Today we’d like to introduce you to Clarissa Serrano.
Clarissa, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
LA has always been my playground and growing up in Hollywood definitely had a huge impact on who I am today. My friends growing up were a wild bunch, consisting of graffiti artists, skaters, and musicians. I was always so inspired by their sense of art and imagination. During my teenage years, you can catch me biking around Sunset Blvd., skating through Fairfax and Melrose, or hanging with friends at the art walk in Downtown LA. It was during this time when my interest in style, art, and creativity truly sparked.
Fast forward to my early twenties, I had begun working in retail and fell in love with clothing, style, marketing, and sales. I also got into photography and was dabbling in different styles including landscape, lifestyle, editorial, and fashion. As a side hustle, I was doing freelance photography gigs for local businesses such as cafes and fashion boutiques. I fell in love with working with local businesses and began taking social media courses online to add further value to my clients. This side hustle quickly turned into a passion of mine. I then started taking digital marketing courses online and began to take college seriously when I transferred to Cal State Long Beach for my bachelor’s in marketing.
It was during my final year at Cal State Long Beach when I came up with the idea of Young and Woke Society. Young and Woke Society started out as a passion project. At first, the idea was to create a streetwear clothing brand that had motivational words and phrases that look and feel good. But the more I developed the brand, the more I realized that Young and Woke Society was much more than just a clothing brand, it’s a mindset, a lifestyle, a community. The goal of Young and Woke Society is to encourage, inspire, and celebrate entrepreneurship with style.
Recently, we began a video series called Behind-the-Mind where we interview local entrepreneurs in all stages of life. We touch on topics such as childhood, mentors, mindset, challenges, health, and so on. The idea is that we can get a true taste of what it feels like to be an entrepreneur while promoting positivity, motivation, and style. There is still more yet to come with Young and Woke Society, and we are excited to share this journey with you!
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
It was definitely not a smooth road. Life has taken me through ups and downs during this journey of self-improvement and self-discovery. During my late teens, I went through drug addiction, depression, and anxiety. To be honest, it is still something that I continuously have to be on top of today. Thankfully, I have the support of my friends and family to get me through it. What also helps is practicing meditation, journaling, eating healthy, and working out on a regular basis! Whenever I feel stressed at work or in my personal life, I usually go hiking at Griffith Park or Runyon Canyon. There is this trail that I go to by the Observatory that has a 360 view of the city! It’s gorgeous! I use this spot to meditate and think about life, my goals, and dreams.
As I grew older, the challenges I face mostly revolved around my career and business. Being a young woman entrepreneur is a challenge in itself, but honestly, I try not to think about it. I don’t ever want to use that as an excuse for not trying my best or putting in my greatest effort.
Recently, the biggest challenge I faced was finding a business partner who was dedicated and willing to put in the time and effort into helping me create Young and Woke Society. I’ve had my share of experiences with potential business partners who in the end, didn’t work out or fell through. Fortunately, I was able to team up with a friend of mine, Kierre, who I used to work with at my old job as a marketing coordinator. He was working in the sales department and was dabbling in eCommerce. I knew he was a great fit for Young and Woke Society because we shared a love for books, self-improvement, and entrepreneurship! As I told Kierre more about the brand and what I wanted to do with it, the more he was interested in working alongside as a partner to help me build the brand. Earlier this year, we partnered up and officially launched Young and Woke Society in June 2019!
Please tell us about Young and Woke Society – what should we know?
Young and Woke Society is a motivational streetwear brand that makes a statement. We specialize in motivational and stylish ready-to-wear apparel that is inspired by those who dare to create an extraordinary lifestyle. Our goal as a brand is to encourage, inspire, and celebrate entrepreneurship through style. All of our clothing have positive messaging and inspiring designs that are stylish and unique.
YWS is known for creating inspiring streetwear and collaborating with entrepreneurs from all walks of life. During the summer, we collaborated with a local entrepreneur for a new video series project called Behind-the-Mind. In this series, we bring a spotlight to local entrepreneurs. We share their stories of triumph and struggle and capture what it really feels like to be an entrepreneur.
What I am most proud of is the photoshoot we held for our Spring/Summer2019 Collection. We invited models and photographers and had a videographer to shoot the behind-the-scenes footage. The energy in the room was spectacular! I have to give a shoutout to my team, they rocked it that day!! It was a great feeling seeing everyone there doing their thing— the models modeling, the photographers getting their perfect shot, and my team coordinating and making sure that everything ran smoothly. It was simply magical! Check out our behind-the-scenes video here:
Young and Woke Society is different from most clothing brands because we are not just a clothing brand. We are a community of entrepreneurs, artists, and hustlers who are passionate about what we do. Young and Woke Society represents entrepreneurship, style, and motivation through our clothing. And as we grow as a company, our goal is to inspire, encourage, and celebrate entrepreneurship… with style!
Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
Well, first off, I wouldn’t have gotten this far without the support of my mom. I am beyond grateful for everything that she has provided me, and can’t thank her enough for being my guardian angel. I also have to give it to my friends who inspire me every day and who have been my ride or dies since day one!
The person who influenced me the most in terms of business was my first mentor, Legacy. I met him while I was working at Bank of America as a teller. During that time, I was taking online courses for social media marketing and was set on starting my own digital marketing consulting business. Legacy walked in one day and we struck up a conversation about his business. He had a recording studio that he was starting up and needed help with marketing! Long story short, I quit my job at Bank of America and worked with Legacy at his studio, Born a Legacy Studios. This had a huge impact on my confidence! I was only twenty-three at the time and there I was in charge of managing the marketing and operations of the business. Not only did Legacy trust me with his business, but he also mentored me and groomed me to be a true leader.
- Website: www.youngandwokesociety.com
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: @youngandwokesociety
- Facebook: @youngandwokesociety
- Twitter: @yws_la
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