Q+A | esby


the east end tee c/o
i've long held the belief of quality over quantity and investing in pieces that will remain just as relevant three to five to even seven years from now as they are today. admittedly, though, i'm just now beginning to pay more attention to where my clothes come from and the level of integrity and accountability behind the label.

enter, esby, and its' owner, stephanie beard.

stephanie is a conscientious, enthusiastic, and insanely creative former new yorker applying her experience of designing menswear into impeccably-crafted, classic pieces for the woman who doesn't want to think too much about what she's wearing but who also wants to look put-together with ease.

esby's tunics, tops, maxi dresses, and multi-functioning scarves are the kind of effortless pieces i obsess over- dependable, insanely comfortable, impeccably well made, and intended to be worn for any occasion, time over time.
stephanie, in the beach house reversible top.
stephanie, tell us a little bit about yourself...
i graduated with a fashion degree and moved straight to NYC when i was 21. i worked for great companies, such as tommy hillfiger, levi's, and converse designing menswear and soaked up as much knowledge as possible. my longest stint being converse, i felt confident i could break out of menswear and start a women's line that i wanted to wear and simply couldn't find- well-made, high-quality, timeless, yet, still stylish apparel. i moved to austin for affordable rent (and warmth) to start esby  i've fallen in love. 
the fort pond tunic c/o
tell us about esby...
to me, fast fashion is everywhere and the quality of womenswear has been declining for a while now as major brands push quantity over quality. options for someone who wants to fall in love with a piece and wear it to death seemed few and far-between. it's those long-lasting basics with personality and great fit that i chose to wear when running out the door- and that's esby's main focus. 

we also care about how our apparel is made and have found an amazing small factory in new orleans that spends great attention and detail producing our line. we go through several rounds of samples until we nail the perfect fit. we have a wash facility in new jersey where we pre-wash the clothes, add garment dyes and indigo dyes, and add softness to the garments so they feel great. 

we launched the first season through kickstarted in february 2012. we raised enough funds to produce all of the first season. it's available now in a few boutiques and in our online shop. season two is currently in the works and should be available this fall. 
what is the hardest/best parts about owning your own company?
owning a company is definitely not easy, but, it's rewarding and exciting. i couldn't imagine doing anything else. i've always been a creator and an artist, so building something i 1000% believe in feels really good. the designer side of me doesn't think any of this feels like work. it's the business side of esby that proves the most challenging- but that part is also exciting to accomplish. i've learned so incredibly much in the past few years and there is still so much to learn. 

who is the esby woman? who do you see wearing your clothes?
the esby woman is most women i know. she is hardworking and wants to feel confident and look great without a lot of effort- because of the lack of time we have in our busy lives. whether we are mothers, business women, or both, we appreciate and love quality, well-made things and believe that less is more. we love the natural beauty of the outdoors and the energy of city life. she also has a bit of a tomboy style and loves the perfect button-down and easy dress. while designing season one, our muse was clemence poesy. she is so chic and her style is effortless. 
what are you inspired by?
traveling. vacation reenergizes and sparks the soul. experiencing different cultures and places is also incredibly inspiring. esby plans to start a road trip series on our blog so we don't forget how powerful experiencing different places can be. 

also, great vintage. i worry our generation won't pass along enough beautiful apparel due to the dangers of fast fashion. there are so many amazing pieces from a time when our country's apparel industry was thriving and i hope we can get that back on track. 

parisian women and japanese workwear- both are effortless perfection. less is truly more. these categories remind me not to over-design our esby collections. creative talent- be it a great pair of handmade jeans, a beautiful piece of furniture, a detailed artwork, tooled leather, or a handwoven tapestry- handmade is instant beauty. and GUTS. i look up to those who color outside the lines, dance to their own beat, and truly believe in their own originality. 

what is the importance of your clothes being made in america? why NoLa, specifically?
i set out to create a clothing line where i can easily access the development and production of the line. to me, that means nothing but american made. i originally worked with a factory in NYC's garment district that didn't intend to work with me once i announced my move to austin. i was lucky to meet a friend here in austin who saw an article about Nola Sewn in WWD. i was instantly intrigued by this factory that is owned and operated by a fellow young designer. Nola Sewn is a smaller US factory that i like to call a "boutique factory." her operations are small and that means more attention to detail. we have a great working relationship and understand where each other are coming from easily. daily long distance communication is key and it works well for us. it has also been a pleasant surprise that Nola Sewn is located in new orleans. the parisian culturally rich feel in that city is always inspiring during our factory visits. 
the large striped scarf/ the large ikat scarf
what do you think this world needs more of?
acceptance of originality, encouragement of creativity, and funding for the arts. support for small businesses and encouragement for all to follow their dreams. life is too short for us to be doing what we think other people want us to. and- breakfast tacos. the world definitely needs more breakfast tacos.

i'm dying to visit austin! what are your favorite things to do around your city?
austin is a wonderful city! everyone is very friendly and eager to help. a perfect day would be a great brunch at Hillside Farmacy, Elizabeth St. Cafe, or quick tacos and coffee from Jo's on S. Congress. then head over to Barton Springs or Deep Eddy Pool to cool off. check out the great local shops, like Uncommon Objects, Spartan, Sunroom, and Olive. the man in your life will particularly love checking out STAG. don't miss Sundownders at Weather Up or micheladas at Hotel San Jose in their gorgeous poolside courtyard. be sure to grab oysters from Clarks or late night dinner at Justine's. an extra special night for us means sushi at Uchi or Uchiko. 

a few of stephanie's favorite things...

le labo fragrance sandal 33i go crazy for a good scent. pricy, but worth it! plus, a little goes a long way- the smallest bottle lasts about a year. | malin + goetz candledark rum smells great! try the bar soap and hand wash, too! | crisp white sheets. west elm has a great affordable organic set. | 3X1 denim. the high-waisted black skinny is a perfect fit and the fabric isn't too think like some skinny jeans tend to be. AND they are made in the USA. | simple gold jewelry. i stack several gold bands (like these from catbird) on my fingers and have a few thin bangles from india i throw on with everything. | south highland boots by cobra rock boot company is THE perfect boot. my first trip to marfa included a visit to their studio and i couldn't leave without a pair as i've had my eyes on them for years. there is usually a six-to-eight-month-long waiting list but they had my size on hand! i know i'll be wearing these for many years to come. | tequila on the rocks with fresh lime or grapefruit juice. epsolon is my go-to. it's really affordable for the quality and the bottle looks great, too! | this tuscan moroccan wool shag rug. we love how ours is super soft and the white really brightens up our living room.
after talking with stephanie and wearing her designs for days on end, it has not only been reiterated that women (and men) need a wardrobe for which they can depend on, but we also desperately need to be able to trust the people designing and making our clothes. furthermore, we need to know who is making our clothes. the best and easiest way we can do that is to support small business owners who maintain such high standards of integrity and accountability within the industry. 

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Unknown said...

The fort pond tunic is talking to me! I love dresses that can be worn alone or with accessories for an easy day to night look, that dress seems perfect.


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