In The Spotlight: Creative Entrepreneur Vicky Mara Story

Vicky Mara Story is a fierce force with an excellent affinity for business. Vicky has defined her entrepreneurial skill set as an art and is the ultimate Creative Entrepreneur, within both her family life and business. She excels as a Producer and all facets of overseeing a business. The loveliest part — she’s humble about it. This makes her a “gem” as we say. Gemma Magazine is excited to cover an inspiring woman with both business and creative talents in addition to managing a family,  as we feel the journey of empowered women is to empower others.

How did Vicky Story become a Gemma Magazine aspiration? After speaking with her for ten minutes at a social gathering that Gemma was covering, we knew. Story is soft-spoken, remarkably calm, and has an inner strength. Vicky is a gorgeous woman but more importantly; she’s a beautiful person. She has concrete goals and a creative business sixth sense. The more she talked about her path, (both within business and life), we wanted to know more.

For a bit of backstory, Vicky did not have the most comfortable childhood. Both of her parents immigrated to the states from the Philippines. Their first stop was Ohio but eventually landed in sunny Los Angeles. The Mara family lived on 37th Street (across from USC). Walking to school in South Central L.A. with her siblings consisted of survival, and as a young Filipina girl, she did not always feel safe. However, her home was filled with love, and her father represented strength to her. Both of her parents instilled a strong work ethic within her that Vicky carries with her to this day.

Vicky is also married to acclaimed film Director Tim Story (https://www.imdb.com/name/nm1103162/). Vicky and Tim founded The Story Company (http://timstorypictures.com), an entertainment production company, in 1996. They have a wonderful partnership while continually achieving both family and business goals. They also are the parents of three children. Vicky explained how it could be challenging working together at times, yet, it’s also a beautiful collaboration. While Tim is immensely busy directing, Vicky handles all business affairs and logistics for The Story Company.

When she had a moment, she sat down with us to chat. We must note, there could not be a more appropriate last name for the Story family. The entire family is lovely and Vicky has set the tone for the family environment. Tim Story is very supportive of Vicky’s projects and they both are advocates for education.

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The Story Family

After hearing your story (Both ups and downs), it’s apparent that you have so much love and respect for both your parents. How did they inspire you?

My dad and mom had an incredible work ethic. My dad was a real businessman — he ran rental properties, owned a market in South Central L.A. and managed a nursery. He was terrific under pressure and never cracked. My dad was a self-made entrepreneurial businessman. My mom worked for LAUSD for thirty years, and her consistency was such an influence. They sacrificed so much for their children, and it made an enormous impact. My interest in a business career is most likely from the importance of having a strong role model as a father and watching him succeed through good and hard times.

Why were you drawn to production?

For me, production is inspiring. I naturally am attracted to business — numbers, organization, logistics, budgeting, and scheduling. I probably got it from my dad. I received my degree in Operations Management from Cal. State L.A. Many of the characteristics of Operational Management consist of the production process. I eventually started producing music videos. I worked my way up from PA to Production Manager to Producer. The hours were long (first to arrive and last to leave), but I loved it!

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Did you and Tim meet through work?

No, we were friends for two years before working on ‘The Firing Squad,’ the first independent movie we made together. After ‘The Firing Squad,’ we moved on to music videos. Tim directed music videos before getting into the film industry. However, I never produced for him, only for other directors, but would oversee all his business affairs at The Story Company. He’s a true creative storyteller and is in his element when directing a film. We are both very supportive of each other’s career achievements, and it’s a great balance.

As Executive Producer of The Story Company, what type of productions would you like to bring to fruition and what are you currently producing?

We want to broaden the scope a bit and start branching out more into the television sector as well as producing more as a company, whether it’s an episodic, cable, network or other streaming platforms. Currently, ‘Prince of Peoria’ (https://www.netflix.com/Title/80223556) has been the most recent production airing on Netflix. It centers around a prankster prince who wants to experience life as an ordinary teen leaves his kingdom to live incognito with a single mom and her studious son. We are excited about The Story Company’s upcoming film project. Tim will team up with Eddie Murphy for New Line Comedy Inspired by the hit Walter Matthau-Jack Lemmon comedy ‘Grumpy Old Men.’ Tim will direct and produce the comedy through the Story Company banner, and Sharla Sumpter Bridgett is also producing.

What do you like about production?

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I love the energy of production. As soon as you walk on set, there is this fantastic setting for all creatives from all departments to thrive. It allows me to be in my own world and be an entrepreneur. The beginning is always exciting because the project gives you a clean slate, and you get to build in every department. I love dealing with budgets, negotiating, and money. I’m a businesswoman at heart and production allows me to do that on a per project basis since there is a beginning, a middle, and an end. Therefore, I get to treat every production like it’s a new business venture.

You are also a devoted wife and mom. Do you find the balance difficult?

Well, the kids are a bit older now, so it’s not as physically taxing.  I’m very good at time management and setting my priorities for each day (both family and business). Of course, as a mom, there are so many sacrifices we make. I have recently had a renewed sense of wanting to take The Story Company in different directions as well as take on other business opportunities I’m developing. With three children, there are always activities, homework, and sports.  We are big on family life, and it’s our priority.

“Mindfulness represents unconditional love towards the self (without judgment, resentment, or past mistakes), that will transcend and produce a beautiful sense of peace. Ultimately, it is about understanding your true core and letting go of others opinions. My path is in front of me and I take one step at a time.” (Vicky Mara Story)

You are so calm and centered. Do you meditate or practice mindfulness?

I do, but it’s a process. With meditation, it took a while for me because I had to learn that there is more than one way to do it and the most important way is what works for you. In my personal experience, meditation and mindfulness go together. If we are truly able to clear our heads of all the clutter and distracting thoughts, we can have an authentic presence with just “being.” Then, we are completely living in the present moment. I had to get “out of the box” of what it’s all supposed to look like and tap into me. For me, it was honoring myself, accepting myself, being mindful of my time, and understanding what I can give back to others and family. As women, we have a lot of responsibility placed on us as wives, mothers, and work. Mindfulness represents unconditional love towards the self (without judgment, resentment, or past mistakes), that will transcend and produce a beautiful sense of peace. Ultimately, it is about understanding your true core and letting go of others opinions. My path is in front of me and I take one step at a time.

What does self-empowerment mean to you?

For me, Self-empowerment is to stand in your truth authentically and being confident in who you are. It means sharing with people you trust through selfless conversations and giving them insight, empowering them, and having an impact on others. Personally, being authentic with yourself and others is the ultimate empowerment. It has represented understanding my power and accepting it. It has also consisted of standing tall and moving forward without reservation and affecting others who we love.

Vicky Story is such an inspiration as a woman, entrepreneur, and someone who gives back to the community. On behalf of Gemma, I would like to thank her for her time and thoughtfulness for such an insightful interview.


To follow Vicky on social media:

https://www.facebook.com/vickystory

https://www.instagram.com/vickystory/


Carhartt Men’s Acrylic Watch Hat A18, Black, One Size“>Carhartt Men’s Acrylic Watch Hat A18, Black, One Size

SACHIKA Shuts Down​ LAFW with “Black Sheep” Collection

To-Tam and To-Nya Sachika (twin sisters) (http://sachika.com) and fashion’s Yin and Yang, are a powerful fashion force who are beautiful, powerful, and elegant. Their authentic love for fashion (in both a creative and business manner) shines through in every endeavor that the fashionistas take on. The Sachika sisters started their business in 2009 and are just as inspired today. Through the years, I have covered the Sachika twins for various events, and three characteristics come to mind — passionate about fashion (in all capacities), an incredible work ethic, and their dominant mindset when it comes to achieving their goals. This is a beautiful combination, just like the two of them fusing their unique talents into one original company.

SACHIKA is a contemporary ready-to-wear fashion house established since 2009 by Identical Twin Fashion Designers To-Tam & To-Nya Sachika.  The brand has earned a secure place amongst the stars and influencers as it proudly celebrates and embraces all body types. SACHIKA is known to fabricate beautiful dresses that complement the female body. It has been featured included but not limited in publications such as Italian VOGUE, Forbes, ELLE Magazine, The Fader, Arise Magazine, Teen Vogue, Daily News, NY Times, Businessweek, Fashion Week Daily, and Style.com.

Sachika's Black Sheep Fasshion Show

How do To-Tam and To-Nya see the modern woman about fashion?
The Modern Woman is fierce, she’s independent, and she knows what she wants,” says To-Tam. “Designing is like creating the perfect balance between the imaginary mind and the reality of life,” says To-Nya. Their newest collection entitled “BLACK SHEEP” is a collection dedicated specifically to the working woman. She dares to be different and isn’t afraid to go after her dreams. FOR “BLACK SHEEP,” 
they used a combination of different fabrics such as vegan faux fur, satin, polished pontil, ruffled knit and stretched models. The collection as all black, focusing on various textures and silhouettes.

SACHIKA’s staple boutique is located in the trendy Mile-End of Montreal, and their atelier is located in Los Angeles,  where all the designs are created and confectioned. SACHIKA is currently available in Canada, USA & France. Black Sheep is not their first full collection. They have showcased numerous complete collections in the past during NYFW, LAFW as well as MWFW ( Midwest Fashion Week), Toronto Fashion Week, and Viet Fashion Week.

Recently, the Sachika twins debuted the ‘Black Sheep Collection” in Downtown LA at the US Bank Tower, at the Skyscape. It was an exciting show with a meaningful message. The “Black Sheep” collection represents the modern woman who wants to ” Stand Out ” as opposed to blending in within the workplace or when she goes out. The Black Sheep woman doesn’t follow the crowd, she leads the pack and carves her path. The message was important to both To-Tam and To-Nya, as they have carved their own path throughout many years of hard work.

After the show, Gemma Magazine sat down with the Sachika twins to discuss the exciting night and the details that went into it.

How would you describe the “Black Sheep Collection?”

The Black Sheep collection is a staple collection for today’s executive, high-corporate, working woman. We believe every piece in this collection is not only wearable and functional but very much needed for the modern woman who wants to ” Stand Out ” as opposed to blending in within the workplace or when she goes out. The Black Sheep woman doesn’t follow the crowd, she leads the pack, and in this case, she leads with poise, sensitivity, class, and purpose all while wearing outfits that command class and sophistication.

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What went into the creative process of casting, designing, and production?
It’s an immense amount of work.

As designers and businesswomen, we always try to work and get inspired by real-life situations. We delved into our past and childhood and remembered how we were still the misfit, the outcast, the rule breaker, the ones who dared to try something different. “The Black Sheep” concept came to us quickly as we realized it was also a path that many successful women had to go through in their journey. For this collection, our focus was a classic, apparel silhouette, important details, and functional and distinguished styles throughout the process. We also believe black is without a doubt, the most worn, as well as the most flattering color for women to wear.

Additionally, We wanted to remove the negative connotation behind the words “black sheep” and instead celebrate every woman’s boldness and uniqueness. Throughout the process of creation and production, we were immersed and inspired by the mission of this collection which was to encourage women to be assertive and to be different.

A quote to Love:

“The Modern Woman is fierce, she’s independent, and she knows what she wants.” says To-Tam. “Designing is like creating the perfect balance between the imaginary mind and the reality of life,” says To-Nya.

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Is part of your mission/goal to inspire and empower women through fashion?

Thank you, Elisabeth, and absolutely! SACHIKA is so much more than a Designer Label. It is a movement for the Modern Ambitious Woman. At its core, SACHIKA’s real mission is to empower women.

How do you balance it all? Boutique owners, designing, and fashion shows (in addition to traveling a lot to build your brand)?

We are both obsessed with what we do. Seeing women’s faces light up when they wear our clothes because they feel amazing, sexy and powerful, is what truly keeps us going. We love the feeling of being able to put a smile on these women, and we want to continue to do so forever. How do we balance it all with so many things on our plate? By just enjoying the journey every day, always keeping each other in check, properly managing our time and by continually motivating each other.

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What do you both do to relax and take a break from the fashion industry?

We both love traveling and discovering new things. Traveling inspires us to create. We also enjoy fitness and singing. You may catch us on stage at some random Karaoke bars in Ktown during the weekend lol. We are also major foodies, and we love to cook. Maybe one day, we will release a cookbook and have our cooking show 🙂

Do you feel you are the perfect combination for forming a business? You are family, as well as having business and creative talents.

We believe two things are essential: 1) having a clear vision of what you want to accomplish 2) having the right team. We are truly blessed to have each other as there is already a strong common ground and an unbreakable level of trust. We feel like God created us and made us identical Twins for this exact purpose. 🙂

What can we expect next from SACHIKA?

We intend on expanding our brand to overseas such as Europe and Asia. We also are working on developing and creating more designs for our men’s line TUXXMAN. You can also expect to see us continue to provide not only excellent designer wear but also a support system for all the modern ambitious women. Thank you for this interview!

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To follow the Sachika twins on social media:

https://www.facebook.com/sachikatwins/

https://www.facebook.com/sachikamontreal/

https://www.instagram.com/sachikatwins/

https://www.linkedin.com/company/sachika-inc/
Shoes: https://www.lilianashoes.com
HandBags: www.laudividni.com
Jewelry: www.melindamaria.com
Hosiery: www.beverlyhillshosiery.com
Makeup/Hair: www.mva.la

ALL Photos: @rays.o.lightwww.instagram.com/rays.o.light

Gemma Magazine would like to thank the Sachika Twins for taking the time to interview with us. We are excited to see what is upcoming, as they are always developing new concepts for their brand.

Gemma Magazine is an Online Magazine for Artists. We cover Fashion, Artists, Actors, and Creative Entrepreneurs from A Diverse Perspective. Our goal is to inspire through the power of artists!