San Clemente-based fashion designer Isaura Garner is a fun, happy and passionate person. Her women’s clothing line exudes these qualities. Luckily, for the team at San Clemente Website Design, she entrusted us to make sure her website is just as colorful, bold and professional as she is.
The inspiration for Isaura’s clothing line comes from her native Costa Rica and is reflected in the bright, tropical colors of the fabrics she uses as well as the soft, flowing style of her designs. Her love affair with fashion started in high school when, through fashion magazines, she fell in love with Valentino, Versace and other high-end designers.
“I would look through these magazines, as a teenager, and say to myself, ‘this is what I want to do. I want to make these beautiful clothes,’” she says. “I wanted to bring that sophisticated level of fashion to the everyday woman with clothing that mixes comfort and style.”
With her dreams in focus, Isaura immediately started preparing herself for a career in fashion design. However, opportunities for an education in her chosen field were limited in her hometown, and it would be two years after she graduated from high school before a fashion design college would open near her. But it did and, in 2001, she finished school and prepared for her bright future as a designer. It was during this time that she met her husband, who was on a surf trip in Costa Rica, and she ended up coming back to Orange County with him.
“Everything happened really fast,” she says. “I was only 22, just out of college, never had an actual job, didn’t speak English, and suddenly I’m living in another country.”
Isaura adjusted to the sudden changes in her life by throwing herself into her first love: fashion. She started by making dresses for her friends, mostly for parties, and other special events. She loved designing clothes, but was starting to feel like little more than a seamstress. However, it wasn’t long before she and her new husband made another move; this time to Hawaii. Being back in a tropical setting had a strong effect on Isaura.
“Once we got to Hawaii, I said ‘enough messing around; it’s time to start my own business.’ So I went out, bought two sewing machines and fabric, and started sewing dresses that appealed to me.”
What appealed to Isaura were very graphic, vivid colors. “I’m from a very colorful country where people wear bright colors, and I just don’t see in black and white,” she continues. “If I go into the fabric store with the intent of buying more muted fabrics, I still come out with fabrics in a variety of bright colors.”
One of Isaura’s beautiful designs
Isaura’s clothing made a statement from the get-go, but she was worried her eccentric color palettes would be too much for the average woman. She plowed ahead anyway and made a bunch of dresses, not even sure if any of them would sell. Then, one day, she hung her dresses on hangers, walked from store to store with them in her hand, and introduced herself to all the store owners. When she saw the reaction that retailers had to the quality and designs of her dresses, her fears melted away.
Isaura found that boutique owners loved her clothing. One store even asked her for her entire line of dresses, which they sold in three days! From there, the orders started pouring in. After six years of growing her business in Hawaii, Isaura and her husband made the move back to Orange County, and settled in San Clemente.
Upon returning to California, Isaura continued to market herself in the same determined way she did in Hawaii: by walking up to store owners and managers, and introducing herself. She also sewed all her clothes herself, as she always had.
Now, though, with stores across the country starting to pick up her clothing line, and with celebrities such as Jennifer Aniston and Jada Pinkett Smith among her fans, she knew it was time to get serious with her marketing and production. She needed staffing help and a website. She found the help by hiring seamstresses, and the website by contacting San Clemente Website Design. Both moves have helped her to actualize her two main business goals: 100% quality at all times and a personal connection woven into every dress she creates.
In fact, Isaura prides herself on having a personal connection with everyone she comes across during the course of her business, from the store owner to the end user. “I have been in a restaurant before, and approached a woman wearing one of my dresses,” she says. “Because I have made such a connection with the store owners, they always share my story with their customers. This means that the women wearing my dresses know exactly what went into them.”
Of course, Isaura’s desire for a personal connection also extends to the team at SCWD. “I love that SCWD is just a block away from me and I can drop into the office anytime. I love working with Deb, love her personality, and love how easy the team is to work with,” she says. “I initially came in with files and files of pictures and ideas and needs. They just took all that and ran with it.”
Isaura is a joy to work with and her enthusiasm for her business is self-evident: “I’m in the business of making people feel good, and it’s rewarding when people feel beautiful in the clothes I made.”