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Daily Inspiration: Meet Alizee Hazan Accomando

Today we’d like to introduce you to Alizee Hazan Accomando.

Hi Alizee, so excited to have you on the platform. So before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today?
My name is Alizee Hazan Accomando. I am originally from Brussels, Belgium and come from a diverse lineage spanning from Greece to Africa and Belgium. I came to the US when I was 20 years old and quickly realized that most clothing was very different from what I was used to. I was not able to find affordable, basic apparel made from 100% natural fibers.

The most notable difference was that most everything I could find contained elastane and polyester, which are fabrics that are rarely used around Europe. I was shocked because these fibers are not as comfortable and definitely not sustainable. This is when I decided to fill that gap and create EKZO, a clothing and apparel brand focused on three main principles: Quality, Comfort, and Sustainability.

The name EKZO comes from the word exotic. Growing up, my parents instilled in me the value of traveling and creating new experiences. This leads me to enjoy the beauty of various art, food, language, culture, and other aspects of many exotic locations around the world.

I purposefully implement a hint of “ekzotic” in each and every garment we create. EKZO launched in 2016 with one t-shirt, and today we have a product catalog of over 200 items.

We all face challenges, but looking back, would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
Oh, most definitely not. Starting a business (and even more so when it’s your first time) means basically new unforeseen challenges every day. When you draft a business plan, you think you covered everything needed and just need to apply the plan. It’s definitely not that cut and dry, and facing challenges is a daily occurrence. Some are easier to tackle than others, and there is nobody but you to pick up the slack and keep things rolling. My motto is simply “it’s going to be OK”, and to take a deep breath, then think of a creative solution to solve the issue to keep moving forward.

I have countless stories that may now may seem comical, but I assure you at the time, they were an absolute nightmare! One that comes to mind is our first annual Winter Collection Release Party. We had rented out a brewery for the evening and had a guest list of over 300 people to debut our new Winter Collection. Unfortunately, after months of this being planned, and after having green-lighted full production of the collection based on our samples, we received a delivery of products that were entirely wrong just 48 hours before the start of our event. Not one of the many new products we had advertised was able to be sold, and we had 48 hours to salvage the collection and the release party. It was a DISASTER, but in the end, we pulled it off, and the night was amazing. So was the sleep when it was finally over.

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
I’ve been into Arts and Design since I can remember. I love cartoons, anime, comic books, cinema, photography, and visual arts in general. I graduated High School at 17 and immediately entered the Center of Decorative Arts in Belgium for Advertising, Graphic and Web Design. I graduated at 20 and moved to San Diego, where I began to pursue a degree in fashion design. I loved fashion design and upon completing my undergrad, I entered an MBA program that I finished one year after launching EKZO.

I’ve learned various skills along the way from a number of great teachers during my education. I’m kind of a stubborn person; when I set my mind on an idea, I have a hard time letting it go. But what thrives me to push further is the feedback I get from people around me. I don’t design for myself only, I design for everyone to enjoy my work and feel good when observing or interacting with it. I care a lot about honest and direct feedback, and I don’t take it personally. This allows me to shape my skillset according to a more universal acceptance rather than my own personal opinion. It is this attribute that has helped with the overall success of my design career and the overall success of EKZO.

When you’re a designer, sometimes you have to be stubborn and “lead” your crowd in a direction they may not know, but you also have to show flexibility and adaptation to allow people to help you find the best and most successful approach to your work.

Is there a quality that you most attribute to your success?
Persistence. It’s very easy to get emotional about your business because you quite literally put in blood, sweat and tears, and you live and breath it every day. This isn’t a job that allows you to leave your work at the office when you go home. You have to be persistent and think clearly to make the most rational decisions on a daily basis. Being emotional about your business can make you want to quit ten times a day.

It’s important to find the right balance between work and regular life as the business becomes more and more a part of you. It’s always on my mind, as ideas or opportunities can occur at any time of the day. Like you can somehow have a new design idea while driving your car or randomly meet someone at a bar and make a connection that can lead to a business deal. Business, however has to be put on pause every now and then to be able to enjoy everything else in life and listen to your surroundings. (But it’s never too far out of your mind!)


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