#SWAAYthenarrative

Why We Started Our Own Marketplace

Business

For as long as we can remember, we have both been drawn to creative fields and careers that allowed us the freedom to explore our inspirations.


For Diana, this path lead her to becoming a fashion designer turned entrepreneur with her own namesake brand. Shortly after graduating from OTIS College of Art and Design, she began her design career at Arden B and then moved on to designing for Lucky Brand. After Lucky Brand, she was approached by Glenn Williams (formerly of Capital Tailors), to partner with him on a new contemporary line he was creating called SNT Workshop.

After establishing herself in the industry, she was given the exciting opportunity to help launch yet another new brand - Patterson J. Kincaid - as head designer. In between projects, Diana filled her time freelancing for Frette, which gave her a peek into the luxury market.

Ahyoung and her children

The creative freedom also encouraged her to take her first entrepreneurial step as she finally felt ready to launch her own namesake line dRA. Today dRA is carried in over 200 stores both nationally and internationally, and has been hailed by Bloomberg as one of the “Top 9 Brands Making Los Angeles The Next Fashion Capital”. The brand counts Beyoncé, Jennifer Lawrence, Elle Fanning, and Jessica Alba as frequent fans. Her first brick and mortar store recently opened at the newly developed ROW DTLA in the Arts District. You can find her working at the store on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

The marketplace

For Ahyoung, it first lead to a career as a retail fashion buyer and eventually the opportunity to open her own retail business. After leaving her consulting job as a merchandiser and planner in the women’s apparel space, she sought to find more flexibility while pursuing her creative passions as a new mother. A children’s retail business seemed to be the perfect way to utilize both her professional experience and personal interests at that stage in her life, and she soon opened a brick and mortar store named Lux Tots in Pasadena, CA alongside a branded e-commerce website of the same name. As business grew and she built a following both online and in her local community, her schedule became less flexible and she inevitably became more consumed in the logistical and operational side of retail. Once again, Ahyoung found herself creatively unfulfilled and searching for ways to bring more creative endeavors into her professional life. She realized she was most inspired by the brand development and design aspect of her business. During her time at Lux Tots, she had also built relationships with many fellow creative entrepreneurs involved in children’s fashion and lifestyle, and she was determined to find a way to bring these two things together.

Later in their adult lives, Diana and Ahyoung reconnected as not only entrepreneurs but also as mothers. They shared their story with SWAAY:

We both discovered the challenges of balancing a family and running a business, a point we really appreciated and bonded over. At the same time, we both found a shared love of going to all the flea markets and fairs that were popping up in Los Angeles. It was both exciting and inspiring to see gatherings of local entrepreneurs like ourselves supporting each other and forming a community of likeminded creators and makers.

We immediately knew this movement was something we both wanted to take part in and suddenly the idea of Modern Artisan Marketplace was born.

As mothers, we really enjoy bringing our kids to these events but wished there was more convenience provided to accommodate families. Our goal with MAM was to bridge the gap between artisanal markets and an elevated retail experience by offering convenience and great amenities, something we had not yet experienced. Ample parking and clean bathrooms were key, and it was important to us to keep it boutique-sized so it never became overwhelming.

We also wanted to bring in an element of participation and entertainment for both adults and kids so we introduced a variety of workshops, in hopes that MAM could be a destination for individuals and families to come and spend the day.

We sought to create a community of artisans focusing on fashion, home, accessories, kids and beauty that shared our modern aesthetic, and we found that Platform LA would be the ideal home for this project, as both their aesthetic and amenities fit our vision perfectly. Being avid shoppers, we started reaching out to all of our favorite brands and were thrilled to find that so many of them were already eagerly looking for opportunities to connect with their customers in person, and the rest is history!

As we approach our second event, Modern Artisan Marketplace continues to support the global movement toward shopping small and supporting local businesses. Our weekend long event highlights a carefully curated collection of emerging artisans and inspiring brands. Featuring retail, workshops, and interactive experiences for guests of all ages, MAM is a platform for brands to share their products and services with a likeminded audience. We hope that it is a unique and family-friendly experience that brings together a diverse and engaged community.

One day we hope to expand into a global pop up marketplace and highlight different local creators and makers from all over the world, growing our local community into an international one. In the near future, we are working on bringing MAM to Newport Beach in the beautiful Lido Marina Village. Stay tuned!

5 min read
Health

3 Healthy Ways to Relieve Stress Each Evening (Instead of Reaching for Another Cocktail)

When we envision a person who is suffering from substance use disorder (SUD)—defined by having a history of past misuse, experiencing increasing mental health symptoms, or having a family history of addiction—we often picture someone waking up and instantly grabbing their first drink. However, in my experience working with those battling SUD for nearly a decade, I've learned that everyone's relationship with alcohol looks different and having a few too many drinks at night can be just as dangerous.

The time of day, amount, or type of alcohol one drinks doesn't define if they suffer from SUD or not—it's the compulsion to drink. By focusing on healthy stress relievers and implementing them into your daily routine, you aren't just avoiding another glass at night, you are curbing any inclination for SUD that you may have.

While you may feel the desire to reach for another drink after dinner and putting the kids to bed to relieve some of the stress you incurred that day, there are other things that you can do that are much more beneficial to your mental health and wellbeing.

Risks of Reaching for Another Drink

Reaching for another cocktail or glass of wine can feel like a great way to relieve the stress of the day at the time, but over time it can actually lead to the opposite. Excessive drinking is known to lead to increased anxiety, depression, and other mental health disorders such as increased risk of family problems, altered judgment, and worsened sleep quality. These can all lead to increased stress and create a continuous cycle I have seen in many of my patients, which often prove difficult to break.

Increased alcohol consumption can directly impact an individual's mood and temperament, too. In my patients, I've seen a connection between increased alcohol consumption and irritability, fatigue, and loss of interest in activities that previously brought that person joy—activities that people should always put time into, especially right now during the pandemic.

While drinking in moderation doesn't have serious implications for some, others are already at increased risk for SUD. One drink per day is considered moderate for women, while eight drinks or more in a single week is categorized as heavy drinking. It's important to monitor your intake—whether you are at increased risk for SUD or not. It is all too easy for one glass to become another, and then another. And if you keep reaching for just one more drink, you can start to build a tolerance, as it requires more and more alcohol to achieve the desired effect. This can result in dangerous, addictive habits that will alter your life, and the lives of those who care for you.

Three Healthy Ways to Relieve Evening Stress

Stress relief from alcohol is short-lived, but choosing healthier, alternative stress relievers can provide long-lasting benefits for both your mental and physical wellbeing. At Wellbridge, our team not only focuses on treating addiction but also on teaching healthy habits to support ongoing sobriety. And many of these learnings can be implemented to avoid addiction by handling stress better as well!

Below are three healthy stress relief ideas you can implement into your routine:

  1. Mindfulness exercises can be a powerful and mentally stimulating stress reliever. Throughout our therapeutic program at Wellbridge, we provide different opportunities to cultivate mindfulness. For example, breathing exercises, such as box breathing or diaphragmatic breathing, mindful walking, and progressive muscle relaxation. If you're looking for entry, guided meditation, check out this YouTube channel where experts post mindfulness exercises each week.
  2. Human connection is invaluable. Whether it is your spouse, your children, a friend, or even a therapist, connecting with someone else can be a great way to relieve stress. The additional perspective that another person provides can also help us feel that the anxieties and stressors we are experiencing are more manageable. If you are feeling increased stress from loneliness or isolation, reach out and schedule a Zoom coffee hour with a friend, or call a loved one to check-in and chat.
  3. Physical activity is an excellent stress reliever as well, for so many reasons. Not only can it help us get our mind off of stress, it enables our bodies to release endorphins and provides long-lasting physical health benefits. Physical activity doesn't need to be a full-blown workout if you don't feel up to it, or simply don't have extended periods of time to dedicate to a longer exercise regimen. Even a short walk or some stretching can go a long way towards improving your mood. I enjoy following guided, online yoga practices for both mindfulness practice and physical activity.

Despite my years working in this space, I am no stranger to giving in to stress. However, I've learned that by allotting myself a little time each morning and evening for activities that set a positive tone in my life—like meditation, journaling, and exercise—I've been able to better manage my stress and feel more prepared for heightened periods of stress. Do I manage to set aside personal time every morning and evening? Definitely not—life happens! But by doing our best to take regular time out for ourselves, we're all certain to be in a better place emotionally and mentally.

Putting Your Mental Health & Wellbeing First

It's important to also recognize that it isn't just stress that causes us to reach for another drink at night. With the added pressures and responsibilities of women in today's world, having another glass of our favorite drink at the end of the day can often seem like a quicker and easier option than other healthier ways to relieve stress.

However, it's essential to put your mental health and wellbeing front and center in your priority list—something that many women struggle with. But just like the oxygen masks on an airplane, you can't take care of others if you don't take care of yourself first. By focusing on implementing small, healthy habits and making them a seamless part of your daily routine, you ensure that you can show up in all aspects of your life and for all the people in your life.

If you are struggling with increased stress, be specific and honest with your support system about your need to preserve your mental wellbeing. Prioritizing your needs will help you be there for other people you care about in your life.

I always refer back to a quote from a Dar Williams song—a song about therapy no less! "Oh, how I loved everybody else when I finally got to talk so much about myself." Talk about your needs with others and find time to develop healthy coping habits. And if you feel as though you've already created an unhealthy relationship with alcohol, discuss that relationship with a medical advisor to learn if advanced treatment is the right option for you.