Stephanie Rado Taormina has worked in the fashion world for over 30 years – but it wasn’t until her father’s death a decade ago that she had the idea for her current venture. Her father always used to end conversations by urging her to “have some fun today,” and she realized she wanted to share that message with others. In 2014, she started her clothing and accessories business, Have Some Fun Today, and each of her bright and colorful pieces have her father’s words of wisdom emblazoned upon them. Though supply chain issues that arose during the pandemic have added significant challenges, Rado Taormina focuses on finding solutions – while still living out her beloved father’s mandate.
Here’s our lightly edited Q&A, from The Story Exchange 1,000+ Stories Project.
Tell us more about why you started your business.
I started Have Some Fun Today when my father, who was much loved by all who knew him, passed away in 2014 – at his funeral, over a thousand people came to pay their respects. I remember how he used to end all his conversations with, “Have some fun today.” In the months after his death, his much-used phrase stayed with me. And then one morning, as I was doing my morning gratitude practice, I had a vision. It was of the brand, and how wonderful it would be to share this message with the world on beautifully designed lifestyle pieces for people to wear.
How is your business different from others in your industry?
Everything we design and manufacture shares the message to, “Have Some Fun Today.” On top of that, the line is very fashion-forward, with an emphasis on selling functional, sustainable and high-quality pieces. We make designer handbags, totes and clothing at a great price point that celebrates a positive message. We have also adopted practices such as using recycled and organic materials, and sourcing and producing items locally to reduce our carbon footprint. We feel that fashion is the perfect canvas for spreading positivity and inclusiveness.
Tell us about your biggest success so far.
One of the turning points in my journey as a founder was when QVC was doing an international search for the next big thing – and we won one of those coveted spots in The Big Find. We were selected to sell specific pieces on a huge platform and had our biggest single-order day to date. It was a great opportunity to bring our brand to a larger audience.
What is your top challenge and how have you addressed it?
Right now, it is global supply chain issues, which have created challenges with manufacturing overseas. It used to only take 3 months to make and ship products to our warehouse from overseas – now, it can take twice as long. In 2021, we went without any new products for almost a year, simply due to the extreme lead times that we were suddenly presented with and didn’t have time to prepare for. We had to get creative with our inventory, and see how we could turn certain styles into something new – for example, by garment-dying existing products. In the current climate, thinking of new ways to stay fresh amidst extensive lead times has been really important.
Have you experienced any significant personal situations that have affected your business decisions?
Founding a global fashion brand from a little town in Pennsylvania has affected my business decisions and our growth. It is much easier to do something like this if you are living in a big city where you can have real-life conversations with decision makers. We are working to change that in 2023 by getting some boots on the ground in New York City and Los Angeles. Relationships can be incredibly powerful when you are growing a brand, and you need to be in a position to develop important partnerships through face-to-face conversations.
What is your biggest tip for other startup entrepreneurs?
Make sure you understand the capital, time and stamina needed to give a startup a chance at success.
How do you find inspiration on your darkest days?
I do a lot of personal growth work, and have done that for over 20 years. I am naturally an introspective person. I read psychology and spiritual books, go on spiritual seminars with world-class gurus like Saddhguru, who is one of the most enlightened beings on the planet today. I also practice yoga and do therapy. I look and search for inspiration in owning my truth as an artist, designer, entrepreneur and change-maker.
What is your go to song to get motivated on tough days?
Surprisingly, I don’t listen to music when I work, unless I am painting. That is because I really want to feel the silence. I once heard a quote that said “silence is a luxury,” and that resonates with me. There is so much noise in the world – I find silence to be so peaceful. When I do listen to music, it depends on my mood, but it can be anything: Bob Marley, Puccini, Biggie Smalls, Kendrick Lamar, Barbara Streisand, Frank Sinatra, Billie Eilish or some Post Malone could do the trick. Music is one of the greatest gifts in the world for making people feel inspired.
Who is your most important role model?
As a fashion and lifestyle entrepreneur, I look to many female leaders I see around me. I don’t think there is one person who sums up all that I look up to, but I would say Diane Von Furstenburg is certainly a strong, gutsy entrepreneur that I admire. She has been hands-on with her company since the 70’s. I love to be around strong intelligent and compassionate women who show by example what being a leader means. ◼