Women Who Work: CEO, Laura Aguon
Ever want to own your own apparel company? CEO and Founder of Feisty Gal Studio, Laura Aguon opens up about what it takes to run your own women’s clothing line.
How long have you been doing this?
Feisty Gal Studio is a feminist apparel studio from Portland, Oregon. We hand print all of our merchandise in America. We believe in wearing something that means something, so each purchase from you donates to charity. We officially launched Feisty Gal Studio in November of 2017. Our brand is essentially brand new! We currently are launching new designs about every 6 months.
How did you make the leap to your current role?
I was sitting in the sunroom of an old friends house in Massachusetts. I had just flown from Paris, France en route on my way back to my home in Portland, Oregon. I realized that I was getting up every day to work for someone else’s dream. I was giving my heart and soul to make the business goals of another person come to life. But, what was I doing to fulfill my own? All of that jetlag was cured by a creative binge, a lot of brownies, and taking the idea of “Feisty Gal Studio” from my journal to the web.
When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Growing up I was obsessed with my Barbie Fashion Studio. You could use the textured plastic molds and clothing shape cutouts to create apparel designs on paper with colored pencils.
In high school, I studied graphic arts which have allowed me to continue to indulge my inner creative as an adult while I grow my own professional career. The best advice I found is from the famed fashion blogger, Jean Wang of Extra Petite, she said: “I feel strongly about getting an education and a stable job first, in order to pay the bills as you work on creative side projects.” I wholeheartedly agree!
What has been the easiest part of your transition?
Between taking post-bac classes, freelancing, and running an e-commerce fashion line, I spend most of my waking hours looking at my laptop. Yikes, maybe more time looking at a screen than other humans! I already loved being able to plug into any Wifi connection no matter where in the world and design products for our line.
What keeps you motivated?
My motivation is fired by an unyielding fiery desire to create beautiful things.
How do you define success now?
Each project I take on, a person I engage with, and activity I participate in must be thoughtful, impactful, and progressive. I ask myself: Did this improve someone’s life beyond my own? Does this improve my health? Do I feel content with the position that I am in? I created a company that provides a living wage to its employees, prides itself on authentically representing our feisty gals by not photoshopping our images, and gives a portion of our proceeds back to charities that support women.
How do you prevent burn out?
I make time every evening to turn off my cell phone and close my laptop. It allows me to fully engage and be present with my family. We need to stop glorifying the overworked lifestyle.
What do you think is the most important characteristics to have for someone who wants to take a similar career route to yours?
Dynamic Problem Solver
Hungry to Learn
What are your biggest responsibilities as an entrepreneur?
Each week you have to be creating unique, original content. I set out about 2 hours each day for research on what is trending in typography and graphic arts, what’s new via Pinterest and Instagram, styles on the runways, what my favorites brands are doing. If you want to be taken seriously, you need to be a creator not just a consumer.