Ahida Correale: “Make time for yourself”

Make time for yourself — there were weeks when I first started where I ate poorly because the food was easier to get or didn’t work out or didn’t sleep because I was pouring everything into the business. It feels crucial at the time, but in reality, it sets you back. I now prioritize myself in my […]

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Make time for yourself — there were weeks when I first started where I ate poorly because the food was easier to get or didn’t work out or didn’t sleep because I was pouring everything into the business. It feels crucial at the time, but in reality, it sets you back. I now prioritize myself in my daily equation and I am much happier and personally successful because of it.

As part of our series about the 5 things you need to succeed in the fashion industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Ahida Correale, who founded her namesake business in 2020 in the midst of the recent pandemic. These global challenges have re-invigorated her creativity and inspired her designs which help people thrive in our new way of life, which so many are struggling with today.

In years past, Ahida gained extensive experience in the fashion industry, starting from the ground up at Macy’s Inc.. and, ultimately transitioning to Steve Madden, where she led merchandising, buying, and integrating fashion trends into their multi-channel business.

Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

It really has been something I wanted to be involved in my whole life. Whether it was pretending like I was walking down the runway as a teenager or sourcing the latest fashion trends for my friends, I have loved fashion since I was a little girl. Once I graduated from the University of Arizona, I headed straight to San Francisco to get my foot in the door as an assistant buyer for accessories. It was an incredible experience that I use today in my business.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started?

It has to be the immediate engagement I have had with so many people and businesses I respect in the industry that I never thought I would be interacting with on a regular basis. My business started as a way to create some levity and have some fun with family and friends. When I started putting these masks together, I never thought I would see them in Vogue or celebrities walking around with my mask. It is pretty incredible.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

“Me Beer”. So my husband likes to see what I am working on and I was putting together a custom mask order which was supposed to have “Beer” on the right side and “Me” on the left side. So looking at the mask, I did just that which reads “Me Beer” when you look at it. I had never heard the expression, but my husband pointed out that it was supposed to read “Beer Me”, like give me a beer. We argued for a solid 10 minutes about it, before I googled it and realized I needed to catch up on my English colloquialisms. He still pokes fun at me about it, but now I make him check the orders. I think I am getting the last laugh.

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

Individualism. So many people have a message they want to say, it can be funny, political, poignant, or just plain silly, but they have fun with it and they love coming up with their own ideas. We love helping with that and giving them a voice during a time when they are covering their faces.

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

You can expect some pretty long nights and days getting a business up and running, but that is a good thing. If you find yourself in that situation, CELEBRATE…. And then think about how you can find easier ways to scale your time. There are plenty of options you can decide on that can free up your time, leaving you doing the most important activity, what you love. BTW, my bet, is that doing what you love is what has made you successful. THINK BIG!

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

I love making the charity part of the business. Whether it is donating proceeds, collaborating with charities, or donating products, I have continued to do all these things. During a time when people need more help than ever, it should really be a part of all businesses, IMHO.

I also like to think that the masks themselves with their messages are making the world a safer and more engaging place.

Do you have a favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share a story of how that was relevant to you in your life?

“Don’t leave for tomorrow, what you can do today” has been something I have heard and acted upon since I was a little girl. Back then it motivated me to make my bed, most recently it is what drove me to embark on this endeavor. I remember sitting back, relaxing with my husband after we received a ton of emails with interest in my masks, I think we received 100 orders in one day, mind you I had really just been doing it for family and friends for a few weeks. He looked at me and said what are you going to do with all this, is it going to be something for fun or are you going to go after it. I went after it and didn’t wait and see, and here I am today.

Do you see any fascinating developments emerging over the next few years in the fashion industry that you are excited about? Can you tell us about that?

I think fashion is going to be more local and it is going to be more unique. With trade and manufacturing coming back to LA, it is going to allow for our local designers with relationships to compound on their success in the pandemic. More people are coming out with ideas that are unique, personal, and casual, I think that trend is going to continue for some time and even impact professional dress if/when people go back to the office.

What are your “Top 5 Things Needed to Succeed in the Fashion Industry”. Please share a story or example for each.

Be authentic — people want to work with people who say what they mean and do what they say. They want to be able to count on you and being authentic is the quickest way to build trust. — Part of building scale in my designs was finding a manufacturer that was willing to take on a small project to see what would happen. I made sure to be direct on what I needed, respectful of their time and work, and always honor my commitment, that went a long way and we now have a great partnership that is mutually beneficial.

Do what you love — if you don’t love it, you won’t put your heart into it and if you don’t put your heart into it, it will become easier to become disillusioned if things don’t go your way and lose your creativity. This business is competitive and evolving, you can’t be easily discouraged and lose your creativity. — I remember at one point, I had been connected through social media and was totally excited about a partnership I was entering into, and at one point it had been several days since anyone had communicated back with me on the partnership. I threw my arms up and thought about all the things that were going wrong and how it was hard and whether it was all worth it. But then I stepped back, looked at all the great clients I had and the fun I was having and said, “things won’t always go my way, so what, I love what I am doing, and I need to keep my head up.” They called the next day.

If you can think it, you can do it — so often you can think of something not being possible and there are always plenty of reasons to not get started. Sometimes you just need to act on what you think and it can be amazing what you accomplish. — At some point, you are going to be faced or already faced a decision like I had, which was “Should I invest more in this business?” And sometimes you can’t answer that question with an equation, you have to answer it with a leap of faith. Always know if you can think of what it would take to make that investment successful, and believe in it, you can do it.

Always remember why you are in the business — I am in the business because I love it when people have fun and are excited about the way they look. I love it when I get a post or see a story with someone posing with their mask on, tagging their friends, and using their message on their mask to get their word out! It is quite fulfilling and that’s what drives me.

Make time for yourself — there were weeks when I first started where I ate poorly because the food was easier to get or didn’t work out or didn’t sleep because I was pouring everything into the business. It feels crucial at the time, but in reality, it sets you back. I now prioritize myself in my daily equation and I am much happier and personally successful because of it.

Every industry constantly evolves and seeks improvement. How do you think the fashion industry can improve itself? Can you give an example?

Technology for sure, I know some companies are already using it to their advantage, but I think they’re so much more that can be done from logistics to manufacturing to design with technology. An example would be as simple as the systems to coordinate merchandise ordering, delivery, and fulfillment for brick and mortar stores. The retail stores will need to invest in this space to compete with online sales. It’s where a lot of the business has moved to and continues to do so.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Simply stated, “Stop and Listen”. Too many people think they understand someone else’s perspective when they haven’t even listened to them. It can start in the home, with friends, in business, anywhere, but we are so programmed to constantly be moving, I don’t think it is natural to stop and listen anymore. Think of the positive impact listening would have on our families, co-workers, and society as a whole. I know it seems easy and apparent, but if we are all honest with ourselves, we can all do a better job of listening.

How can our readers follow you on social media?


This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!

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