We had the good fortune of connecting with Kussy Mackenzie and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kussy, how does your business help the community or world?
Sophia + Sam LLC may be one of the few, if not the only Black woman-owned eco-friendly socially conscious retail businesses in San Diego. Since 2017, we have been providing design services, fabric sales, and small batch production of organic children’s clothing. Since April 2020, we have been producing and selling organic cotton face masks for children and adults as well as supplying organic fabric to other mask makers. Organic cotton is processed without harsh chemicals or dyes that can trigger allergies and skin outbreaks. We are very proud that our current production partners are other San Diego-based businesses and the sale of our masks supports San Diego families and local economy in unprecedented times. As a tailor and mother of a 3-year-old and 6-year-old, I was intentional in designing masks that were sustainable, safe for sensitive skin, breathable, and had perfect fit for long wear. Children and adults are more likely to properly wear and keep on a face mask that is soft, breathable, and well-fitted. All these features help with the face covering compliance that the County of San Diego and the state has been adamantly advocating for to curb the spread of COVID-19.
Please tell us more about your business. How did you get to where you are today business-wise. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way.
The biggest challenge I’ve had as a business owner and working mom, is having the discipline to continue to hone my craft and build my business in an ethical way. The biggest lesson I’ve learned over the years is to know when and what to outsource. When I first launched my business, I tried to do everything myself in an effort to save money. I learned to quantify the value of my time to better understand the tradeoffs. Sophia + Sam is dedicated to building a sustainable brand and continuing to support our local San Diego economy in the process.
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?
I absolutely can’t get enough of the outdoors and stunning landscapes in San Diego. Whenever I have visitors, we go on various trails. Some of my favorites are the Mission Trails visitor loop and Rancho Penasquitos in San Diego, as well as the trails around Otay Lake in Chula Vista. My favorite spot for a margarita is Cantina Mayahuel, which also serves the most amazing Yucatan soup, hands down.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I have deep gratitude to all my sewing instructors at San Diego Continuing Education, especially my very first instructor, Tammy Pontsler. Tammy literally taught me how to thread a sewing machine and her love and passion for the fiber arts is evident in her compassionate instruction style.
Chris Wojdak Photography, Joanne Barratt Photography