Today we’d like to introduce you to Terese Brown.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Terese. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I have wanted to be a fashion designer since I came to the U.S. at seven years old. Growing up in an immigrant Jamaican household in the Bronx, New York ensured that my childhood was filled with Barbie playdates, many cousins, aunts, uncles, and the promise of a better life than what we had back home. For twenty years, I dreamed of one day owning my own clothing brand that would transform the lives of women and men alike. By day I worked as a fashion designer, and by night I designed for the line that was launched in 2011, Terese Sydonna.
Inspired by my Jamaican roots, superheroes, Japanese art and the unexpected, each collection celebrates a modern landscape where art, fashion and comfort intersect. Stylish, yet maintenance-free, 95% of the collection is machine washable, quick-drying, and wrinkle-free. I want to help every individual unlock their magic so that they feel like a superhero every time they wear a piece from my collection. Terese Sydonna is proudly made in New York City’s Garment District by a team of immigrants, mostly women, living their American dream too.
With the support of my village, I was able to grow Terese Sydonna from one client to being carried in stores throughout the United States, Canada and Jamaica. This has truly been an amazing journey! Due to the pandemic, my retail partnerships were impacted, and I had to quickly pivot my business to e-commerce selling and introduce face mask product offerings. I am excited for the next chapter, re-branding and transforming my business into a true fashion tech e-commerce platform.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Absolutely not! My journey as owner and designer of Terese Sydonna has been one of sacrifice and dreaming big. My main struggle has been limited access to funding compared to my counterparts. As a Black business owner, it is a constant fight to get in front of the right stores and editors. At times, it feels like I’m working three times as hard to be SEEN. My credibility is often questioned, whether my brand is beautiful enough or why my prices are what is featured. My clientele is diverse, yet there is an expectation that somehow my brand should not be expensive or discounted simply because the owner is a Black woman. I once flew to North Carolina to meet with a store owner and was turned away as it became apparent that I was a Black woman-owned brand. For these reasons, instead of knocking at the doors that remain closed, I am creating my own opportunities, aligning myself with all like-minded individuals and companies who are about positive change.
Terese Sydonna – what should we know? What do you do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
Terese Sydonna is based in the Bronx, New York and manufactured in New York City’s Garment District. I design women’s apparel, men’s accessories and unisex face masks for the superhero in all of us. Original prints are inspired by my Jamaican roots and Japanese art as can be seen with the usage of the ocean and cherry blossoms. The collection is known for unexpected details such as asymmetry and tuxedo hemlines. Wherever my clients go they are often complimented, and a conversation ensues about what the print they are wearing signifies. Most importantly, the collection aims to make the lives of those with busy lifestyles easier by using fabrications that are lightweight, travel well and do not require dry cleaning. 95% of the collection is machine washable, quick-drying, and wrinkle-free. I am most proud when I see my creations come to life and those who wear Terese Sydonna feel empowered to then transform into superheroes. My heart, my call for positive change, the craftsmanship and thoughtfulness that is put into each piece separates Terese Sydonna from the crowd. I’ve actually spent years studying fashion design and business, working in the industry developing collections for larger brands, mastering my craft understanding what customers want, so that I can whole-heartedly offer something valuable to the lives of my clients.
What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
The proudest moment of my career came when I opened my first design studio in the South Bronx in 2016. For so many years, it was just an idea, a dream, but then for this dream to actually come true was pure magic. I will never forget the love I felt that day surrounded by my family, friends, and business partner on opening day. To see an entire studio filled with Terese Sydonna clothing from floor to ceiling was very emotional. So, I’ll never stop dreaming big regardless of where my story takes me because dreams do come true.
- In reponse to COVID-19, I began donating face masks to healthcare workers keeping us safe on the frontline, and those in need. Masks were donated to the Food Bank of New York City in June for Father’s Day. This month masks will be donated to the Agatha House Foundation serving my Wakefield neighborhood in the Bronx and Mount Vernon in Lower Westchester, New York. For every 2 face masks purchased 1 is donated to a healthcare worker or someone in need. Join the challenge to keep all just a little safer!
- Shop the Terese Sydonna Warehouse Sale online up to 75% off on clothing and accessories while supplies last.