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Meet Trailblazer Judith Compton

Today we’d like to introduce you to Judith Compton.

Judith, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I started my career in retail working with luxury retailer Nordstrom, where I worked for several years to learn the ins and outs of the fashion retail industry and the importance of customer service. After leaving Nordstrom, I designed and manufactured my own women’s apparel line. I then switched gears, running sales and marketing for a wholesale apparel manufacturer, after which I transitioned into retail consulting. Eventually, I opened my own store, Aesthetyx, in Huntington Beach, where I curated a collection of elevated artisan designs, from apparel and jewelry to home decor. I’ve always had a passion for artisans and artisan-made goods and knew that I one day wanted to create my own line of well-designed, high-end, artisan-made products.  I have always wanted to find a way to give back to the Philippines, where my parents are originally from, and help to empower talented Filipino artisans.

On my first trip to the Philippines several years ago, I was fortunate enough to meet the most amazing fair trade cooperative of women artisans who handcrafted jewelry. Since I was a young girl, I have always had a fascination with beads and gemstones and even made my own jewelry. I’m also passionate about mindfulness and meditation. When I met these artisans, I had an “aha” moment, where I discovered I could combine all of my passions: I could design mindful mala bead jewelry that’s handcrafted by these talented artisans, providing them with fair wages, a safe work environment and a sustainable way of living at the same time. And that’s how Mala and Mantra was born!

We launched in February of 2014 to the luxury spa and resort industry. Since then, we’ve grown tremendously, with wholesale partners all across the globe. We also have an expanding e-commerce business, www.malaandmantra.com. I’ve been incredibly grateful to be able to fulfill my mission of empowering the world through wellness–one mala bead at a time.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Not at all! I refer to myself as a chronic creative entrepreneur who’s always looking to use my talents and skills to serve a higher purpose. I started my first business when I was 23 years old. It was a women’s apparel line that was all made in Southern California and sold in specialty fashion boutiques across the US. This was my first experience in entrepreneurship, which I quickly learned was not so easy or as fun and glamorous as I originally thought it would be. However, along the way, I learned how resourceful I was, and how I had a knack for figuring things out as they were presented to me. Being-self funded was the biggest challenge of my first venture, which led to a lot of creative financing and also taught me how no organization could run without sales, whether it be a product or a service. The ability to tell your story and sell your product with the right team on board is critical.

Since that time, I’ve launched other businesses. Each business I’ve concepted and created has taught me so much. I’ve learned that people are your most important asset, as well as the fact that procedures and processes are necessary to create a successful business–which can grow beyond you, as the entrepreneur, wearing all the hats. Through almost 27 years of being an entrepreneur, I’ve learned a lot about myself, both as a business owner and also as a manager and employee. One of the biggest challenges I have faced–and still face to this day–is delegating. I have a tendency to be a perfectionist and want to control the outcome of everything; however, I realize that in order to grow to the level I would like Mala and Mantra to be, I must be willing to delegate more. I also still face the challenge of time management, as there is always so much on my plate. This is a work in progress.

For women who are just starting their journey, I advise them to have a plan. I’ve learned from not creating a business plan for my first few businesses how important taking the time to write out a business plan is to your success. It forces you to put your vision to the test to see if it will be a viable and profitable business based on research in your industry and financial projections. The plan also helps to define your company’s mission and the end customer, which are two very important things that define your brand.

Also, invest time in developing meaningful relationships in the industry you have selected to be part of. Getting to know people on a deeper level and creating a network has been invaluable to me through decades of entrepreneurship. The best part of nurturing these contacts is that they then help introduce you to other contacts who may be valuable to your business. Even better, some of these individuals also become some of your closest friends. Get involved in groups or associations focused on your type of business. Do your research and interview other people in your industry to find out which associations or groups they deem to be the best.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Mala and Mantra – what should we know?
Mala and Mantra consciously creates mindful mala bead jewelry and accessories. It’s our mission to empower the world through wellness. We want to make the lives of everyone we touch better, whether that’s the customers who are wearing our hand-crafted jewelry or the women artisans who are making it. Our mala beads have a message of mindfulness, meditation, and wellness behind them, and we hope that they provide healing energy and joy to everyone who wears them. We’re known not just for the incredible quality of our products and our beautiful designs, but also for our dedication to spread mindfulness and wellness.

I’m extremely proud of the sustainable income we provide to our fair trade women’s artisan cooperative in the Philippines. I have always wanted to give back to my Filipino heritage and community, so this aspect of our business is very meaningful and fulfilling for me. I am also very proud of our mission to consciously create products that empower the world through wellness and provide messages of mindfulness through each piece. It is our hope that this jewelry allows our customers to achieve their own personal enlightenment and greater sense of well being.

One of our most important distinguishing factors as a brand is our commitment to the values of mindfulness, wellness and fair, sustainable fashion. We also always strive for authenticity in what we create and how we market our brand. Our entire team is committed to telling our story in an authentic voice and sharing our messages of mindfulness and wellness with the world.

Pricing:

  • Mantra Gemstone Core Collection: $38-$254
  • Gemstone Goddess Couture Collection: $86-$598
  • Chakra Mala Collection: $34-$168

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
LA 76 Strategic Design & Photography

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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