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Meet Trailblazer Hannah Payne

Today we’d like to introduce you to Hannah Payne.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I didn’t fall into the fashion industry; I’ve been dreaming about this my entire life. Since I can remember, I’ve been putting together outfits. At 5 years old, I was choreographing fashion shows for the neighborhood girls. I insisted on party dresses, shiny shoes, and big bows for every occasion, especially for elementary school. Why wear jeans when you can dress up?

I expanded my creative twist, at an all-girls’ high school, on their bland Khaki and polo uniform. It is amazing what a cute pair of shoes, a bow, and a little leopard sweater can do for a uniform. When it came time for college, my parents weren’t thrilled with my fashion aspirations, so I went to the University of San Diego and majored in Communications and minored in Business.

My junior year of college, I saw an opportunity to further my fashion aspirations when choosing a school for my semester abroad. Little did my parents know that I was taking drawing, sewing and any fashion class they offered in Florence, Italy.

I will never forget my train-ride to Milan, for Fashion Week. I pleaded with my professor to arrange a ticket for the show. Riding back to Florence alone and very late, I knew I needed to fulfill my childhood dream.

Later that year, I was volunteering at a domestic violence shelter and realized the need for more awareness and more funding. I knew then I wanted to create a business that not only supported women but also gave back to all women. The name was easy.

My precious grandmother was named Luba. Luba radiated Love, as a Russian American, I want to give Love back to the world.

Luba By Hannah Payne was launched in New York in 2015. I am so grateful and blessed to be doing what I love most, creating beautiful clothing, and sharing Luba’s Love with the world.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
With any business and an especially a business in fashion, there are going to be so many bumps along the way. Both big and small! It is very easy to get distracted by all the little speed bumps, whether it’s a style that came in with sewing issues to a fabric manufacturer that’s delayed on a shipment, or even zippers being too short for a jacket. At the moment, it takes a toll. Doubt comes in, you begin to second guess yourself, and you lose sight of your mountain. Do not let all the small problems distract you and crush your spirit. One day, you will look back and laugh at these little issues because you will have reached your goal and what seemed so huge at the time will only look like a little speed bump.

The best advice I could give Is work your absolute hardest and Never give up on your dream. This sounds cliché but this phrase drives me. ‘Never give up. NEVER give up.’ Focus on your dream, figure out what your end goal is, and make a plan to achieve it. I have found as an emerging designer, you are faced with a lot of rejection, criticism, and “free advice.” This is where you grow thick skin and keep your mental space focused only on the end goal. It doesn’t matter how talented you are or how much money you can put into the brand. What matters most is having the mental staying power to keep climbing.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Luba By Hannah Payne – what should we know?
Luba By Hannah Payne is an RTW women’s label that offers high end, quality made garments. It is instantly recognizable through its intricate detailing and unique fabric on each garment; they are feminine, delicate, ornate, and whimsical. The true Lubagirl will know to mix and match these garments for both day and night. Our clothing is created with the highest quality of goods, gives back to women through LOVE, and is constructed with care right here in New York City’s Garment District.

The Luba LOVE Foundation was inspired in 2011 while working in a domestic violence shelter in San Diego, CA. “ There are more animal shelters than women’s shelters in the United States.” That statistic should encourage all of us to join together to make a change. The purpose of The Luba LOVE Foundation is to provide lasting change for women overcoming the cycle of domestic violence through the transformation of lives that local shelters offer. At Luba, we believe that every woman has the right to be safe, empowered and free from violence. A portion of every sale at Luba goes to local women shelters. This is something I am definitely most proud of when thinking about my brand. I still wanted to do more and so I created the Luba Love T-shirt. This beautiful t-shirt is embroidered in India with our very own LOVE Motif! 100% of the proceeds from this T-Shirt go back to the Love Foundation.

We’re interested to hear your thoughts on female leadership – in particular, what do you feel are the biggest barriers or obstacles?
For me, one of the biggest barriers has been people taking me seriously and I don’t know if this is because I am a woman, I am young or truly a combination of both. I remember being at a cocktail party when I first launched Luba and a woman asked me what I did. When I told her, she laughed at me and asked, “so how do you actually start a brand?” To her, I seemed like another head-­in-­the-­clouds ‘fashion girl.’ So, I told her: “You first need to have investors, then you create a business plan, find a patternmaker, then you create samples, and the list goes on,” plus a thousand more things in between.

This conversation lit a fire in me -­- although I will probably never see her again, I wanted to prove her, and every other person who has treated me like this, wrong. But at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if these people take me seriously or not because of my brand, and my hard work speaks for themselves.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:

Jody Zorn Photography

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