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Meet Sabrina Johnson of Made For You in South LA

Today we’d like to introduce you to Sabrina Johnson.

Sabrina, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I’m a body +++ artist, choreographer, and creative entrepreneur. Growing up in South LA my parents made an effort to keep my brother and I busy and off the streets. I was studying dance at the Lula Washington Dance Theatre while my brother was doing all things sport at Rancho Cienega Park. Balancing street light curfews and jazz outfits were the norms for me. I traded sleepovers on the weekends for late night rehearsal or performances with the Lula Washington Youth Dance Ensemble. Before puberty, I had already performed on most of Los Angeles’ greatest stages including El Capitan, The Ford and, The Dorothy Chandler.

I continued to study dance at Alexander Hamilton High School Academy of Music under the direction of Karen McDonald. Mcdonald helped to shape my mind beyond just being a dancer and is a phenomenal mentor and teacher in the dance community who had a heavy hand in making me the artist I am today. Post high school I did what most honor students do; go to college. I was accepted into the dance program at University of California Santa Barbara but soon decided that I wanted to be fully immersed in dance and took a leave of absence to study with the Alonzo King LINES Ballet Training Program in San Francisco.

In 2012, I moved back to Los Angeles due to injuries I sustained while working as a freelance artist. This was one of the most challenging times since I honestly had never thought about what I would do if I couldn’t dance and I didn’t even know what else I was “good at”. During this time, I discovered Pinterest which quickly became an obsession and I rekindled my love for DIY projects just to keep busy and not think about my injuries. I’d grab pallets from off the street and turn it into a planter or I’d make scrap wood into a clock. I was creepily driving around alleys and trash cans looking for the next project as if I was on some kind of HGTV competition.

In the summer of 2013, I finally started dancing again and joined Ate9 Dance Company in 2014 under the direction of Danielle Agami. In the same year, I created an accessory line for brown ballerinas called Kinetic Essentials and co-founded the movement collective No) one. Art House. Within two years, we had grown so much that I didn’t feel confident that my current skill set could take us to the next level. In 2016 I made the decision to go back to school acquiring a BA in Anthropology from the University of California, Santa Barbara with a focus on functional art and cultures of sustainability in the beauty industry.

When I returned to Los Angeles in 2018, I had a new obsession with sustainability and making natural beauty products. The rebranding took some time, I was so ready to carve a new path but felt stuck in the past emotionally after my brand Kinetic Essentials folded. I would sit and meditate hoping something would reveal itself, and it did in the most organic way when a friend of mine messaged me via Instagram about a custom body scrub. Immediately the light bulb went off and Everything Made For You was born. Today, MADE FOR YOU is focused on building a sustainable brand in the cosmetics industry. From product development to client collaboration each product is handmade with sustainable materials.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Nothing about this journey has been smooth except for my skin honey! At times life just feels like one big adversity. I learned early on that my body type wasn’t very desirable in the dance community. I remember having these diet meetings where select students were forced to talk about nutrition for weight loss and that’s why I advocate for body positivity today.

In San Francisco, I was having trouble paying for the training program and ended up leaving the program prematurely. I started doing work study instead where I’d help with the administrative task and cleaning the studios so I could take some classes. At some point, I lost my housing and was homeless for about four months. I stayed with my friend for a bit and had a twin size mattress on their kitchen floor but when their landlord found out they threatened to evict them so I went to stay with my boyfriend at the time who ended up being really abusive.

When I decided to return to Santa Barbara to complete my undergraduate degree, I landed a job doing in-home support for two guys living with developmental challenges. It seemed like a sweet situation but I had a hard time navigating being in school full time while having a 24/7 caretaker position. After six months, I was fired during the middle of finals week and simultaneously my computer died erasing all my work. Sometimes you just have to laugh at how ridiculous life can be and just move forward. I ended up blowing through my savings and taking out a loan to cover my expenses for the rest of the school year. When I returned to LA last year, I was struggling to find a job that I was actually qualified for. I could not even secure an interview. After two months, I was able to secure a part-time job at a gym. Around the same time, my friend made a request for a customized body scrub and slowly things have started to fall into place.

Made For You – what should we know? What do you do best? What sets you apart from others?
Inspired by cultural ecology and anthropology MADE FOR YOU is focused on building a sustainable brand in the cosmetics industry making handmade and customizable products for skin, hair, beard, body, and home. We are most known for our luxurious natural products and customized labels featuring clients personal names on the packaging.

From product development to client collaboration we proudly hand make each product with sustainable materials. When you shop at Made For You, you’re contributing to a small business that sources fair trade ingredients and makes products in-house with OUR hands!

What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
It is a dream come true to be able to connect with others through my products while taking action to eliminate plastic waste. For a long time, I kept trying new things only to realize what I didn’t want to do but I finally feel like I’ve found a way to merge my love for science, sustainability, and product innovation. One of my favorite memories was sharing my products with Serena Williams at a pop-up event in Los Angeles this past winter. But my proudest moments are when people write me messages about how much my products have helped them feel more confident. Helping people stay in motion with our pain salve, rejuvenating dry hair with the “Love-in conditioner” or restoring hair loss with “Liquid Gold Hair & Beard Growth Serum” that’s the real fuel that makes our work worth it.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Holly Lynch Photography

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