Your hardest obstacles will be your biggest blessings. If I knew what I know now. I would have known these trails were character building and would propel me into my destiny and prepare me for the blessings I am currently living. I remember starting at a job as an associate designer and working extremely hard. One of the partners in the company was young, inexperienced and inappropriate. He and I would get into it all of the time, many times for unrelated work issues. What I did not realize that this was grooming me for a leadership role. Growing thick skin to handle multiple personalities at once and problem-solving. I quickly learned “what not to do” in reverse taught me everything to do! Spoiler alert later I became the creative director at that company and the jerk was no longer a jerk lol.
As a part of my series about pop culture’s rising stars, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Staci Sherri. Like the metamorphosis of a caterpillar to a butterfly, Staci has used the world of fashion design as wings to propel her through the beautiful institution of life. Born in Maryland, she developed her aesthetic on fashion and beauty at an early age. Equipped with an unparalleled creative flair, Staci matriculated at the International Academy of Design and Technology in Tampa, FL, earning her Bachelor’s of Science and Fine Arts degree. After graduating, Staci was sure that she was ready to take a bite out of the Big Apple. She dove right in, preparing to become an independent fashion designer. As a first step towards this goal, Sherri impressed design teams as an intern at Beckerman and Rocawear. Later, she continued to strengthen her design expertise and expand her knowledge of the industry while working with Beyoncé and Tina Knowles. With a keen eye and a sharp sense of style, Staci Sherri has taken the ultimate flight with her brand “Staci Sherri.” With all of the wonderful growth, Ms. Sherri has experienced as a designer, she continues to flutter, magically, through the world of design, beauty and motivational speaking.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?
I grew up in Baltimore, Maryland. Born into a union I am very thankful for my parents, laying the foundation of love, passion, and hard work. I come from humble beginnings, I never went without having everything I needed. I am one of 3 children. I have an older sister and brother. I was very lucky because having older siblings was like having a second set of parents to look out for you. To guide you and to care for you. I am the baby, so as you could imagine baby girl got away with everything.
Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?
Growing up with a big sister I got to witness things before my time. I would see my mom take my sister shopping for specific occasions, dance, parties, and prom. I was always fascinated with the preparation of beautification of events. This fascination continued through-out my childhood. I would then attend the hair salon with my mom and sister. Closely watching the women behavior change as they would enter the salon one way and leave transformed feeling brand new. It was so captivating I knew I wanted to make women feel brand new. My motto became “Enhancing outer beauty while fostering inner beauty. Because when you look good, you feel good and you do good.
Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
One thing that’s interesting for sure is having the opportunity to work for two of the biggest moguls, icons and power couple, JayZ and Beyonce. Going from listening to these icons and reading about them to working for them. I interned at Rocawear and then landed my first design job with Beyonce and Mrs. Tina designing for Dereon by House of Dereon.
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?
When I first started I would get so excited about opportunities and would share with people out of excitement. I learned quickly not to prematurely spill the tea on business ventures as sometimes things did not always pan out.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
NYFW, it’s always so exciting to gear up for the fashion Super Bowl — that is what I like to call New York Fashion Week.
We are very interested in diversity in the entertainment industry. Can you share three reasons with our readers about why you think it’s important to have diversity represented in film and television? How can that potentially affect our culture?
Diversity is key! Representation is so important. Can you truly tell a captivating story in a bubble? The same ole boring characters? Entertainment is influenced by diversity, whether it’s stolen or portrayed. We as a people have all contributed so much to the human race. Different backgrounds and cultures have invented many things we use today so why not acknowledge EVERYTHING.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why? Please share a story or example for each.
1.) I wish someone told me to just “Close your mouth”. When you are young and starting you feel the need to defend yourself in all situations and some situations you need to just shut your mouth before making matters worse.
2.) Your hardest obstacles will be your biggest blessings. If I knew what I know now. I would have known these trails were character building and would propel me into my destiny and prepare me for the blessings I am currently living. I remember starting at a job as an associate designer and working extremely hard. One of the partners in the company was young, inexperienced and inappropriate. He and I would get into it all of the time, many times for unrelated work issues. What I did not realize that this was grooming me for a leadership role. Growing thick skin to handle multiple personalities at once and problem-solving. I quickly learned “what not to do” in reverse taught me everything to do! Spoiler alert later I became the creative director at that company and the jerk was no longer a jerk lol.
3.) I wish I was told… You will experience racism and lots of it but this is how you go about it in this fashion industry… You will be tried because of the color of your skin and for no other reason you will have to prove that you qualify even if someone else comes along with less experience and talent like you. I was once told when I received a job “Oh you must have been qualified because they do not hire black people”. How do you even respond to ignorance? Moments like that was very hard when you are in spaces that you find lack diversity and people that look like you that you can relate to. I’ve learned in spite of to press on.
4.) I wish someone would have told me don’t worry it gets better. Thankfully I never gave up so I am experiencing better. When you are in specific seasons all you see is what is in front of you. You can barely focus on what’s before you. Stay the course.
5.) You do not need your job! I wish I knew my true value back then. Because many times I would get jobs and opportunities and be so grateful for the opportunity that I would forget that it’s an exchange. An exchange of services and it’s no favor or handout.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
I would tell my colleagues in this industry you are enough. To remember it’s a marathon not a race, approach with cautions. Listen to your intuition. Whatever is for you will flow to and through you with ease. Force nothing and create from overflow and not lack. Keep healthy boundaries and realistic expectations and you will be fine.
You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire 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. 🙂
I would like to spark the movement of inner beauty. Turning the light and attention within. If we focused as much time on the inside as we do our exterior we would all have more compassion and empathy with others in return the world would be a better place. It is hard enough being human let alone living up to the expectations we place on ourselves.
None of us can achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
Yes. It takes a village and I am thankful for my tribe. The love and support, encouragement and patience it takes as I sacrifice time and special moments in my loved one’s lives. I would also like to highlight a really good friend of mine Sakeya Donaldson. Sakeya was the bridge to my internship at Jayz clothing company Rocawear. Landing me a meeting with Michelle Carter, all because she was wearing one of my signatures pieces. When she was complimented on my design Sakeya plugged me advising that I would be in New York City soon for an internship interview. Fast forward I accepted two internships at once not willing to pass up on this opportunity.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
Never give up. Never stop dreaming. Break your dreams down to goals and your goals down to steps anything is possible. All you have to do is believe with action. I am living proof. Dreams are real!
Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂
Michelle Obama, the first African American first lady of the United States. 1st Lady led with style, grace, beauty, dignity, and a lovely sense of humor. That’s my type. I would love to dress her someday!
How can our readers follow you on social media?
Please keep in touch. Find me on IG @stacisherri, twitter @stacisherri and facebook @stacisherriinc. I won’t spam you, but I will keep you informed. Until next time, Keep Shining~