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Check Out Jody White’s Story

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jody White.

Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
My story isn’t brief, and it isn’t linear. I am the youngest of five children born in a small town in Kansas to a single mom. We didn’t have a lot, but my mom worked extremely hard to provide for us. She was the epitome of what now is the favored term called mom-prenuer. Her journey wasn’t cute though, her grit and determination meant our survival.

I can definitely say that I was influenced by my mom. She sold water conditioners, furniture, started her own silk tree business (in the ’80s, of course) and the list goes on. She also was the first person to introduce me to sewing. I can’t say that I was a very good student or even allowed her to teach me very much, for that matter. But it definitely left a big enough impression on me that made me want to teach myself.

I didn’t study design in University, but I wish I had. I think because of my unstable upbringing; I went for a sensible job in business. After having my children, I had this burning desire to marry my suppressed creativity to my activism and out of that, ALL THAT was born. I began making earrings out of scrap leather and having pop-ups out of my home to measure interest levels. The clothes were sort of an afterthought at first, and for my first show, my mom actually helped me sew them.

After that, I began a pattern-making course at a local college and took private lessons. During that time, I was made aware of how much deadstock fabric is thrown into landfills each year. Deadstock is a fabric that has been disregarded from fashion houses. I decided to use this fabric and create sustainable fashion for women. My hope is to bring more awareness to the environmental injustices committed by large fashion labels and encourage people to shop at small local businesses who give back to the community.

Community means everything to me, which is why I give back a percentage of sales to local charities that support marginalized minority groups. The notion of equality and inclusion for all is not just trendy to me; it is a part of my life’s mission which is why I co-founded Encinitas4Equality. We are a new non-profit whose mission is to educate, organize, and mobilize our communities to disassemble structural racism through solidarity and service. I have been so incredibly humbled through the experience of starting E4E and learned more in this last year than I have my entire life, which is why I will continue to support the BLM movement even when it’s out of the spotlight and continue to display my pride flag outside of pride month because visibility matters to these groups every single day of the year.

As a one-woman band, I am proud of how I have organically grown my business over the last two years. It might be scrappy at times, but I started with zero dollars of investment. I feel like I’m having a full-circle moment in my life right now because throughout my life, I felt like I came from nothing and I held a lot of shame around that. However, ironically it’s the same way I birthed my business and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
I don’t think any successful business has had a smooth road. I am completely learning as I go, so much so that I had my children – who are fluent in Spanish – accompany me to a factory in National City that I wanted to work with. I learned early on, after many mishaps and wasted stock, that our barrier of clear communication was an issue. I often went on the road hustling with my mom when she had her own business, and so naturally, my children are often with me. I thought, why not allow them to share in the successes and failures of my business.

The other major struggle I have is balancing everything in my life. With three children home during this last year while pivoting to develop an online business because I couldn’t host pop-ups anymore and starting a non-profit was not easy. I know fully that the fallacy society creates that women can do it all is just that, false. Yet, I wasn’t willing to let anything go, which meant that the only thing I was going to let go of was me. Of course, I didn’t fully see that at the time, but burnout hit me in the face hard, and I’m still trying to adjust. Maybe I’ll figure it out. Maybe I won’t. What I do know is that I won’t stop trying. I also know that I wouldn’t be anywhere I am today without the unwavering support and love from my family. It’s not always roses, but I know they believe in me and that I can depend on any one of them.

Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
I would say: sustainable, ethical fashion label, women run business, made local in the USA, I love generous/oversized clothes because I’ve had twins and a singleton. I give back to the community (most proud of). What sets me apart is me.

What do you like best about our city? What do you like least?
I LOVE LOVE LOVE this city because of its beauty. My husband is from England and we used to live in London for five years. That experience was so valuable to be able to get out of my bubble. During that time, I was completely reliable on public transportation. What was so amazing to me was that it was so reliable. Every bus stop had a live ticker that would tell you how many minutes until the next bus. What I wish San Diego and the entire USA had for that matter, had was reliable public transportation. It would be healthier for people and the environment, which is a win-win in my book.

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Allison Antinucci, Caitlin Navor, Sarina Scheepers

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