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Founder Feature: Sarah Stone

Sarah Stone, owner of The Perfect Shirt, was raising money for a faith-based nonprofit when she decided to make her own leap of faith by purchasing the bespoke men’s clothing company. 

“Honestly, I didn't have a ton of entrepreneurship experience besides being a ‘stylist’ for a national direct sales company (Stella & Dot) while I also had a traditional 8-5,” recalled Sarah. “About 6 months after I quit my 8-5 to pursue The Perfect Shirt full-time I was given the opportunity to purchase the company. It was an incredibly scary time to take the leap and bet on myself, but I'm incredibly glad I did.”

The path from a master’s degree in political science to fashion entrepreneurship was not a direct one for Sarah. In the interim, she worked on a Texas lawmaker’s political campaign and as a congressman’s district office manager, as well as serving as director of development at San Antonio-based Christian Assistance Ministry.

Entrepreneurship has been a big change.

“I think that every day is a little shocking, even though I've been an entrepreneur for a year and a half.  It's your brand, it's your reputation, it's your success or failure, it's all on yourself. It took me a while to actually believe in myself and that I CAN do this,” Sarah acknowledged. 

Her pride in the company is one of the things that has helped Sarah through the inevitable challenges of running a business.

“The Perfect Shirt  is an American bespoke shirt and suiting provider serving the everyday gentleman. The experience begins with a one-on-one consultation at a location of the customer’s choosing and targets their specific needs. The unique customization process includes 12 measurements for a perfect fit, fabric selection from over 500 swatches, and custom finishes like button styles and monogramming,” Sarah explained. 

“But what we’re most proud of is that all of The Perfect Shirt  garments are created in the United States; creating and keeping jobs at home is a pinnacle of The Perfect Shirt. I choose to only work with manufacturers and brands that create products in the U.S.A. It's important to keep jobs at home, even if my prices may be higher because of it, and support a fair working wage.”

Another motto that gives Sarah strength comes right from her grandmother.

“My family calls all her advice ‘Mimi-isms,’ and one has really stuck with me: ‘Sometimes that's just the way the world waggles and you can't do a damn thing about it.’ Aka, don't sweat the small things, don't let things out of your control ruin your day or cause you stress. You cannot control everything.

“I think as a small business owner and female entrepreneur that has been one of my biggest struggles. Whether it's an unhappy customer or an unhappy coworker, you just have to let things go. It takes up entirely too much energy and space in the brain to sweat what things ‘the world has waggled.’”  

When she’s not busy with her company, Sarah enjoys competing in Crossfit competitions, sharing book recommendations with The F Project member Kelli Koehler, and volunteering with a local rabbit rescue, Alamo City House Rabbits.  

Sarah’s advice for other female founders? “Find a tribe of entrepreneurs. People who have been entrepreneurs longer have had life experiences, successes and failures. Surround yourself with people who will support you and your dream. 

“I think there has been an incredible change from competition between women to support between women, and it's the best thing that could happen to female entrepreneurs. Celebrate not only your successes but others’ too. The more people who shop female entrepreneurs the more successful all will be. Wherever you shop, shop small and keep us here.”

Erika Szychowski

Erika Szychowski is the CEO/Founder of Good Zebra and the Founder of The F Project, a social impact project to raise the profile of female founders through collaborative commerce.
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