Interview: Sara McGuigan

– Antonella Kinder

Inside the Mad Girl Crush Interviews, we take a moment to explore the minds of creative, kick-ass women pursuing their passions.  

The champagne has bubbled away, leaving us all head rushed and with a whopping 365 day slate to pave a path with. Inspiration sparks with the birth of 2018 and the creatively inclined feel the flame, after all, the new year is a time not only of reflection, but of invention.

Oftentimes, for the designers, writers, photographers, the makers and life bringers, success looks a lot like a dream your heart makes – a wish.

We find ourselves asking: what can we realistically, tangibly accomplish in one year?

Sara McGuigan founded Love, Zelda, a vintage inspired silk wear line, a year ago with little more than artistic inclination and passion. Now, at the start of 2018, Sara celebrates a year of small business success.

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Sara McGuigan (middle) with Love, Zelda team. Photographer: Nataly Lorenzo of RyanZeal

Read on for our interview with designer and small business founder, Sara McGuigan.

MGM: Can you tell us a little about yourself?

SM: I feel like I have multiple personalities. Look at my professional background: coast guard, Dartmouth MBA, I work for the largest corporation in the United States. That’s my resume.

My resume says nothing about who I really am.

I was raised in art, in all its forms, whether it was paint, clay, jewelry or design. I’ve always dabbled and, for a while, it was always only a hobby – something I had to do on the side. Before I decided to start Love, Zelda I felt that since I didn’t have professional expertise in art or design, I couldn’t pursue it as a career.

MGM: How or why did you start Love, Zelda?

SM: I had graduated business school and started a job in the retail industry. Just a few months in I realized it wasn’t what I thought it would be. I thought I was going to be able to combine art with business, and I when I wasn’t able to I became unhappy. I was frustrated. To channel that, I started sewing and designing.

I felt this “now or never” push and I told myself that I needed to make something of it, even if it was only on the side.

That was a year ago that I started thinking of design seriously, and as a business rather than as a hobby.

MGM: What does success look like to you?

SM: There are stages of success, small things to celebrate that aren’t necessarily the ultimate end goal. I’ve recently started selling Love, Zelda in a boutique – that’s a success. (Interviewers note: Love, Zelda launched their website this year, made it’s runway debut, and was presented the NWAFW Emerging Designer award. Success aplenty!)

The ultimate goal is to combine fashion, this mood booster, this language that all women speak whether they are “into it” or not, to combine it with a social impact piece. I want to be connected to a strong nonprofit to empower women or to start my own foundation.

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MGM: I love that you mentioned acknowledging success of all sizes. 

SM: Retail is hard and starting your own business is hard. It’s a lot of weight on your shoulders and a lot of second guessing yourself. You have to acknowledge your successes!

MGM: Do you envision a certain kind of woman wearing Love, Zelda?

SM: I envision all women wearing Love, Zelda. I love the way silk moves and fits – I keep LZ’s pieces very simple because I want the wearer to decide how to dress it up or down. It’s easy to see Love, Zelda dressed up, but I can also see it styled sporty, paired with sweatpants and slides. I see it on all women, no matter their style, and I want all women to see that.

MGM: And the socks! The socks are amazing!

SM: They get a lot of attention. Cool socks are definitely in now.

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MGM: What advice do you have for others who may be looking to get into the business of creating?

SM: I think we all hear a lot of noise about how you can’t make money as an artist and that it’s too hard to stand out in the world of art. I can’t say that there’s no truth to that, but I also say: Don’t let it stop you. Now that doesn’t necessarily mean go throw yourself into your art 100% right away. You know what feels right you. But you hear all the time to NOT do it.

I say do it. Never drop it. Find the time.

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Interested in supporting Love, Zelda? Shop here and don’t forget to drop your side hustle in the comments for others to explore!

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