A client who values community and works to support those around her.
StarAndia Johnson has a vision for her brand and she is making that vision known as she paves her way in the fashion world. During her undergrad, StarAndia discovered her passion for the fabric dyeing process. Now as a graduate of Kent State, she is using what she learned to fulfill her mission of creativity with sustainable fashion by using produce to create unique pieces. We had the pleasure of sitting down with StarAndia and learning more about how she got started, her wise words to other entrepreneurs, her upcoming business plans, and why she would most definitely be a unicorn.
5 Things You Need to Know About StarAndia:
Founder of StarAndia J. This company creates beautiful and unique garments while remaining slow fashion and leaving a positive footprint on the environment in the process
Pays it forward by educating creators and consumers on ways to make the fashion industry more environmentally friendly
Graduated from Kent State with a Bachelor's in Fashion Design
Is a Fashion Stylist at Stitch Fix while pursuing her business
A very bright, thoughtful person that makes a positive impact on those around her and strives to make a bigger impact on the world
How would you describe yourself in three words?
Bold, colorful, and caring.
Can you share some background on how your entrepreneurial journey started and where you are now?
I got started by naturally loving to design clothes and exploring how to dye and manipulate fabrics. I started taking textiles classes to learn more about the dye processes and found my way into a natural dyes class. I enjoyed taking parts of food that would usually get tossed out and turning them into dye that could be used on fabric. The business is going great and I'm loving all of the sampling I get to do to create one-of-a-kind pieces. I’m actually planning on having a re-launch later this month and introducing some new dyes to create more items.
Why is this business important to you? How and why did you leverage your passion into a business?
My business is important to me because not only is it a way for me to express myself, my values, and my style, but it is also a way for me to connect to the world and encourage others to be uniquely them and accept their "flaws" because it is what makes them one-of-a-kind. I have always been passionate about fashion, and learning about dye processes and natural dyeing along the way really pushed me to go forward and start my business. I felt that my passion was already there for designing clothes and that I had this new found joy of creating clothes that could truly be one-of-a-kind by using natural dyes to create intricate designs on fabric. I wanted to share that joy and show others what a slow fashion small business can do!
Is there anything you would do differently?
I would’ve started sooner! I was scared and thought people may not be interested, but it was the exact opposite – and people were especially interested in the process of making the pieces.
What’s the most valuable thing you learned along your journey?
To just get out there, network, and use your resources. For example, Black Women Bosses was a huge stepping stone for me because it helped me build a close network and earn funding for the business, which at that point I had none.
What advice would you give to students pursuing an idea?
To find a community of people, even just 1-2 others, who have a similar idea or venture as yours and use that as a support group. I’ve found it really helpful as a place to share resources, educate each other, and be there for each other.
How do you balance work and your business?
I’m lucky that my current job allows me to have more time for my business, but in general I like to prioritize and make sure I’m setting aside time to pursue that and my other passions.
What is one of your proudest student and/or career moments?
I would say getting into textiles and learning how to weave and knit. Because of that, I had my work displayed in an art gallery…it was crazy but very exciting seeing that become a reality.
How would you describe the entrepreneurial mindset?
I think to have an entrepreneurial mindset you need to be open but strong willed. Open to new ideas, learning new things, and understanding that things can go wrong. Strong willed in who you are, what your values are, and what you stand for.
What role has LaunchNET and Black Women Bosses played in your life/venture?
They helped me find a good core group of women. We can really lean on each other and uplift and encourage each other throughout the process. They’ve also been great for defining my business, figuring out what I stand for, and relaying that to the customer.
What’s something that makes you happy?
Shopping. Even just window shopping is fun. I also like crafting: sewing, knitting, painting – I enjoy creating.
What's a podcast you're listening to right now?
Small Doses with Amanda Seales. It’s basically about being a boss woman and taking up space where you deserve it. It’s very inspirational to me.
Do you have a life motto that you follow?
Do what makes you happy, fearlessly.
If you could be any animal, what would it be and why?
*instant response* A unicorn because they’re so magical. Specifically a periwinkle blue one with iridescent pink sparkles.
Thank you for the wonderful interview, StarAndia! We’re excited for your upcoming launch and so glad to hear about all the lasting connections and progress you’ve made thus far. Your efforts towards sustainability are admirable and we look forward to seeing what you do next!
StarAndia will be guest speaking at our All the CEO Ladies meeting on Wednesday, February 16, 2022. Join us virtually to learn more from an entrepreneur that’s been where you are. Register here: https://www.ksulaunch.net/ACL-register22