Joan Dominique is the Founder and Creative Director of Maison Joan Dominique, a female designer reinvigorating the tradition of menswear. Learn more about Joan Dominique…
Hometown: Paradise Valley, Arizona
First job: At the young age of 15, I spent my second summer away from home, Paradise Valley, AZ, in New York City. I was thrilled to spend the summer in the city because it is somewhere I wanted to live since I was 8 years old. Luckily, I landed a position as a Technical Footwear Design Intern at reputable women’s brand, Alice + Olivia. It was a 3-month internship alongside a career accelerator course at New York University. This internship placed me on the track as a footwear designer–something I did not envision previously. Two years later, I was accepted and attended Parsons the New School for Design and all throughout I studied fashion design focusing in womenswear clothing. Yet, every internship or job I worked during my college years–with a couple exceptions– was footwear focused. There were times I was frustrated because I was not getting the highly-coveted womenswear internships that I initially wanted. Little did I know, after graduation that footwear would become my primary focus once again. Furthermore, I never imagined landing in the world of men’s footwear. I fell back onto all my skills that I learned from my industry internship experiences, starting with my first job at Alice + Olivia. It was the greatest thing that ever happened to me.
Favorite AZ restaurant: Postino Wine Cafe. The Bruschetta boards are to die for! The ultimate indulgence. Also, on Tuesdays or Mondays they have a wonderful deal on bottles of wine. I have spent many wonderful meals with friends and family there over the years. I associate these wonderful memories with this restaurant.
Person who has impacted your life the most: Mother always knows best. My mother is not like most. Like most, she is strong, protective, and intelligent. However, she is an entrepreneur, in other words, a grade-A risk taker. This anecdote demonstrates her teachings to me best: the stage after graduation from university is a confusing moment in your life. When I wanted to follow the steps of my peers of getting an entry-level design job. I was thrilled when I received offers of $28 an hour for entry-level. For me, it was not about the money, I was excited to get my foot into the door and officially start a life as an adult. She was not happy for me. Instead, she reminded me of every job that I had previously. And of the frustration I always faced when I knew a better direction for a company but I was unable to get my point across do to lack of power in my position. She encouraged the side hustles, ones that would not distract from my goal: my own fashion house. Like most mothers, she taught me self-worth. Unlike most mothers, she taught me self-worth in business.
Your biggest accomplishment in your eyes: Getting started. In nature, causes of an avalanche are either natural or artificial triggers; for example, either new snow or explosives can cause snow to cascade down the side of a mountain. And once the avalanche starts, it can’t be stopped. They happen unexpectedly and at full force. For me, it was a combination of natural and artificial triggers: graduating college, my mother’s influence, pressure from outsiders to know what I needed to do with my life right away, etc. It was a period of confusion, uncomfortableness, and fear of the unknown. With a good push from mother, I was well on my way.
The biggest obstacle you have overcome: My biggest challenge was changing my mindset. There were those born with talent and those not. I believed the overachievers were given the talent to overachieve, not that they worked for it. It took me a very long time to realize habits, repetition, consistency, and persistence were the true key to excellence. After I began working on my mindset, it opened a whole new world of vision for opportunity for me.
Someone who inspires you: Denzel Washington has wonderful inspirational videos. One that I particularly love is his commencement speech at Dillard University. It focuses on the necessity of failing in order to achieve greatness.
Favorite quote: “Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence. But we rather have those because we acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence is not an act but a habit.” -Aristotle
Advice to someone pursuing a career path in what you do: Ideas are golden but are nothing without the hustle to make them a reality. Once I had started, I found a pure distinction between having an idea and making it an actuality. There are many realities that you will face that will modify your initial idea in the creation process. But you must embrace these changes and leverage them to your advantage.
What you think makes someone fabulous: Passion. I relentlessly pursue passions because I believe it is the foundation to creating an emotionally life. There are only few who think in this manner.