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Dress You Up!

Jan 09, 2013

Girl Scouts who dream of a career in fashion will find a role model in Alicia Estrada. With the gift of a secondhand sewing machine, Alicia started out making clothes for her family, which included 10 kids! Today, she’s a designer, founder, and CEO of her fashion empire, Stop Staring!, a line that has many celebrity fans.

Alicia’s fashion line was born 14 years ago in her hometown of Long Beach, California. But before Stop Staring! became successful, Alicia made dresses from old scrap fabric and curtains—“whatever my parents were throwing away.” She draped her designs directly on her sisters and made one-of-a-kind clothing for her family. “It was so much fun because it was just like playing dress up all the time,” Alicia says.

She worked two jobs to launch her clothing line, using money left over after helping her parents pay bills and buy schoolbooks. Stop Staring! started out as a one-woman operation, with Alicia making the patterns, cutting and sewing the dresses, and doing the selling. She’d set up booths at concerts, swap meets, and trade shows to sell her vintage-inspired clothing line and pass out business cards. “It wasn’t ever about [making] the money,” Alicia says. “It was more about fashion, and making something look really cool.”

Alicia’s line was cool enough for celebrities like Gwen Stefani, Christina Aguilera, and Zooey Deschanel to wear her dresses. She says that it still amazes her to see Stop Staring! in fashion magazines but knows it’s the result of seizing opportunities and hard work. “Don’t let laziness and fear stop you,” Alicia advises. “Be willing to go in front of people and present yourself, and soon it will be followed by honor.”

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To learn more about Alicia, click here. To read more about It’s Your Business—Run It!, click here and to see other entrepreneurs in our video series, click here.