Living in L.A. usually means that you’re always on the go. Our city is overflowing with exciting events, amazing people and non-stop action. If your anything like me, leaving the house at 8 am and returning at 11 pm is not uncommon. I’m constantly on the hunt for clothes that give me a variety of options for different activities I may encounter throughout my day. I want to look sporty and like I work out, but I don’t necessarily have time to go to the gym every day. This is where clothing company’s like Neon Beige come to my aid. Up & Coming was excited to sit down with CJ Franco, the designer of the athleisure brand, and spend some time discussing this innovative brand.
CJ Franco is no stranger to fashion. The beautiful young designer spent years modeling for everyone from Sears to Maxim. At 21 she decided to drop out of business school and pursue an idea. She wanted to create an athleisure clothing brand for women who weren’t athletes. A brand for women who wanted to be themselves, and be comfortable while doing it. Thus, Neon Beige was born. The clothing company is a lifestyle brand, where “active wear meets ready to wear”.
Like anything worth working for, there has been a learning curve or two creating the brand. However, CJ uses these lessons as a motivational force to help her strive for success. “In a lot of ways Neon Beige has been more than a learning experience, it’s been my education. This motivates me to do things the right way and put everything I have into the brand to make it something I can be extremely proud of.” CJ also stresses how important it is to be open to, and ask for, help when embarking on a new endeavor. It was with the help of her friends and colleagues that she’s grown Neon Beige into what it is today. She credits them with a big part of her success. “In my experience, the best advice I can give is always, always, always ask for help! Starting a company is NOT easy; there are a million things you must do, and need to know, and procedures, and permits- if it wasn’t for my friends, my contacts, my resources I wouldn’t be where I am today. They have helped me tremendously, but it all started with me asking for help!”
To help other budding business owners with the trials and tribulations or beginning a company, CJ began filming a series called “Egg Nog”. “Egg Nog” documents and reveals the “demanding and rewarding endeavors of becoming a new designer and female entrepreneur.” Through the series, she hopes to give people a realistic idea of what it takes to live and create their “American Dream”. It shows her own struggles and the mistakes that have been made so that others can learn and know what to avoid. In my opinion, it also shows how very strong and admirable the young designer is to share her process and the ups and downs that come with it.
To design with success, one must be inspired; CJ finds her motivational inspiration through other entrepreneurs, fashion designers, and her friends. She speaks of the talents of such people as Sophia Amorousa (Creator of Nasty Gal), Jessica Alba (Actress/Creator of The Honest Company) and Jeremy Scott (Creative Director/Designer Moschino) when talking of strong forces that influence her drive. Her friends nudge her to trudge forward and encourage her when times get tough. There’s also an internal drive present in her that’s admirable. You get the sense that she would succeed in whatever she may try.
What’s “Up & Coming for CJ Franco? You can look forward to more footage being released for “Egg Nog” and collaborations with other brands to extend her reach in the industry. She’s branching into other areas of fashion with a collection of chic dog leashes and harnesses as well this fall. There also may be an epic launch party on the horizon to celebrate the brand. It was truly a pleasure getting to know this designer better and we can’t wait to see what she does next. To find out more about this great apparel line: