CRAWFORD DENIM AND VINTAGE CO.
Susie Shaughnessy, Owner & Designer
Where do you live?
Manhattan Beach, CA
When did you start your brand? How did it start?
I launched Crawford Denim and Vintage in 2013 after leaving a corporate career and taking the leap of faith to start my own brand. Beginning with the vintage styles I sold a curated selection of the pieces, collected over the years online and at flea markets while I worked on developing the handcrafted denim and apparel product.
How did you decide to turn your skills into a 'real' job? Do you work on the side?
Having worked at many large iconic American brands, I was able to learn the trade from true craftsmen. Most of that heritage was being lost with production moving offshore. I wanted to return to locally produced product that drew upon the skills of the artisans creating the designs. I consult for other design brands who also want to return to locally manufactured product; helping them to find the right combination of mills, factories and people for their company to manufacture in the US.
What makes you happiest about what you do?
It’s exciting to see people wear your designs … they are choosing your product as an expression of themselves, you’ve helped shape their outward identity.
Whats the hardest part about what you do?
Keeping up with all of the moving parts … my friend nicknamed the hustle “Steam Train”. It takes a lot of organization, sheer will and strong coffee to keep the engine going.
Where do you hope to see your brand in 5 years?
The plan is to sustainably grow the business to be carried in more boutiques and specialty stores worldwide. I like to collaborate; so adding team members to contribute to the brand is a goal in the next few years.
Whats product that you make is your favorite?
The first jean I designed was the Straight Selvage … it is the based on the archetype of all jeans – the 501. The Straight in deadstock Cone Mills Selvage is a great fit that speaks to the heritage of Americana denim.
What do you like to listen to while you work?
I listen to a variety of music … a lot of Classic Country, Punk, Led Zeppelin and emerging bands. I’m also addicted to NPR quiz shows.
Where can we buy your stuff! Do you have a favorite shop?
You can find Crawford Denim in local, premium boutiques along the West Coast, Oregon, British Columbia, Tennessee and New Hampshire. We collaborate with Seaweed and Gravel in San Diego for many of our photoshoots, as the owner Dave Patri and I have been longtime friends. He’s been a huge supporter of the brand as well as great sounding board.
What about Desert & Denim are you looking forward to most?
I’m looking forward to seeing the folks from Juniper Ridge and meeting with other makers and small business owners. We each offer something unique and Desert and Denim fosters support for one another’s product, inspiration and a space for small business owners.
Do you have any advice for someone who wants to start their own business?
Mistakes happen. Take to time to do things right and don’t rush yourself because mistakes are costly. But learning the lessons from making mistakes is part of what makes you successful in the long run.