Whenever meeting someone that I really connect with there is always a desire to understand their story- the finer points of their lives and the events that shaped and molded the person to who they are today. Given that you have taken the initial steps to learn more about ea apparel, I would like my first blog to provide the back-story of my life and how the concept came to life.
Growing up in Arkansas I was privileged to be exposed to the finer virtues of life in a small southern town. Luckily they still remain with me today. Family and friends were a priority and one’s deeds dictated reputation. Adopted at birth, I was blessed to be raised by parents who taught me a strong work ethic and that anything in life was possible with the right level of diligence and determination. Their unconditional love has inspired me over the years and has provided strength in the most challenging times of my life.
I was in my early 20’s when I embarked on the world of wellness and beauty after a girlfriend talked me into moving to Tucson Arizona. Once again my stars were aligned as I had the good fortune to join Pam McNair Founder of Gadabout SalonSpas. Pam was and still is an icon in the wellness industry today- and her innovative approach to business development was so inspiring and provided the basis for many of my operating and marketing philosophies. Pam taught me that exceptional quality could only be achieved with the proper investment in the education and development of the colleagues within the business.
As I moved on to the next level of professional responsibility that ante moved up and I had to elevate exponentially. I moved to Los Angeles and took on the task of re-branding the spa at the St. Regis Los Angeles. Its amazing the complexity of building something from the ground up. Soon after my experience with St. Regis, The Four Seasons Beverly Hills became aware of my early success and recruited me to create the most extraordinary wellness offering in Beverly Hills. I made a name for myself by being determined to make spa sexy! I developed a local celebrity following and extended the business model to develop strategic partnerships with LA’s entertainment industry that help to develop the unique and innovative spa suites during the hotels busy Award Season. This is also where I met my business partner and co-founder of ea apparel, Grant Ponder.
I then moved into the corporate world as Viceroys first Corporate Director of Spa Development. At Viceroy Hotel Group the learning curve ramped up sharply with the need to think globally and plan strategically. During my tenure I worked with some of the world’s most renowned architects and interior designers Philippe Stark, Jean-Michel Gathy, and Kelly Wearstler and managed many of the group’s most extraordinary projects. By the 1st quarter of 2009 the economy was having a profound impact on the group’s pipeline of new hotels under development. At the end of March my role was eliminated from the corporate structure and I had to step back and reflect on my personal and professional priorities. Job opportunities had always been abundant, however I really didn’t want to return to the mainstream work force where others benefited exponentially from my creativity and passion. As the months went by and I contemplated entrepreneurial opportunities my emotions took me on a roller coaster ride of doubt, fear and excitement. Looking back to that challenging period there were two things that remained crystal clear, I would choose an endeavor that related to my life passions of Spa Beauty and Fashion. Secondly that my first business would in some meaningful way make a difference in the lives of woman of the world. I conceived ea apparel in quite an organic fashion like so many other successful start-ups. I saw a void in my own wardrobe that was not addressed in the market and voila!!! Given that I have always maintained an active life of Bikram yoga, exciting travel and as much Spa as humanly possible, I could never find clothes that complimented my lifestyle. ea apparel is dedicated to providing woman with clothes that instill sensual comfort, confident ease and an edgy attitude. ea means so much to me as an entrepreneur and as a woman. Launching a business is liberating just like the line itself, the pieces let you express yourself. They are practical, versatile and amazing to wear. ea apparel is as much a testament to modern style as it is to modern women. We all have the potential to use our talents and intuition to create something bigger than ourselves- if I can do it, so can you!