Ever dream about quitting your 9-5 and spending your days doing what you love? Entrepreneur and designer, Sasha Huff, did just that and started Elara Blue, a small batch apparel company that uses all natural plant dye to make one of a kind handmade garments!
While most woman dream about growing up and working in fashion, that was never Sasha Huff’s plan. However, while attending a women’s event, she came across the art of Indigo garments by chance and it forever changed her course. She left her decade-long corporate career working in radio to spend her days meditating and listening to music while creating beautiful, unique garments.
With the belief that no garment is ever the same and whichever you choose is clearly meant just for you, Sasha has embarked on hosting small workshops around the country to teach other women the art of natural dying.
We sat down with Sasha to learn more and can’t wait to attend her next LA workshop!
PPLA: You left a job in radio to pursue starting your company Elara Blue. What prompted this decision?
SH: In 2016 I went to a women’s gathering called Spirit Weavers, and it really changed the course of my life. It’s where I first fell in love with Indigo, and it reconnected me to my love of making art. After nearly 10 years working full time in corporate America, I realized that my priorities and interests had shifted quite a bit. As I began to explore the idea of opening a small business, the universe kind of just opened up and said “now is the time.” A bunch of things fell into place, and off I went. I’m still a huge music and radio fan, but I am thrilled to be exploring this new adventure!
PPLA: Did you always want to work in fashion or did you recently become interested it this particular industry for your small business?
SH: I have actually never really been a traditional lover of fashion. Shopping is one of my least favorite past times, and I’m usually dressed in jeans and a t-shirt or one of my favorite rompers. So to find myself in the fashion industry now is a bit surprising. As I explored this new avenue over the past year or so, I realized what I DO really enjoy is slow fashion. Handmade pieces, not mass produced, and created with love by artists. That is the path I am on: creating small batch, deeply loved pieces that are made with intent and aren’t bad for the environment!
PPLA: Tell us about the process of making your designs? What is our favorite part?
SH: All of it is my favorite part, truly. The process for making my designs happens all on my little patio outside of my third floor condo. My Indigo vats are out there, surrounded by succulents, which creates a really peaceful space. I begin my process by pouring a cup of tea, lighting a candle that was given to me by a friend as a good luck present for Elara Blue, putting on some music and just taking in the space around me. Once I have settled in, everything just flows. I use a Japanese restraint technique called “shibori” on most of my garments, so I really just listen to the music, fold the cloth, and whatever comes through is the newest addition to the line. Since each piece is one of kind, it really designs itself!
PPLA: What is your company/personal mission? Where do you see the business going in the first few years?
Elara Blue is more than an apparel company. In addition to selling garments, I also host workshops around the country for small groups who want to learn the basics of natural dyeing with Indigo. Since going to Spirit Weavers Gathering, I have prioritized art, creative meditation, and small gatherings in my life, and it has really healed a lot of things for me. Sharing that with people is really the drive behind all of this. Not only do I want to adorn people with beautiful, eco friendly pieces; I want to share the amazing meditation that this art form offers. As far as where I see it going, I am keeping the mindset of letting this be what it will be. If I get to do this for a year, what a year it will have been. If this is the rest of my life, what a lucky life that will be. All I know is that this comes from a place of true love, and however long I get to be in it, I am happy.
PPLA: What advice do you have for other entrepreneurs thinking of making the jump from 9-5 to passion project?
SH: My advice would be to make sure you have the support you need to make this happen. Have a plan, crunch the numbers, and see if you can really do this without causing yourself too much additional stress (because owning a business is a lot of work). Look into other sources of income and secure those before you take the leap, so that you know you have something to fall back on. This will keep your mind at ease a bit while you explore this new opportunity. If you can’t leave your 9-5 yet, then really start looking into how you can make that happen in the next year. Save your money. Eat at home. Skip the Starbucks and start squirreling away what you need to make this dream a reality. Figure out what you are willing to sacrifice and start letting those things go. The better your plan, the more joyful the leap will be.
PPLA: Hardest challenge you’ve encountered so far?
SH: Having confidence in myself that I could really do this, that this is a life I could or deserve to have was challenging. Pushing through the fear to leave what I was used to in order to make a big change, was scary and I’m still scared at times. But I see other women doing this, and I have to keep telling myself that I can do it too. Not listening to that inner voice of doubt is always the hardest part for me.
PPLA: Who’s been your biggest support? Or biggest positive surprise?
SH: I am very lucky to have support coming at me from many places, but I think the biggest supporter is my husband. For him to also push through his fear and say “yes” to his wife leaving her full time job to pursue a dream is pretty incredible. We’ve had to make a lot of changes in our household for me to do this, and he has been saying ‘yes’ the whole way through. I feel a lot of gratitude for that, and to everyone who has been behind me saying ‘yes.’