- Alma School District
Former AHS volleyball star cuts her teeth in the L.A. fashion industry 5/18/22
Former AHS volleyball star cuts her teeth in the L.A. fashion industry
By Kevin Taylor
Three years ago, Josephine Meinardus dove into sun-drenched Los Angeles as a bright-eyed 18-year-old at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising.
She never left. At least not yet.
“(I) graduated with a degree in Merchandise Product Development,” Meinardus said. “This degree pulls three degrees together to give me an all-around understanding of the industry. I learned forecasting future trends, learning to market, how to do visual merchandising displays, photoshop, CAD development, and technical design. I really learned everything from the concept of a design to getting it on the floor fully marketed and ready for launch.”
It’s 8 a.m. The sun is out. “It’s always 75 degrees here,” she tells me. “The weather is phenomenal. (But) I do miss the rain, though. That's something I always love about Arkansas is the rain. I do miss that out here. There are pros and cons to it always being sunny and 75.”
It’s roughly 1,525 miles from Joseph and Lucretia Meinardus’ Alma home to the bright lights of L.A. And, though separation can be hard, Josephine Meinardus wouldn't change a thing.
The 2019 Alma honors grad didn’t just leave the nest, she survived a pandemic.
"It's been interesting. You have to grow up really fast,” Meinardus said. “My situation is different; I've been living through a pandemic. I had to learn how to budget myself. Your parents, you don't realize how much they impact you. I think I was able to develop my own personality. When you've been in your same town, you're sort of meshing everyone else until you get out on your own.
“Getting out and going somewhere different, you figure out who you are.”Every day, Meinardus makes the trek from her studio apartment to The Fashionpreneur Academy, a results-driving program that caters to both beginners and established fashion entrepreneurs.
Meinardus currently wears two hats. She is Marketing Coordinator for Irregular Exposure and Executive Coordinator for The Fashionpreneur Academy.
She earned a nickname, too. “Positive polly,” she said.
First and foremost, Meinardus begins each day as some of her former classmates — with hot coffee.
“My day starts with a Starbucks run for the most part or at least some sort of caffeine. I have weaned myself off of the red bulls (for the most part) and I have started leaning on coffee,” Meinardus said. “Every day is pretty different for me because I work for two different companies. Although they are both under the same roof I have different tasks to accomplish on a weekly basis. On Mondays, I have a meeting with my CEO for brainstorming, what needs to be done ASAP, and just all in all a touch base for what the team needs to accomplish.
“I pretty much help people launch and build businesses.”
None of this, the nickname, chance-encounters with famous Tik-Tok influencers, that time she bumped into actress Peyton List (Jessie, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Cobra Kai), or mingling with fashion consultants wouldn’t have been possible without the right guidance from, among others, Alma teachers. Sherry Siler, Jerry Don Kelley, and high school volleyball coaches Tiffany Drinkwitz and Mandy Kimmons.
“Sherry Siler (DECA) had a big impact on me, for obvious reasons,” Meinardus said. “Jerry Don Kelley always motivated me. Volleyball had a major impact on my life. Coach Drinkwitz and coach Kimmons taught me how not to crumble.
“You can’t crumble out here — it’s not an option.”
Living through a pandemic 1,500 miles from home may be tough for some. It hardly deterred Jospenine Meinardus.
“I have surprised myself in the way I got to where I am. I have very supportive teachers and supportive parents,” she said. I didn't expect to be in this position as young as I am. Once I finished my associate's degree, I was ready to jump in. I got here a lot faster than I expected.”
Two months removed from celebrating her 21st birthday, Meinardus one day sees herself in Texas, Seattle, or maybe Chicago. “I don’t want to go anywhere rural,” she said.
Los Angeles may be too big to raise a family, Meinardus said. “The idea of raising children in LA is not the vibe for me,” she said...
“Working in this industry and ‘making it’ means treating it less like a job and more like a lifestyle,” Meinardus said. “If you mean it when you say you love this industry you never stop working and moving.”
Eight-hour days usually run longer.
“I am all about making our jobs easier, not harder so I truly do the best I can with automated systems,” she said. “I usually end my day with my last bit of emails, sending some stuff over to PR, and working on socials for the next day — to make sure I am ready for something that only takes me a few minutes, but when prepped is a big time saver.
“Then I clock out and head home to start working on my stuff.”
Meinardus shares the same passion for weddings most southern girls do. So much so, in fact, that she’s launching her own brand called Bridal Bow. “I’m still trying to develop it myself,” said.
Meinardus came up with the wedding idea while driving back to LA. from a Palm Springs fashion convention.
“I was in my first quarter and I was having to draw ready-wear,” she said. “I wasn't getting excited. something didn't feel right. I was coming back from a trip to Palm Springs. I was on the phone with my mom and she asked me what I was designing? Pivoted during quarantine and I got into it and I actually love it.
“You get to see people on the happiest day of their life. I was always at weddings. and being southern, that's something that is close to my heart.”