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Mother Muse: Stacie Lucas of AMAE

I am so happy to introduce you to a new series called Mother Muse. My hope for this series is to introduce you to women of note, who are living with conscious grace and courage.

It is with delight that I share our first Mother Muse, Stacie Lucas of AMAE. I first met Stacie through Instagram as she was transitioning her clothing line from mass manufacturing to a slower clothing concept. She continues to impress me, and many women seeking to cloth themselves with ethically sourced designs. Stacie doesn't know this, but I have an AMAE linen jumpsuit that I bought second hand and can't wait to break out. The quality and love invested in each of her pieces is shown even in my second hand jumpsuit.




Stacie Lucas, of AMAE, designs and makes ethically sourced children's and women's clothing from her San Franscisco studio. She has studied art formally and taught full time at an art school. With the birth of her daughter, Addison Mae, Stacie began to live out art by founding her own creative company in 2012 with a strong penchant for fashion and design. Now a mama to two with the addition of her son Drew, Stacie runs AMAE with her husband, Kristian. Follow their family affair on Instagram @amae.co



"We have soft hearts for kids everywhere and we think their futures are worth investing in. That is why we use fair labor manufacturers and hand source every bit of fabric, personally create each pattern, and carefully oversee the stitching of all our pieces. Because more than anything, we’re big on families." AMAE Mission Statement

 



Would you give us the backstory of how AMAE began?

AMAE {ah-may} , started almost 6 years ago in its original form, when my oldest child was born.  I had taken an extended Maternity leave at the Art school I was teaching at and had a lot of time to create which had always been my passion, but had taken a back seat for a more ‘practical’ career. I was mainly creating clothes for my daughter and then, with the urging of several people, opened myself up to selling small lots of designs. The kids market was wide open then, and the company took off pretty quick with a large growth rate.  By the time my son was born 2.5 years later I was working with manufacturers in both the LA and Bay areas, had my own production team of 13 seamstresses, and had just hired a couple admin positions (marketing, assistant). At this point I was operating under the name Duchess and Lion. I started out loving what I was doing, and 3 years in as I grew into a larger company, I found my own personal life spiraling into a dark place of anxiety, depression, and survival. When my son was two and I realized that I had hardly bonded with him at all, was still facing what started as Postpartum Depression and morphed to general Depression, I realized something had to change.  At this point my husband said one day — you used to be so happy doing what you love? What were you doing? What was it that made you happy? And the answer was simple: creating and being a mom. I had lost those two things in the rapid growth of business.  And that is what lead to the rebranding of our business to AMAE, the mass slow down on production, the cut in work hours needed, and a huge family shift to a slower life. AMAE was created to be slow, to be flexible, to be forgiving. I think it reflects in the style of the brand, the ‘marketing’ of the brand, and my customers…many who share the same desires.

 

 

Who has influenced you the most?

My dad. I spent most of my life watching my dad run the rat race.  He worked his tail end off to provide financially for our family and worked his way to the top of the business ladder (think Wall Street). And he killed it.  Literally, we wanted for nothing…except more time with dad.  I grew up with money.  I saw what is was like to have a ‘successful’ career but no time to enjoy the success, and decided early that I would do what I loved, not what made the most money. In high school my dad walked away from that career and lifestyle and pursued his passion: flying.  Watching that shift, and how that transformed our family, made this shift to a simpler business a somewhat easy decision.  I think for a lot of people, walking away from a lucrative business to return to their “art” is a bit scary.  To me, I had already seen the good that comes from it. So my dad is probably my biggest influence.  He also happens to be one of the people I respect most in life.

How did the shift from mass manufacturing to slow fashion affect your day to day job?

When I was manufacturing, my job was 95% management, 5% creative. I was away from home once every 2 weeks to be in LA or on a photoshoot, or at an industry event. I was producing high numbers, so I had to sell high numbers, which meant showing up to networking events wasn’t optional. Now, my family's schedule comes first. I spend 70% of my time in-studio actively creating, and interacting with customers.  I love the community aspect of my work and it allows me to truly dive into that.  Whether it be our online community, our local creative community, or my mom community that I have been able to reintegrate into.

  What are some of the most rewarding moments?

There are so many: customer emails, seeing pictures of kids and women enjoying their clothing- I really love seeing women feel beautiful, when someone reaches out on social media and lifts me up and encourages me, when a sample garments turns out perfect the first time, meeting with my small production team.  Too many to name.  This business is rewarding for me in general. I hope that shows often.

Is there a special way you balance motherhood and AMAE?

No. I wouldn’t want to lie and say there was or that it is easy or there are tricks.  What is special is the unity and camaraderie amongst the millions of moms that juggle so many aspects of life (paid work or not) everyday and somehow, we magically do it.  Some days are better than others, but knowing we are all doing it together…that is special. 

What do you wish you knew when you were just beginning?

YOU DO YOU.  Put up the blinders. Keep your focus on what feels right to you and your business/family.  It is not a competition as much as we try and all make it one.  There is room for you to grow along with your neighbor. So pursue your dreams, not the illusive dream that social media puts out there.

What do yo do when you don't know what to do next?

Don’t over think it.  Anyone else fall into this trap?!?!  Usually i get a bit of a paralyzing effect from not knowing what to do next, which leads to doing absolutely nothing.  In these moments, take tiny steps.  Answer one email. Make one phone call. Make one list. Clean a space. Usually when I take that first small step to just do something, it starts flowing into productivity.  Not always though.  Sometimes you just have to step away and give yourself a day off.

What or who keeps you inspired?

I think my community in general.  Entering my 30’s a couple years ago, I made a conscious decision to build a community that was inspiring, encouraging, and uplifting and let go of the rest.  Some of those people include my husband, our neighborhood group keeps me inspired in the pursuit of motherhood. Kris, at NEVE AND HAWK keeps me inspired to work hard and pursue creative ventures (you won’t meet anyone who works harder or lives more passionately), my online community. Inspiration comes in all forms for me…except PINTEREST.  Pinterest sucks all inspiration out of my sails.

How do you carve out time for yourself?

This is something I am struggling with right now.  I will say that my husband works a job that is a bit more flexible than the average corporate job, and he prioritizes his time off to give me an opportunity to step away from parenting and enter my creative space.  I am also lucky that my ‘work’ is my passion and where I refuel.  But I want to know, how you all out there are fitting in taking care of your health and working out???  Seriously, hit me up folks.  That is what I am working on currently.

Thank you so much for taking time out to talk with us about AMAE

Follow Stacie on Instagram @amae.co

 

 

 


About the Author

Kara Meloy began making headwear for her children in 2013 after the birth of her fourth son. She sewed a little blue bonnet for him, and called it "just a little sun hat". Kara is a big fan of moms everywhere, especially those in her hometown of Cashmere, Washington.


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