We had the good fortune of connecting with Joanna McCartney and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Joanna, what role has risk played in your life or career?
Risk taking has been a bigger part of my business (Pyne & Smith) than I ever thought it would be. When I started dressmaking and selling them at a local market back in 2015, I thought it would be a very sedate way for me to make a living, but it definitely has involved far more risks that I had anticipated. From making the dresses myself to reaching out to hire local seamstresses, to working with small scale production locally in Los Angeles, making the jump to move into our own warehouse and office space from our home garage, hiring employees and all the small risks we make daily, I definitely think risk is necessary for growth – even though it can be very stressful.
What should our readers know about your business?
Pyne and Smith was born out of necessity, because I couldn’t find a comfortable, beautiful natural fiber dress to wear in the crazy heat of summer. As I began making and selling dresses myself, I realized I had the choice to make an impact with every business decision that would affect people and our planet. I wanted to pay people who worked for (and with) me a good livable wage – to be ethical in my business. I wanted to keep the sewing of our dresses local, right here in southern California. This was challenging, we were a tiny business who wanted to begin having our garments manufactured with almost no experience in the fashion industry. After two years of searching, we finally found a family run business with excellent working conditions, happy employees and high standards that I had dreamt of for my dresses. It took a lot of perseverance and a lot of phone calls! As the business became more established, we continue to be mindful of our carbon footprint. Linen is such an environmentally friendly fabric, and we also send any fabric scraps to a textile recycling plant to be repurposed into car and airplane seat covers so that no fabric waste goes into landfill. We also use 100% recycled packaging. We’ve made mistakes along the way, a lot of trial and error, but I have learned that when curve balls come at you, how you react to that situation makes a huge difference. Being resilient really helps. I still can’t believe we have 4 employees and a headquarters now!
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Laguna Beach is our favorite place to go when we have family or friends visit.! Crystal Cove is always the best for a long walk along the sand, and if we are there early enough, a breakfast sandwich and coffee at the shake shack on PCH, overlooking the ocean. For the best Italian food and the beautiful ambiance, Ristorante Rumari in Laguna is our very favorite place.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My husband. He is empowering, intelligent and insightful. Without him I wouldn’t have the strength to do this business!
Photography our own and Daniela Constantini.