“If you really put your head to something, and you’re not afraid of failing and learning from your mistakes, you can do anything,” said Joah Brown of her blooming apparel business. Brown, along with her cousin Sydney Brown Wagner and boyfriend Brian Vaccarino, started out making simple handmade headbands; now the trio are owners of the JOAH BROWN (joahbrown.com) clothing line, available on their website and in stores across the United States and even a few other countries.
With her future unclear after graduation from high school, Brown began waitressing. After several years in the service industry, however, she decided to pursue a career in fashion, which had always been one of her passions. She moved to the L.A. area, dabbling in retail jobs and management positions before becoming a buyer for a sports club line. Though Brown enjoyed being a part of the clothing industry, she disliked working for other people. “I’ve always had a strong understanding of branding and fashion and trends while keeping it classic at the same time,” she said.
So Brown started her own business creating the aforementioned hand-sewn headbands, which quickly gained popularity, getting featured on various websites and ordered by several stores. Brown’s cousin happened to be visiting Southern California as the headbands took off and decided to move to Carp, where Brown was living, to help. Together, they created a website, and though they were successful, the duo desired more for their brand and the future of their company. “The headbands took off, but headbands are a trend,” Brown explained. “We said ‘We have to do our own clothes.’ We can sell clothes for years and years, and that’s where our passion really was.”
The cousins then created JOAH BROWN, a line that speaks to their personal tastes — exercise and a healthy lifestyle — that works well for athletics but also can be considered everyday wear. For example, their items — which currently consist mainly of T-shirts, tank tops, cardigans, and accessories — pair well with yoga pants but also can be worn to more formal occasions with some heels and black skinny jeans. “We really wanted to pick pieces of clothing that would be in your closet 10 years from now,” Brown explained.
As their success grew, Brown’s boyfriend, Vaccarino, joined the duo to help with sales and business development. The three taught themselves about every aspect of owning and running their own business, as none had previous experience in manufacturing, shipping, or operating a website. “We really pride ourselves on our work — from developing the line to the branding to the website, it just speaks volumes,” said Brown.
After two years of hard work and determination, JOAH BROWN is now carried in about 100 stores across the country and abroad — ranging from fashion-forward boutiques to yoga shops. Looking to the future, the trio plans to add dresses, skirts, winter clothes, heavier knitwear, yoga-type leggings, and even undergarments to their line.
The rapid rise of JOAH BROWN is proof of what a three-person team can accomplish with a vision and determination.