Photoshoots at Leota are usually a community affair. We’re a bootstrapped business, meaning we don’t have investment money to spend on celebrity endorsements or photoshoots at Milk Studios. Growing up, my mom was very industrious and creative. We’d walk through art fairs and stores and my mom would always whisper “we could make that ourselves!” And we would.
I didn’t know it at the time, but she was preparing me for entrepreneurship. Starting my company without any experience in the fashion industry, I had to figure everything out on my own. I got off the subway at the Garment Center stop with a bag of homemade samples and a post it note with a patternmaker’s name on it. And that's how Leota began.
Nine years later, I’m still DIY-ing it. For our Santa Barbara shoot, my models and I carried the samples ourselves to the location. The whole thing was styled, photographed, and modeled by my family.
Mariah Carey notoriously requires 20 white kittens and 100 white doves in her dressing room before a show. Well, we didn’t have a dressing room, we changed on location. And no kittens, just this sweet stray cat who followed us around.
Being naturally curly, I always do my own hair. I've had one too many location hair stylists come at me with a brush to learn this lesson.
After a day of flowing as much positive energy as possible while also lovingly telling people what to do, I’m starving. We had an outdoor wood-fired oven in Santa Barbara, so the pizza test kitchen was in full effect.
Doing it yourself is hard work, but immensely rewarding. We had a blast spending time with family, enjoying the sunny views of Santa Barbara, and relaxing in the hot tub after a long day of shooting! Check out the final shots from the photoshoot here, and on our Instagram.