We had the good fortune of connecting with Sarah Shemirani and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Sarah, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
Ever since I was a little kid, I’ve always believed that the tiniest detail could turn around an entire look. When I was in middle school (and feeling not so good about myself) I’d rummage through my grandmother’s jewelry box, looking to deck out my middle school outfits. And just by putting on her pearls or one of her antique rings, everything would change instantly — my otherwise-drab outfit became elevated, and I felt confident, powerful and beautiful.

And then last year, at the start of the pandemic, I found myself in a similar situation. I was a first-time mom, dealing with a wild little boy while teaching middle school classes on Zoom. Not only was I feeling a bit insecure with my new mom-body, but my outfits were completely uninspiring. One day, I decided to spruce up my look by adding one of my vintage brooches to a headband I was wearing — and just like when I was a kid, it worked instantly. That’s when Dress the Mess was born.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I have been a Special Education teacher for 15 years, starting my work teaching high school, and now middle school. My mother is a teacher, so I knew I would become a teacher for as long as I can remember. Because of that, I’ve based my career decisions on the known trajectory I’ve had for my life. I love being a teacher, and although it has not always been easy, it’s allowed me to grow and learn. As someone who always likes to know the end result of anything I undertake, starting this small business has been the most challenging, scary, and exciting adventure I have ever been on.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Apart from the usual must-sees like the San Diego Zoo, Balboa Park and the La Jolla Cove, I like taking my out-of-town friends to some of the hidden gems I know and love. For amazing hole-in-the-wall restaurants, I’d go to Mama’s Bakery in North Park, El Zarape in University Heights, and Himalayan Cuisine in La Mesa. For more of a dining experience, I’d take them to Et Voila in Normal Heights and this amazing hard-to-find spot in Rolando called Garden Kitchen. For some nightlife, my favorites continue to be Polite Provisions for inventive cocktails, and the Red Fox Room for inexpensive drinks and an amazing vibe (also my mom used to hang out there in the early 80s). I’d also recommend the late night Blues Jam on Wednesday night in the basement speakeasy Prohibition Lounge, located downtown.

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?
I would like to dedicate a shoutout to my grandmother, Beate, she is the inspiration behind my business. Even when wearing sweatpants and tennis shoes, she always wore her strand of pearls and knew the importance of pulling together a look while also being a fierce, strong, and independent woman — at a time when that was pretty rare.

Also I would be remiss if I didn’t also shout out my husband, who has given me love, support and encouragement starting me business. He has been my rock, and deserves credit for all the work he has done to allow me to create this new endeavor.

Website: Etsy.com/shop/dressthemess

Instagram: @dressthemessofficial

Other: Tiktok: @dressthemess

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutSocal is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.