"Have Some Fun Today" designer and CEO Stephanie Rado Taormina, interviewed by Radio KISMET's Christopher Plant:
On May 4th, 2021, Radio KISMET host Christopher sat down with Stephanie Rado Taormina to discuss stepping into fashion as a former country girl and what business means to someone who is an artist at heart. Listen to the full interview here.
Where does the name of the brand come from?
One of the things my dad started saying, somewhere in the 90s, was have some fun today. He would be talking to literally anybody, on a normal daily basis, and at the very end of that conversation, he would look at you and say ‘Have some fun today.’ Ah! It would catch people off guard.
The day that my brother called me [when my father died], the first thing that I thought of was that the words of a great man will always stay with me: have some fun today. And that was it. Two months later, I thought about what I was grateful for, and my mind settled on the idea of making a painting that said “Have some fun today.” I love art that has words in it. I am a big fan of Cy Twombly, and I visualized this painting, then this t-shirt, then a coffee mug. Oh my gosh! It should all say have some fun today.
Was he saying it to be inspirational?
I wish I could ask him why he would say it, I don’t know why he did that. Maybe it was him talking to himself, maybe it was the way he handled all of the things he was doing. He was running a nice, mid-sized company that he turned from 5 employees to 100. He was a leader, and when he passed away, 1000+ people came to his funeral.
When did you start your own entrepreneurial process?
The idea was thought of in 2014, and I didn’t have a website until 2015. It has been a work-in-progress all along - a journey.
How did COVID-19 impact your process?
It made me take another look at the brand and ask myself, ‘where are we really going with this?’ In the end, I have started thinking more globally, thinking of the planet and the waste that is produced by fashion. At times, I take a step back and ask myself if I want to be making more stuff.
A lot of designers are faced with this issue. How do you rationalize “making more stuff”?
Even before COVID, I saw Have Some Fun Today as a brand with meaning, a reminder to be more mindful about how people go about their day. It was for nice, quality items to help people enjoy their lives. I've begun to think about how to take it a step further - I don’t need to use new fabric... I can use recycled fabric. All of the new canvas tote bags are all made of recycled canvas. I think as a designer, we have an opportunity to practice what we preach and to be leaders. I don’t have to follow other people’s rules.
What’s it like running a business?
It’s very challenging. Every new experience that I have in success with my brand gives me situations that I, quite frankly, don’t know how to handle. I did QVC, it was a positive, and negative, experience. There are things that happen when you start working with bigger companies, and you are just one person. I have to find better ways of pulling back a little bit, as I uplevel, to find balance once again. Running this brand isn’t just, as a designer designing stuff, it’s really me going inside of myself to what I think is important for other people. Not just for myself. To find a new way to disrupt the fashion industry. I want to be right there with the disrupters.
Stephanie Benedetto (The Queen of Raw) created this amazing platform to save dead-stock fabric from landfills from the fashion industry. It’s so brilliant, I want to be right there with people like that. That’s what I’m challenging myself to do.
At the same time, I’m writing a blog, that reiterates some of the thoughts and ideas and problems I have as a woman, as a person, dealing with the same things everyone else is dealing with in life. I want to weave it into why I’m running this business, it’s complex! It’s all integrated back into my life.
Business and creativity is a community building tool. You speak very frequently of your brand. It lets people come together around an idea. When you built this, there are a lot of people emotionally attached to your brand - how do you cultivate this with your clientele?
I am doing this to do good for the world, that’s really what it comes down to. It’s honestly why I do anything. When people are moved, because they wore something that made them feel good, that’s worth a million dollars. And it happens a lot. It’s an honor, and it’s very beautiful, and I’m getting emotional...
I am an artist. With the things I write about, and the things I share visually, design, what goes into the designs, where I draw the line with materials or wherever that will lead to, I am getting to live my art.
You are using your brand as a bridge. Keeping your brand grounded in your artistic message feels unique. There is this idea of building a story around something as simple as a clear and honest statement and putting it everywhere. I hope you continue to grow and to use it as a tool to help other people. Where do people find you on the internet?
Well, we have a website, havesomefuntoday.com. On Instagram @hsft_official, and #havesomefuntoday lead to us as well. We are going to keep on creating this beautiful concept of art and billboard-esque products of bags and t shirts... Just spreading a good vibe.