Meet The 27-Year-Old Behind Staud, The Newest It Girl Clothing Brand

By Vivienne Decker, WOMEN@FORBES

27-year-old Sarah Staudinger and partner George Augusto are the co-founders behind Staud, a vintage-inspired women’s clothing brand. Staudinger is the former Fashion Director of Reformation, and along with Augusto, she launched her namesake brand in 2015. The collection is designed and manufactured in Staudinger’s hometown, Los Angeles, and the brand has quickly become a favorite of fashion It Girls, Alexa Chung, Dakota Fanning and Leandra Medine.

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Sarah Staudinger, founder of STAUD

“I felt that it was difficult to find something that wasn’t overly trend driven or had a timeless quality at an accessible price point,” Sarah Staudinger said. “I saw a gap in the direct-to-consumer market for sophisticated, well-priced clothing and I also felt really strongly that the landscape was feeling stagnant and repetitive. It was important to me to keep it refined and to not only create product that felt unique, but content that was equally as unique and thoughtful as the product. We put a lot of time and thought into our content creation, messaging and overall aesthetics so that our customers connect to our product on a more emotional level.”

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A look from STAUD

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Staudinger’s background in media helped prepare her for the launch Staud, as she finds that direct-to-consumer companies rely a lot on the content of their online platforms.

“My education was more focused on media studies, but fashion was always the driving force behind everything I did,” Staudinger said. “I was more fascinated with the correlation between media and fashion rather than garment construction and technical design. I think that’s a big part of why we are seeing success with Staud. There’s so many layers to having a direct-to-consumer business and media is as much a part of that as design. After college I attempted to work with various editorial publications but it was just not an inspiring time for print. Many magazines were downsizing and the online editorial industry wasn’t what it is today. Shortly thereafter I became Fashion Director at Reformation. This was a wonderful learning experience. They wanted to begin to shift their focus away from their retail stores and more onto their e-comm business. That was one of my main directives there, in addition to design, building the e-comm business through content creation was a large focus.”

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Staudinger and Augusto raised money for their launch through their personal savings and a small family and friends round.

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Staud’s production is sourced using several factories in downtown Los Angeles.

“Because we are still very new and do limited runs, we do not use one manufacturer exclusively,” Staudinger said. “We have an amazing production manager that contracts out our production to various manufacturers. We work with some very loyal and understanding factories all over LA who want to grow with us.”

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Staudinger believes that early celebrity support helped influence customers to shop Staud.

“Alexa Chung or Leandra Medine were the first celebs in our eyes,” Staudinger said. “Although they are a different kind of celeb they are the kind who have the most influence over our customers and their support has really meant a lot to the growth of the brand.”

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A look from STAUD

Staudinger has plans to grow Staud’s online business and open physical locations further down the line.

“We are going to continue to focus on the expansion of our direct-to-consumer business and then eventually we plan to open our own brick and mortar stores,” Staudinger said.

All images courtesy of Staud