In my first two San Francisco Stories posts I chatted with two of the young women that I’ve met through the fashion scene in San Francisco – Model, Vegan & Livzo founder Nataliia Karpenko and Model, Actress, Singer & Dancer Jenefer Taylor.
Today I’m here with business owner & entrepreneur Jia Wertz. If her name already sounds familiar, you may be a fan of her clothing company Studio 15 or have fallen in love with her pieces, just like I did, during one of our shoots the past year: Alice In Wonderland, Spring Romper, Cocktail Dressing, Spring Dresses…
When I was initially introduced to Jia I was in awe of her. We met here in San Francisco right at the time she was deciding to relocate to New York. She had always wanted to live there but never made the move, so on a recent trip back East she decided it was finally time. And within a month she had relocated and was kicking fashion industry booty in the City That Never Sleeps.
Read on for some fun back-and-forth with someone who inspires and motivates me on a daily basis.
MCLV: Studio 15 offers a great collection of pieces – From dresses to separates to accessories – How do you decide what makes the cut? When you’re curating your collection for the website, what do you look for?
JW: The two main things we look for when curating our collection are quality and which trends are popular in the moment. From the weight of the fabric to the seams, we inspect every garment very closely. The quality of the craftsmanship has a direct correlation with how flattering the pieces will be on our customers.
MCLV: Quality is important to Studio 15 and only the best frocks make it to the website. Do you have a set criteria when you’re on buying trips or do you just keep your high standards in mind while you’re browsing?
JW: We definitely keep our high standards in mind when browsing, but one criteria that we always look for is that each piece is lined. There are a few exceptions, but 90% of everything we carry has lining; it just makes such a big difference in the fit of the garment.
MCLV: One of the best parts of shopping with Studio 15 – After ordering a killer frock mais bien sur – Is that a percentage of the proceeds go to support female entrepreneurs in developing countries. Can you tell us how you founded this meaningful partnership and how you got involved with such a worthy cause?
JW: Well, I have had a love for fashion since I was very young, but I always knew that I wanted to do something more than just that, and I absolutely love helping people. I decided that I would combine the two things that I love doing – Fashion and giving back. I was lucky because finding the partnership was easy.
My brother has worked with non-profits for most of his career and is the Executive Director for Kleos. Two years ago, prior to joining forces with Kleos, I made a trip out to Gulu, Uganda to volunteer with the organization; that trip was eye-opening, to say the least. I got to work with these women first-hand and see what their lives are like, what they have been able to do with the loans they have received, and the positive impact those loans made in their lives. There was no doubt in my mind, after that trip, that I wanted to help these women and partner with Kleos.
Thanks for joining me for another fun edition of San Francisco Stories – I’ll be back soon with a Must Read interview with the Queen of Leather – Candice Cuoco of House of CCUOCO.