Bold, Brave, and Determined
No journey can be started without these Stoutways.
Stacey Chang, Founder and Chief Warrior for luxury vegan footwear company Veerah, shares the Stoutness behind her passion, purpose and warrior spirit.
I’m an introvert, so I’m not very comfortable being in the spotlight. But when I had my very first job working for a Fortune 500 company, we had a corporate town hall meeting. I actually raised hand, and asked our CEO during the Q&A session why the company’s stock was trending down when business was booming. I was so curious, thinking about why the stock was not performing, that I didn’t realize that maybe that was not the best place – that the CEO might not have wanted to be asked that kind of question there.
I left Taiwan at the age of fifteen – alone – to get my high school education here in the US. I had no friends or relatives there, but I really wanted to get my education here.
I don’t think there is one time or place I can point to on this. Determination to me is a 24/7 quality. I have to face obstacles and challenges every day.
Stacey Chang Is A Warrior
A warrior in fashion heels, which makes her even more fierce. She’s the passionate powerhouse behind Veerah shoes, a mission-driven company founded for women to to make a positive impact as they conquer the world in impeccable style. Veerah is derived from warrior in Sanskrit, and Chang’s crusade is to create a cruelty-free, yet striking product that fits a woman’s everyday life, helping her to be not only stylish, but comfortable. She is fond of saying that her shoes are inspired by women, and made for a warrior. But taking that inspiration, and creating luxury footwear crafted from apple peel leather, was in and of itself a task for a warrior.
It took Chang two years to go from starting the brand in 2014 to actually making shoes in 2016. She knew what she wanted, but it took a time to find the right manufacturing partners – to get them to truly understand what she was trying to accomplish. And then, just when she thought she was finally ready to move forward, disaster struck. It seems that there was a miscue with the factory, who had thought her order would be much larger, and they withdrew from the manufacturing agreement. Like her company’s namesake, though, Chang simply dusted herself off, steadied her sense of purpose, and carried on. Forced to basically start again, she made a few changes. She created a 5-year growth plan to demonstrate her seriousness and commitment to her product. And she was transparent with potential manufacturers about that plan. With that adjusted approach, Chang finally landed a committed manufacturing partner. It’s a relationship of mutual respect – a true alliance.
Inspired By Strength And Resilience
Given her warrior bent, it’s no surprise who Chang cites as her current inspirational influences. She is training herself for a triathlon, and in the process, discovered Turia Pitt. Pitt is an Australian woman who was caught in a bushfire during an ultra-marathon in 2011 in Western Australia. Burned over 65% of her body, Pitt was told she would never compete again. Five years and 200 operations later – including amputations of her damaged fingers – Pitt completed the world’s toughest triathlon, the Hawaii Ironman. In addition to Pitt’s grit, energy, confidence, and love, Chang is also inspired by media legend Arianna Huffington, and her passionate devotion to sharing how to take care of yourself, both professionally and personally. She is also a big fan of Ellen Degeneres’ positivity, charm, and charismatic energy.
Chang’s own approach to life could certainly inspire others. She believes in setting goals every day, even throughout the day itself. In the morning, she takes time to decide on just one or two things she’d like to accomplish – she finds that focusing intently on fewer goals makes it much more likely that she will achieve them. It’s an approach that she takes for both professional and personal goals. She will break a goal down into different task buckets, and stop at mental checkpoints throughout the day.
Using Feedback As Fuel
When she finds that a day is wearing her down, Chang turns to her favorite source of fuel, feedback. She loves hearing from customers about Veerah’s products. She thrives on hearing what they like, as well as suggestions to fix what they don’t. This energy boost stems from the appreciation of the effort it takes from her customers to actually take the time to reach out. That said, nothing drains Chang faster than people who are negative and like to complain without offering a solution. In an effort to take the best care of herself, she has learned to avoid those types of people whenever she can, because she knows what they do to her energy level. And if that energy level does get low, Chang’s favorite recharge is sleep. In fact, rather than worrying excessively when she is stressed out, she goes to bed. That rest and refreshment allow her to get up the next day with improved energy, ready to find a solution to whatever is troubling her.
These days, her challenges are likely to be from navigating the difficulties of working with a limited budget and resources. Like many of us, Chang also wishes she had more time in the day. Lacking that, however, she simply recommits to her passion and purpose, and stays the course. It’s an approach that perfectly fits a warrior woman who lives by the motto, “Nothing is easy, but nothing is impossible”.
Inspired by Chang’s story? We’re bringing our readers an entire month’s worth of fuel for your passion and purpose. Tap into additional Stout advice here, and bring out your Stout.