One-To-One With LA MISC Founder Dana Goldenberg
MEET DANA GOLDENBERG, A TORONTO-BASED STYLIST WHO HAS STYLED ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS FOR BRANDS INCLUDING LOUIS VUITTON, GUESS, AND SKETCHERS AND WHOSE WORK HAS APPEARED IN HARPER'S BAZAAR, PAPER MAGAZINE, ELLE AND OTHER PUBLICATIONS. DANA IS THE FOUNDER OF LA MISC, A CLEAN AND SUSTAINABLE HOME FRAGRANCE BRAND. HERE SHE TALKS ABOUT HER WORK AS A STYLIST, WHAT DROVE HER TO START THE BRAND, AND STAYING WELL.
PLEASE INTRODUCE YOURSELF TO THE SARKA BOTANICALS COMMUNITY. WHERE ARE YOU BASED AND WHAT DO YOU DO?
I’m currently based in my hometown of Toronto. I’m the founder of LA MISC, which is a clean, luxury, home fragrance company. I've worked in fashion for a very long time but always wanted to start my own business. The pandemic really made me think about things and that’s where the idea of clean candles came from.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR WORK IN FASHION?
I studied at fashion school in LA. During school, I started assisting stylists while attending FIDM (Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising) in LA.
Fast forward many years, I made my way back into styling and started getting work in the industry.
WHAT SKILLS DID YOU DEVELOP WORKING AS A STYLIST THAT HELP WITH LAUNCHING AND RUNNING LA MISC?
As a stylist, you have to be well rounded and a multitasker because you have to do everything, and that’s really important when running your own business.
Nothing really feels like work with LA MISC, I love seeing things through from the start to the end and feeling a sense of pride in that.
I want to say that working as a stylist is a really hard job, it's emotionally taxing and physically draining. Getting anywhere in that industry is an achievement. I really developed a sense of humility working as a stylist, no job was too small for me and the same applies to LA MISC.
WHAT DROVE YOU TO START LA MISC?
I always wanted to start my own thing. Candles have always been grounding and calming for me. During the pandemic, my Jewish neuroticism centered on what they were putting in candles and what I was breathing in, so I began to really research and start.
It wasn't that hard to start, but it is a process that takes time. I mean, if I can do it, anyone can. That being said, I have a strong work ethic and a network of creative types who have helped me along the way. It's so important to know what your strong suit is and what it isn't, and then to find the right people to help you.
I developed the scents myself. I did a lot of research, testing, and consumer feedback until I was finally happy with them. I really wanted to focus on the aromatherapy benefits. I wanted a full fragrance that would really fill a room. I really wanted people to feel like they were getting something special.
WHAT'S THE HARDEST PART OF BUILDING A BUSINESS?
Patience…. It takes time to build something great.
How do you manage your expectations around the time it takes to build a business? Any early disappointments? What about some early wins?
I have to remind myself that I just launched. We all have to start somewhere with the resources that are available to us.
One thing that's helped me, is to stay true to myself and my vision for the business, but also to stay emotionally removed from it, it's allowed me to have some perspective. It's also important to celebrate the wins.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO SOMEONE STARTING A BUSINESS?
Just start, seriously.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR PODCAST 'IN CONVERSATION WITH LA MISC'? HOW DOES THIS FIT IN WITH THE BRAND?
It’s really something that I wanted to try out and I remembered reading a Business of Fashion article about how fashion houses are actually media companies now.
That really got the wheels rolling as I wanted an interesting way to focus on marketing and branding. Some companies have journals or blogs, LA MISC has a podcast.
I also was so tired of hearing the same folks doing the rounds on all the popular podcasts. I wanted to shed light on all the interesting friends I have across various industries doing amazing things.
IF YOU COULD TIME TRAVEL AND GIVE ADVICE TO YOURSELF, WHAT WOULD YOU SAY?
Chill the F^&* out…
WHAT'S YOUR APPROACH TO AGING?
To try to do so gracefully and take care of myself as best I can.
HOW DO YOU TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF, WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR SELF-CARE PRACTICES?
Working out is a really integral part of my self care, so I do a mix of pilates and the elliptical, as well as spinning classes. I also love lotions and potions, so give me all the face masks! I need a lot of alone time, so quality time with my dog and lots of reading and streaming shows are all very important to me. I also think that a great conversation with a good friend has a lot of healing benefits.
TELL US ABOUT THE SKINCARE RITUALS AND PRODUCTS YOU LOVE.
Well, I recently came across Kbeauty called Peptaronic Serum by SNP Prep. So I wash my face with a gentle cleanser from La Roch Posay and then their toner, I’ll slather the serum on and then let it dry. I then put on the glorious Sarka Vitamin C oil serum, and then a lotion. I alternate between Luxe, Darphin or L’aniege and then I use the Glow Recipe Avocado Melt Retinol Eye Sleeping Mask.
For day time I moisturize with Embryolisse and use the Supergoop Unseen Sunscreen. I’m obsessed with the Claudalie Moisturizing Mask, and once a week I’ll use the clay mask from Origins.
HOW DO YOU KEEP YOUR MIND YOUTHFUL AND HEALTHY?
Oye, I don't know that it is those things, but I will say that conversations with friends are always very helpful, and lots of reading, and a bit of lion's mane daily doesn't hurt.
WHEN DO YOU FEEL MOST BEAUTIFUL?
When I feel fit and happy.
What's in the future for LA MISC? For you?
We are launching more scents for the fall/winter, with more smokey, woodsy, and cozy scents. We are also looking at entering more stores and other categories, but I want to scale responsibly.
Personally, I am on a health kick now and want to better myself in that respect. It also looks like I’ll be staying in Toronto for the long-term, so I am looking to build a community around here.