Some of our favorite bridesmaid dresses (ever!) are due to this woman, so we have mad respect for her everyday juggle of two little ones and a super successful wedding fashion collection! Yes, Joanna August designs flower girl dresses too (checkout the line at this preview party!). We got the chance to ask her all about it, as well as everything else on her plate, and it’s all right here! Take a peek inside her studio, home, and family life!
When did you launch Joanna August and how has it evolved since the outset?
I launched JA, by myself, out of my apartment in 2008 when I was engaged to be married, so since then, pretty much EVERYTHING has changed! When I first launched the line, I was selling the Joanna August Collection which was at a much higher price point, so while people loved the look, it was a little unrealistic for most brides. Launching the Ceremony by Joanna August Collection in 2011 has been the most important evolution- the mission (“unbridal” bridesmaid dresses) and the aesthetic (chic, ethereal, bohemian) stayed the same but I brought the price point way down so that while the dresses are still special, they are also attainable! I also made it out of my apartment and now work out of a beautiful studio in downtown LA and have an amazing team to support me.
Did you have a "I've made-it" moment?
I have had a couple! Bella Bridesmaids was the first store to carry my designs so when that first happened and I was able to say my dresses were carried somewhere besides my website, that was definitely a pivotal moment!
I think the first time I really thought “ok. I am legit” was when I first saw my dresses on shopbop.com. It had long been one of my favorite online stores, so to see my name and designs next to so many designers that I love and respect (and wear!), that was incredibly fulfilling.
Seeing one of my dresses on Malin Akerman is USWeekly’s best dressed section was a great moment too!
Your designs are fresh and modern (we're loving the jumpsuits!), do you design with a particular bridal party or style in mind?
I always want to make sure I am pushing the envelope, exploring whatever I feel is next rather than staying comfortable with the tried and true. I constantly ask myself, what would I want to wear as a bride or bridesmaid that isn’t out there? My personal style lives between sophisticated bohemian and 70’s disco so there is often some combo of those aesthetics in my designs.
We love the new flower girl collection - was that always a dream of yours?
I would say while the Ceremony by Joanna August collection has not changed much, the areas that I am choosing to expand the brand, such as into flower girls with the launch of my new Babes of The Nile line, are definitely the direct effect of being a mom! Before I had my children, I would not say I stayed up at night dreaming of making kids clothes, but now that I live and breath little babes all the time, I cannot imagine NOT making clothes for kids!
Tell us about your beautiful family! How do you balance being a Mom and running your own business?
This is always the hardest question because I feel that everyone is hoping for some secret trick to make it all work when the truth is, in my experience, sadly, there is no such thing as the perfect work/ life balance. Being a mom is a full time job and owning a company is a full time job so when you are trying to do both, somethings gotta give. Some days I feel like I am not doing my best as a mom, others that I am not doing my best to lead my team and grown my company and then some days it all comes together and feels pretty great. I am learning to not be so hard on myself and to relieve myself of the pressure to be “perfect” all the time and to keep sight of the fact that my children are completely happy, healthy and well cared for and that being a role model to them as well as to myself is not something to take for granted. Its ok to love your job! For any mom struggling with these challenges, I cannot recommend highly enough reading Cheryl Sandberg’s book “Lean In.” I found her to be completely inspirational and inspiring and reading her story has helped me immensely with my approach to work and life.
What has been surprising to you about motherhood?
How it has completely changed my perspective on my whole life. I know that sounds dramatic but it actually has been pretty dramatic. I am so much more engaged in what is happening in the world, both locally and globally, from environmental issues to politics, to poverty and war- everything feels much more personally MY problem now that I have children whose futures I am concerned about rather than just my own. On a more daily level, I also truly no longer have time to sweat the small stuff and that is a completely freeing feeling to only spend my energy worrying about things that actually matter.
Also, it has been very surprising to notice that when I open any of my purses, even my “fancy” ones, I find a pack of baby wipes and box of raisins in pretty much every one at any given time!
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I am so happy in life right now, I hope in 5 years its not too different! I love my family, I love my job, I love being a mom. So in 5 years I am just hoping to keep it going: more dresses, more kids (maybe…) and more of the amazing good fortune I have been lucky enough to experience up to this point!
Favorite LA date night:
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