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Meet Arian Foster of Tom Girl in Downtown Los Angeles

Today we’d like to introduce you to Arian Foster.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
Originally from Detroit, Michigan, I grew up an only child in a house full of single women, so shopping was such a bonding moment between my family and I. Every time I shopped with my Grammy, I was so in awe of learning how to bargain on a budget and how to scope quality pieces. I obtained a Bachelors degree in fashion and marketing at Eastern Michigan University in 2015. During college, I took a class that required a trip to California to explore the wholesale markets and I completely fell in love, I knew that this was where I wanted to be. During my studies, I gained interest in visual merchandising and manufacturing, I had no idea how many roles there were in the corporate world of retail. I’ve worked in retail for so long, I began to really pay attention to how the companies operated, how they managed budgets, inventory, and marketing. I centered all of my class projects around a lifestyle brand that represented me- an unapologetic, versatile style that every woman can relate to and feel confident in. After graduation, I put my ideas into play to launch Tom Girl. It’s pretty surreal to see my dreams actually come to life. The freedom to express myself through fashion and people can actually relate and understand my vision is amazing.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
My journey definitely hasn’t been easy. My freshman year of college my dad passed unexpectedly, I took a year off just to get my mind right. I’ve switched my major a few times. I’ve taken many financial losses, having to balance bills and financing my brand. Overbuying and underselling merchandise. Moving to a new state definitely takes some time to adjust. Despite the uncontrollable, everything that hasn’t went my way has built tough skin, tested my faith and taught me a lesson but it never deterred me from my goals.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Tom Girl story. Tell us more about the business.
I am the CEO of Tom Girl Shop which is a clothing line that breaks the social norms of identifying masculinity and femininity through fashion. The inspiration for Tom Girl stems from growing up playing sports, climbing trees, just being an overall tomboy not afraid to get dirty or scrape my knees from playing rough, but who was also forced to wear the puffy Easter dresses with the hat to match and the lace socks. Merging these two style personalities compliment each other so well for so many. It’s the best of both worlds. Tom Girl has been my baby since college. I’m still learning as I go. Being a start up takes a lot of planning ahead and there’s no time for procrastination. When I have an idea I must act on it as soon as possible. I launched the brand in November of 2018 starting with swimwear. I look forward to creating an androgynous collection that stays true to my brand. Another business venture that inspired Tom Girl is City Girl Big Dreams organization, which I am co-founder of, and is a social networking platform that empowers women pursue their dreams and provides the resources to do so. CGBD is a hub for women to share information and thoughts on entrepreneurship, host forum discussions to express their hardships and accomplishments throughout their journey, and post jobs and internships for their brands. I am also a chair member of GoFundHER, which is a crowd-funding platform that helps women and other organizations raise money for special projects. I also maintain and create the websites and marketing for all three entities. As an entrepreneur, I’m most proud of how passionate I am to help and inspire other women to transform ideas into reality. In 2017, only 2% of the  85 billion raised in venture capital backing went to female-founded startups based in the U.S. It has become a mission of mines to bring awareness to venture capital funding for women, especially women of color, and to share my ongoing journey to success. Being transparent in my process is what sets me apart from others. People see the end results, but never know what obstacles you go through to get there and I’m willing to show how much dedication it really takes.

Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
I don’t believe that it’s been luck, it’s more about having the drive and determination to really carry out what you believe in and staying consistent when the unexpected happens. The most important factors that play a role in my life is self-care and staying positive. Making sure that I am at my best mentally and spiritually is what keeps me focused and fuels my success. Being a good person has gotten me far and has attracted good people to me.  Being in the right places at the right times and making genuine connections is what it’s all about. What you put into this world is exactly what you get out of it.

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Image Credit:

Photos By Vitto and Franchesca Lamarre

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