Earlier this year we wrote an article on The Zeitgeist as part of our Fashion Focus series.
Recently Alexandra Chang the creator of The Zeitgeist was kind enough to answer some of our questions about how she created the site and the creative process behind the pieces she sells.
What inspired you to launch The Zeitgeist?
I had been a nationally-ranked tennis player for most of my life, but overuse injuries led to surgeries, and I was forced to lay in bed for months at a time. It was then that I began following different blogs, and I realized that a lifestyle website for both teens and adults alike didn’t exist. I had always wanted to explore my artistic side, and this seemed like an exciting opportunity, so I took it!
How did you fund the startup of The Zeitgeist?
I borrowed the cost of the initial order from my parents, and I recognize that I am incredibly fortunate to be able to do that. I committed to them that I would pay them back once the business generated sufficient earnings to do so. I am happy to say that my business is profitable and I have fully repaid the loan!
What is your favorite piece on the site currently?
“The Suzanne Tee”, which has the definition of the word “zeitgeist” on the front, will always remain one of my favorite pieces. “Zeitgeist” is a German word that translates to the phrase “spirit of the time.” I wanted my company and blog to represent everything current, so it seemed like the perfect name. Initially, I heard the word “zeitgeist” from my grandmother, who even at age 82, seemed younger to me because she was constantly adapting, learning, and interested in everything going on around her. The word “zeitgeist” has become popular in recent months which makes me happy because now more people know what it means! I’ve seen it used in several newspaper articles and TV shows recently, which is fantastic!
How do you decide on what collections go on the Zeitgeist?
When I first launched the brand, I had a handful of different collections on my website, all of which represented different parts of my personality and things I love. Some of the categories included “The Humor Collection” and “The Girl Power Collection.” I came up with these groups after creating my first round of t-shirts, and I’m excited to expand more in the future.
Does the line reflect your own personal style or is it more that it reflects things you see your friends and peers wear?
My line certainly reflects my personal style, and I’ve never designed according to current fads. I want to create products that are original, and I’ve learned that my customers also appreciate individuality and humor. Making people laugh and smile is my main goal. I want Zeitgeist girls to feel happy and empowered.
We love the loads of the designs Fuzzable, many of your products that you sell, you donate the sales to various charities, how do you decide which charities?
Many of my designs have a philanthropic component, and I donate proceeds to causes I deeply care about. For example, I love Girl Up’s mission of empowering women and girls all over the globe through education. Since I attend an all-girls high school, I am aware of the need for girls to have access to education and job opportunities so they can become financially independent. Another program I love is Children’s Action Network’s “SantaCAN” program. It’s an annual gift drive for LA foster youth, and it makes their holiday wishes come true. I’ve designed a few tees in collaboration with Children’s Action Network, and I have two more designs coming out this winter that support the organization as well.
You recently did an internship with The Safran Company and worked on Annabelle: Creation, what was that like and how did it come about, what did you learn from it?
Working for The Safran Company is by far the best experience I’ve ever had! I spent my last two summers working as a production assistant on the horror movie Annabelle: Creation and Marvel’s upcoming film Aquaman, which was shot in Australia. The Aquaman comic books were amazing, and it was incredible seeing the story come to life from behind the scenes. I felt so inspired after working on both sets that I’ve made some short films of my own. It was life-changing being in a working environment where everyone is the best at what they do, whether they’re a producer, editor, actor, or anything in between. They all bring out the best in each other’s abilities and respect the creative process. I’ve always loved writing, but after interning for The Safran Company, I’m even more excited to study English, creative writing, and film in college to improve my skills as a storyteller.
What are your career goals for the future?
My dream is for The Zeitgeist to become a media outlet with content from young female writers, entrepreneurs, filmmakers, artists, and musicians. In addition to The Zeitgeist, some of my other creative ambitions include becoming a screenwriter and director. I’m currently working on my second script. Writing makes me happier than anything else!
What advice would you give someone your age wanting to start their own business?
Surround yourself among other entrepreneurs, ask tons of questions, and reach out to people who inspire you. You could read a book about how to start a business, but having coffee with someone who actually started their own company and achieved success is far more useful.
What’s next for The Zeitgeist?
I have some really exciting plans for the next few years concerning The Zeitgeist, but I can’t reveal anything just yet! I don’t want to ruin the surprise. Right now, though, I’m in the process of creating an enamel pin named after my best friend who passed away from cancer a few years ago. The proceeds will go to The Humane Society to honor her love of animals. I am also in the midst of making some pieces inspired by the incredible Ruth Bader Ginsburg, all of which will be available soon.