How did you get to where you are today?
I’ve always been obsessed with the outdoor lifestyle and sunny weather. Growing up with harsh winters in the Midwest, I found myself daydreaming about warm-weathered getaways. As soon as I turned 18, I packed my bags and moved to Florida, where I fell in love with the sun-soaked beaches and the bikini culture. I became a swimsuit addict living near the beach. I quickly learned that in order to be a serious contender in the swim world that California was where I had to be so I packed my bags and landed in Orange County.
What is your elevator pitch on what you do?
I’m Monica Wise, the founder of L*Space, known for classic beach-chic swimwear and apparel with impeccable fit!
How do you define success? Do you consider yourself “successful”?
Waking up every day and doing something that I truly love and that I never tire of defines success to me. There’s not a day that goes by that I’m not grateful.
What have been some of the most rewarding things in your career thus far?
Six years ago L*Space was voted “Mercedes Benz Presents Designer” during Miami Fashion Week. At that moment, I knew there was something unique and special about my brand.
What have been some of your mistakes? What have you learned from them?
There are times when I become too much of a control freak in handling projects and not allowing my team to do what they were hired to do. I’ve learned to take a step back, take a deep breath and trust.
What do you still want to achieve personally and/or professionally?
I am passionate about continuing our product offering at L*Space and expanding to categories beyond the beach. The challenge really excites me!
Who has been your greatest inspiration?
I’ve had the chance to meet and work with so many strong aspirational women over the years. Nothing inspires me more than young driven women who have a vision of their own. I’ve mentored a few over the years and it’s rewarding to see their passions and accomplishments.
When was the last time you were overwhelmed and cried from something provoked by work?
My first year winning “Swimwear Brand of the Year” at the SIMA Awards was a very emotional moment for me. Standing there on stage to accept that award 8 years ago definitely had me bawling!
How has your career affected your personal life/relationships?
At the onset of L*Space I was quite the workaholic putting in 7 days a week. I knew I had to stay focused on the “prize” which didn’t allow a lot of time in my personal life.
Have you ever thought about giving up? What provokes those thoughts?
Never!! I’ve always believed in the harder the struggler, the more glorious the triumph.
What causes you anxiety/sleepless nights?
I’ve had many sleepless nights when I first launched L*space and I could run on 4-5 hours of sleep. Having to do it all as a one woman show was challenging and there was never enough time in the day. Today I have the support of an amazing team and I get plenty of sleep in days!
What makes you happy?
I recently married and I love weekends spent at home with my husband and our three kitties, but there’s also nothing like traveling to new international cities and experiencing different cultures. Luckily I married a man who love to travel too!
What advice would you tell your 21 year old self?
“Monica, take care of yourself. You only get one body so lay off the sugar, eat healthy, and exercise!!” (I still have those sugar cravings)
What is the biggest misconception about what you do?
People seem to have this misconception that owning a bikini brand is all fun in the sun. Although the product in fun and the lifestyle we portrait is aspirational it’s really just like running any other business.
What is your favorite quote?
“Good, better, best. You can never rest until good is better and better best.” I’ve rehearsed this quote many times when a launched L*Space and still live by it today!