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Behind the Brand: Stephanie Rado Taormina, Co-Founder & CEO, Have Some Fun Today

By Anna Griffin, Editor in Chief


Combine the word fun with the words fashion and sustainability and you have three of my favorite things, especially when they're combined. When I discovered the brand Have Some Fun Today on Instagram this year, I was immediately inspired to find out more. The powerful, bold messaging spoke to me and I was obviously someone who needed a gentle reminder to have some fun. My initial research showed that the brand was incorporating eco-friendly materials such as recycled cotton and canvas into their striking designs, while having a brand mission of “Making People Smile.”



I immediately reached out to Co-Founder & CEO, Stephanie Rado Taormina, who sent me a Deluxe Black Shopper. It was well-constructed from quality materials, roomy enough for all of my on-the-go needs and I loved the large printed statement, "Have Some Fun Today." Taking it out for a test run its impression on people I encountered was evident, and I knew Stephanie was onto something. Made from sturdy recycled cotton canvas this was not an average reusable tote, which I have experienced to be flimsy, bland and usually beige. I had found a great accessories brand that made using canvas tote bags stylish and fun, and might actually dissuade people from using plastic bags. Brava! I wanted to know more about Stephanie and her label, Have Some Fun Today, her inspiration for her messaging and her commitment to making the brand sustainable. She kindly agreed to an interview . . .


 

#HSFTwomen (def): “We're a tribe, of sorts. A squad, a posse, a collective community. We're connected as much by what makes us different as what makes us the same. We're movers and shakers, designers and artists, writers and thinkers, and glass ceiling breakers. We're creators who were inspired to create something that inspires others.”



Coco Eco: Can you tell us about Have Some Fun Today and what inspired you to launch your brand?


Stephanie Rado Taormina: Have Some Fun Today is a lifestyle brand that creates high-end, contemporary fashion and accessories that spread the message, “Have Some Fun Today.” I was inspired to start the brand one morning as I was doing my gratitude and meditation practice. Throughout my father’s life, he ended every conversation with the phrase, “Have Some Fun Today.” A few months after he passed the idea came to me that morning as if he was the one whispering it in my ear.The vision came to me in the form of a painting I had to make. While painting, I visualized the bags, the tees and mugs, and I knew I had found my purpose.


CE: What does the statement "Have Some Fun Today" mean to you personally, and how are you expressing that in your designs?


SRT: To me it means that there is always a way to find joy in your day. It is a reminder to be aware that only you hold the power to choose happiness. Whether life's handing you many challenges, or if it’s a regular day with nothing exciting happening - those are the moments when we need some HSFT. I’ve spent the past 9 years designing things that are useful, stylish and high quality like our amazing bags, clothing and accessories. Each piece in the collection makes a strong statement and is meant to be worn to give the wearer this shield of energy, a reminder to themselves that they want to be living a more joyful life. It shows that they are committed to making that happen if only by the act of carrying the tote, or wearing one of the many options in the line.



CE: You have a company mission of “Making People Smile.” Why is that important to you?


SRT: I think being able to make people feel good is one of the greatest gifts one can have as an artist. This brand is a work of art to me - it's interactive, functional, and whenever people see me wearing my pieces they always smile. A smile is powerful energy, and energy is everything. Creating a brand that makes people smile adds positive energy to a world in need of that.


CE: As a female founder of a brand, what makes you tick?


SRT: Every founder is a visionary, but a female founder has a lot more layers to what makes her tick. For me it is a combination of my experience as a single mother, my emotional intelligence, my spirituality, and my thick skin from having persevered over the years through many ups and downs to where I am today.


CE: What does being in a community of creators mean to you, and how does it influence your designs?


SRT: As an artist and designer, I do like to think of myself as a creator. The most creative space I see on a daily basis seems to be Instagram. That’s where I can follow various designers, founders, artists and visionaries, and feel I am part of that community. It’s inspiring to me to be a part of something much bigger than myself in this big world, by connecting me to more creatives than I ever imagined possible. Right now I am trying to collaborate with other artists, designers and founders. What I learn from them enriches my own language of design, it broadens my vocabulary, and gets me to understand other ways of being in this great world of ours.


CE: What is the most favorite piece you’ve created?


SRT: I’m going to say it is the Luxe Tote. I came up with the concept of it very quickly in my head. I have an affinity for high/low juxtaposition. Create a roomy silhouette of a tote bag with this as the base fabric, then add some shiny brass grommets to the top and raw leather straps, then applique on the front of the bag with the message, HAVE SOME FUN TODAY. We have been selling this tote bag for the past nine years and right now we are in production again with a slightly new iteration, to add a couple features that I’m sure will make our customers smile.


CE: Why is it important to you to respect our planet?


SRT: It’s the right thing to do. Simple as that. The pandemic taught me that it’s not enough to just be a brand that shares a positive message. It was time to also care about what we make our products with, and where and how we make them. We needed to bring joy to the Earth as much as we bring joy to those on it.



CE: What are some of the ways you incorporate sustainability into your brand?


SRT: We started the process by learning more about the ways in which we could become a more sustainable brand. Once we understood how we could do that, we set out to find manufacturers that would be our partners and assist us with it. We decided to switch out the canvas on our tote bags for a recycled cotton canvas made from scraps of the cotton fabric, and re-spun to create recycled yarn that gets woven into grey goods. We also replaced our cotton linings with recycled cotton batiste, and decided to use only natural materials such as vegetable dyed leather in our products as opposed to poly vinyl. Another way we have become more sustainable is by sourcing and manufacturing locally whenever we can, and this past year we did a micro collection of organic tees and fleece made in LA.



CE: If you could say one thing to your younger self, what would it be?


SRT: I would tell her not to worry so much about what the future holds and to explore every creative avenue available to her, so she can see where they lead. Each individual is so precious and unique, and most of us never believe in our own abilities to the level that we should.


CE: What legacy would you like to leave in this world?


SRT: I would like to be the person that stood up for positivity and inclusion, and made it beautiful and important through my voice in creating the brand, Have Some Fun Today. I’d also like to help people remind themselves to smile and give life another chance, by putting on a tee shirt or wearing a hat that says, “Have some fun today.” Our world needs to remember that life is short, the moments we are alive and breathing are precious – let’s not waste them on anything but forward progression and love.

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