Meet Woman on the Move Stefani Schuetz, CEO and Co-Founder – Tri Sirena
Tell us about how you chose your career/business and what your responsibilities include?
My business chose me when I was diagnosed with stage II melanoma at the age of 25. As a triathlete, I was determined not to allow my diagnosis to stop me from participating in the sport I love. I began to look for performance gear that would keep me protected while training, but I was unable to find the gear I needed. There was a need for sun safety performance gear and so I set out to create performance gear that would help protect women.
Without a full understanding of how to get started in creating performance gear, I have built a brand and taken on a lot of responsibilities like product development, social media management, customer service, shipping, and packing. I know my tasks are going to the greater good because I want to help bring awareness to women who are exposed to UVA and UVB rays while exercising outdoors.
Tell us about your company?
Tri Sirena is dedicated to providing physician approved, sun protective, quality clothing that is both fashionable and functional for the casual athlete, while meeting the demands of the most rigorous professional through innovative and contemporary design.
What are some of the most fulfilling projects you have been involved with so far?
I am currently busy putting together a launch party fashion show for my new line of performance gear. It is hard work getting sponsors, a venue, sending invites, contacting people, and putting together a show for my guests. I am thrilled with how far my team and I have come to have this moment and bring awareness to more women because this is a movement we are creating.
We are still a small company and I hope this launch party will help us gain new reach and new partnerships. I would love to align myself and give back to Melanoma Research and Shade Foundation because we have the same missions.
Are there any people in your field you would like to meet and/or work with and have not yet had the opportunity?
CEO Sofia Amaruso of Nasty Gal is a real inspiration to me. She had nothing and began selling clothes on eBay just to make money but has now built a fashion empire. I really connect with her in many ways from where she held odd jobs before becoming an entrepreneur and establishing a brand without a fashion degree. Honestly, if I could just follow her around for a day I would soak up every bit of knowledge she offered.
What are some of your favorite ways to network?
Attending race events and being amongst people competing in their sport is my favorite way to network. I setup a tent at every race I attend and get to know the people around me. Here is where I make friends, we have the same common interests, there is good chemistry, and they really love the vision of Tri Sirena.
Do you have a mentor – if so how did you choose one another?
Having a mentor would take out a lot of guesswork. Most of my decisions are made as tests to see if a certain product or plan will work or not. By having a mentor for guidance would benefit me a great deal because I could eliminate the trial and error method and focus on what works. Sofia Amaruso seems to know how it works. I could see her being a great mentor and coach to me.
What’s been the most surprising thing that has happened to you so far in your career?
There have been countless surprises since starting Tri Sirena especially the entire start-up process, but I can honestly say the most surprising is when companies and business owners are reaching out to me wanting my product. It is a cool feeling knowing people are watching your brand grow and want to be apart of the movement we are making.
What do you do for fun/relaxation?
My family and I love to travel. Spending time with my entire family does not really get any better. The dynamic with my family is always go, go, go, but then we clock out and lounge for a few days on a beach. Even though we travel as a family we are also big on stay-cations and sometimes we just book a hotel down the road for a weekend.
Any parting advice for someone who would like to follow in your footsteps?
Starting my own business is similar to having a child: you nurture it, care for it, it can make you happy and sad, but the rewarding days far outweigh the hard days. My advice, keep moving toward your goal and stay focused because consistency is key—don’t ever give up.
What’s the best way for the readers of WE Magazine for Women to connect with you?
Twitter: @TriSirena –