Reviewed: Why Fashion Girls Love Chelsea Mak

What inspired you to start your business?

The business grew out of a need to express myself. As a creative, it can be emotionally paralyzing if you don’t have a way to “get it out.” I never thought I wanted my own line, but after working in the fashion industry for 10-plus years and designing for others for eight of those, I got to a point where I couldn’t stop thinking about what my logo would look like if I had my own brand. I am grateful to have the support and experience to be able to do this.

How have social-distancing and stay-at-home orders affected your business? How have your priorities shifted?

I’ve always worked from home, so luckily not too much has changed there, but I miss opening my space up for studio visits, which I haven’t been able to do. So much of the brand is an extension of my home and lifestyle, so I really enjoy having customers over to shop and try things on—it’s a special experience on both ends.

My priorities have definitely shifted since the pandemic. The brand has grown a lot since I first launched in 2018, and it started to feel like things were moving really fast and I couldn’t catch up. I always felt strapped for time and pressure to meet a market-week deadline or pump out new content. Slowing down has allowed me to get back in touch with the original ethos of the brand, which is creating clothing made to last generations, with thoughtful design and construction details that tie back to intricate and complex inspiration, content, and ideas. Also, since a lot of retail stores aren’t doing well or have cut back on budgets, I’m focusing a lot more of my energy on being direct-to-consumer and taking care to engage with my customers on a more personal level when I can.