Starting a clothing line is not the easiest thing to do. There seems to be no surefire way that will guarantee success. I'm wary of calling any part of the path of Tabii Just a mistake because I've learnt so much from each misstep. There is one thing I did at the very beginning that resulted in wasted money, time and energy that I wish I could go back in time and undo
When I started my line, I had all these lofty goals about how I wanted things to look. Couple that with limited knowledge of the tech world and you have a formula for disaster. I was sure I wanted a beautiful website. Having a strong web presence is super important and I wanted mine to be unique. I wanted to stand out! I wanted a custom-made website. I attended lots of business expos and found a web company that took me out and did a bit of wining and dining. I was sold. I hired them. I was soon to find out that their idea of chic and elegant was way off base. They offered me only a partial refund since they had already built a site. I found another one at another business expo (see a pattern here?) that I liked. I started working with them and was pleasantly surprised at how accessible they were. Their fee, though, was so expensive that I couldn't pay all of it in one lump sum. I was sure it was worth it, though. They directed me to all these glossy, professional sites they had built and I was impressed. We decided that I would pick a Wordpress theme and they would customize it. After they built it, the problems started. I wanted the font just a tad bigger, which cost extra. I wanted the color changed. You guessed it! This cost extra. Over the course of a year, every minor change I wanted cost more and more dinero and they were getting annoyed that I was getting annoyed at this. I wanted them to show me how to do it. They assured me it was too complicated for me to understand.

One thing no-one tells you when you launch your line is that your knowledge will rapidly increase and your taste will most likely change because of this. Soon, my website didn't meet my needs or my tastes. I wanted to launch an online store but had to create an external link from my website because, surprise, integrating it would cost extra. I started checking out my designer friends' sites and asking them about theirs. I was shocked to learn that most went with simple templates and no customization. Their sites were beautiful! 

I finally decided that a functioning ecommerce site was much more important than a unique site. I also brought on an IT expert to my board of advisors. He quickly saw that they built the site in such a way that only they could make changes even through WordPress. It took one solid weekend of manually transferring my information across and many very productive calls to the support teams at GoDaddy.com and Shopify.com to come up with a site that I loved, was easy to navigate on the backend and that WORKED smoothly! I "designed" it myself from a simple template and am able to integrate my newsletter, social media outlets, etc to the site seamlessly. 

I wish I could go to every emerging designer who is thinking of getting a website and offer them money to go with a template website as opposed to all these smaller web companies that promise you the sky. It's not worth the headache and it's a complete waste of money to build a custom site. These platforms are easy to learn on your own. That knowledge will save you money. The customer support at Godaddy.com and Shopify.com are seriously amazing and you will come to love them like family. I survived my biggest mistake which was having a custom built site.  To emerging designers, I would say, do some research, talk to other designers and be frugal. Go with a template you like but you're going to need your money for manufacturing. 

And, if you're curious, here is my website. 

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We're working on something very, very exciting. I can barely keep this under wraps. I had to film a short video announcement today and I cannot tell you how long it took for us to film a simple 3 minute video. It was so funny. Apparently, my body didn't get the memo that today is a working Sunday. It's rebelling. Here's one of the many bloopers from today. Where is a water boy when you need one?





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Hair and beauty are two areas that are endlessly fascinating for women. No lady has ever complained about finding the perfect products for her skin and hair so our quest continues. Here are 3 trends we never thought we'd see everyone gushing over.


Anti-aging for the hair-Who knew that hair actually ages along with the body? Research shows that anti-aging serums and creams for the hair are actually having a major moment. There's even an at-home hair coloring system that has anti-aging properties. You're never going to complain about hair that's too young and healthy. 



Drop the mask-If you're looking for immediate results, masks are your best friend. In as little as an hour, you can have fresher, brighter skin. Apparently, word got out about this. Masks and peels saw a 66% sales jump in prestige outlets in 2013. 


Tender loving skin care- Remember when every expert recommended frequent exfoliation? Not anymore.  Oils, gentle gels and hydrating cleansers were the stars in 2013. Treating your skin gently is the new rage. This goes double for the skin under the eyes. The face holds the most layers of product (think moisturizer, primer, makeup) so finding a gentle but effective cleanser is the key. 

2014 is the year of healthy, young hair with insta-gorgeous skin. Are you in?



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I'm really torn on thrift shops. On one hand, it's a great way to give life to new clothing. On a global level, it's a massive business that simply does not make sense ethically. Bales of used clothing are usually exported to other countries when not sold here. This can stifle the local fashion identity of the country, unnecessarily devalue the clothing which is already inhibited by the fashion calendar and "give consumers a false sense of security that the rate at which they are consuming and disposing of clothing is at all sustainable", among other things. Read more about this here. With every shopping decision I make, I try to be conscientious, though, so I found myself in a thrift shop in Park Slope that was closing down. I chatted with the owner who told me that though business was good, she was done. She wanted to try something different with her life. I wanted to not only support her but get meaningful pieces to add to my wardrobe.
 I got this 100% wool cape for $35. It's not the warmest thing so I keep it for warm spring days. I also got this leather midi skirt for $15. I think it was so inexpensive because the clasp at the waist at the back wasn't a smart decision, design-wise. It kept popping open. I switched it for a more appropriate pant hook. I love that this skirt length is so flattering on us skinny girls but I'm thinking about cutting it into a mini and doing something interesting with the excess leather. I just know myself and I know I will get more use out of a mini skirt. 

Thrift shopping isn't necessarily a negative thing. I really fell in love with these pieces and I've been lusting and plotting after a cape for some time. This leather skirt is just a good investment piece. Do I go thrift shopping often? Not really. Would I recommend it? To each his own but this is a great alternative for people who complain about the high retail price of "conscious" clothing. 

My bill was $50 and I got 2 great pieces that are sure to last me a long time. 



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 © 2014 Clifford Hausner 
A few months ago, I presented Fall 2014 during my first solo presentation during NYFW. It was an amazing experience, to say the least. More on that later. I went back to Manufacture NY to shoot my lookbook one day shortly after and saw this photographer shooting pics for the band that was playing that night. He snapped a few pics of me for the fun of it. We were surrounded by all this amazing equipment and lighting and I figured why not. 

I'm so struck by how deep and intense these shots are. I was tired but super happy to have had that experience with Manufacture NY. I'm not sure why they are a sepia tone on Blogger, though. These were all done by Clifford Hausner, a super talented photographer. Many thanks to him for these and for snapping away while I experimented with not smiling. For more on his company, click here

 © 2014 Clifford Hausner 



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I went to the barber and made a spur-of-the-moment decision to get a design. I saw this 5 year old kid and he looked so so cool. Of course, mine did not look nearly as cool.

Need to work on my swagger.

When the design was done, it reminded me of Gangsta Chanel, my rabbit. Do you see the G and the rabbit ear? Now I kind of want to do this all the time. Within the same week, I got a blowout and a few streaks at the James Corbett Salon. The result was this, which I lurved! I usually don't like my straight hair but I loved the bit of waves at the end and the body at the top.










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This weekend, I'm in the Poconos reviewing some activities and the Pocono Manor for Lady And The Blog. I love travelling so it's been a ton of fun. I usually stay out of the snow but I've really appreciated getting up close and personal with it. It's completely different from what I'm used to. I am an island girl for sure. It's great to mix it up now and then, though. Read my first post here

My trusty jacket is from Helly Hansen. It's no longer available but there are tons more that are a great fit for snow sports. This jacket has been the most incredible savior with this weather. 

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Ethiopian musician Wayna Stephen rocked out at the Apollo Theater last night in this dress from Tabii Just's Spring 2014 collection. She needed something she could move in. By the way, she's also 6 months pregnant. What a rock star! Here's a short vid of the action.

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