Meet Karissa LaBriola, a women with an awesome vibe and go-getter drive. She is an inspiring Lady Boss who used her creativity, education and experience to create her own business using a passion. Her creative talent and persistence to meet her goals, makes her story perfect for being showcased as a Fort Lauderdale Local Leading Lady!
Here is some insight to Karissa and her business, Hot Stuff. You can shop her store online or at one of the local events throughout South Florida that she pops up at, including Girl’s Night Out on April 29th at ROOFTOP!
Interview with the owner of Hot Stuff: Karissa LaBriola
Three words that describe you:
I am Bold, Inventive, and Enthusiastic. Basically, I cannot wait until we can all get back out in the world and meet people again!
Tell me about your business and why you started it:
Hot Stuff started as a market pop-up business to support my love of making things with my own 2 hands, and not having enough people to give them to as gifts.The pop-up sold only potholders in the early days, which is where the name Hot Stuff comes from. The vibe was vintage-y mixed with a “hostess with the mostest!” personality, which was a very personalized part of my business! I love making people happy and throwing a great party. Simply what I liked the most that week was where I drew a lot of my inspiration in the early days.
Since then I have grown quite a bit and completely revamped my branding and product line. I specialize in creating coozies, bottle carriers, and face masks designed to make you think of the beachfront and your favorite vacations. My inspirations are a sense of tropical, laid-back, wanderlust, mixed with a party-ready vibe. Walking out my front door and embracing what South Florida gives us to enjoy fuels my creativity. Today everything is still made by hand, by me.
What motivates you to keep growing your business?
The core of my business ethos is creating something functional, beautiful, and sustainable. I am focusing this year on growing the sustainable side of my business by fostering relationships with craftspeople all over the world and marrying their existing sustainable practices to new and unique ideas. Pushing these ideas and techniques to new places keeps me engaged and always wanting to create more. Ultimately, presenting a gorgeous yet functional eco-friendly product line is my goal.
How do you keep a positive outlook even when challenges arise in your life?
When I am having a down day, I run through a mental gratitude list of everything that is going well. I find that even on my worst day, I have so much to truly be thankful for. I often find myself humbled and happy after meditating on what is good in my life.
How many hours a week do you dedicate to your business?
By the end of a weekend, I total about 15-30 hours a week in my business. Hot Stuff is my side business today, so every spare moment I have in the morning, evening, and in between is dedicated to growing my woman-owned business.
How do you step away from your business to focus on self-care?
As a morning person, I like to get up a little before the sun, walk my dogs, and put in some type of effort right away. Whether it’s working out, emails, or time at the sewing machine, I like to get some work out of the way early in the day so I can relax and fully enjoy my evenings.
What do you consider your greatest professional achievement?
In my full-time career, I’ve had the opportunity to dress many fabulous women in lingerie that makes them feel invincible and sexy. Pieces I’ve designed have been featured in the TV shows Insecure on HBO, RuPaul’s Drag Race, and multiple Real Housewives franchises. My favorite styling and biggest achievement to date was dressing J.Lo and Lizzo in the film Hustlers! They looked incredible and made for a very rewarding moment of reflection of how hard I work.
I cannot wait to build career-defining moments with Hot Stuff. With the right time and opportunity, those moments are coming.
What are your future goals for your business?
Ultimately I want to grow my business into a complete line of fashion-forward lifestyle accessories made from remnants of the fashion industry. My degree is in Fashion Design and my full-time career for the past decade has been in the industry. I intimately understand how wasteful fashion can be, and how it affects both people and their habitats across the entire globe. Something has to be done to stop the growing trash islands, pollution of vital waterways that the fashion industry leaves in its wake.
My goal is to create something that people feel compelled to buy, not only for its style and function but for how it helps the world.
What advice do you have for other women wanting to start their own business?Research, research, research! Someone out there has already done the work, use their efforts to springboard your business forward towards your stated goal.
No matter what your business is, research, gather, and organize 2-5 well-edited pages that convey clearly what is inside your head. These pages should have imagery, text, and concept that tell a person what to expect from your business. The number of pages may seem small, but it keeps the business’ focus concise and concrete. Not only will it help other people see what your business is, it helps you feel confident in your pitch. You must communicate what you want to make in the world, and having thoughtful, compelling collateral will get you to the next level.
For fun, what is your favorite Fort Lauderdale spot to relax or unwind?
I love hanging out Boathouse at the Riverside Hotel – it is off of Las Olas, right on the water, and the food and drinks are always absolutely delicious! It’s a hidden gem not too far away from the action, and that is exactly the vibe I like.
Follow Karissa LaBriola on her beautiful instagram feed and shop her online store to give your drinks some style!