Radical Renegade ft. Lisa Santos

Rise’s Radical Renegade is a monthly series featuring interviews with trailblazing career mavens. Meet Lisa Santos, co-founder of andieanderin – a company bringing back the power of women’s necktie. They are adding some serious punch by dedicating each design to an influential woman.

Lisa Santos wearing necktie inspired by NASA mathematicians from Hidden Figures
‘Women that Add Up’ necktie inspired by the NASA mathematicians from the Hidden Figures story: Katherine Johnson, Mary Jackson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Christine Darden

Why did you start a women-inspired necktie company and what motivates you every day?

My friend and I were looking for a creative outlet and we were motivated by the resurgence of the women’s movement. We wanted to create something that would celebrate the amazing women from history and today. It is easy to be motivated each day when a bulk of the work is researching amazing women!

What are some of the major lessons you’ve learned along the way?

We have only been live for nearly 1.5 years, but we have learned soooo much. This is our first experience with production and retail. I think the biggest lesson we learned is that your partners are key. They can make or break your business. Do not stay in a partnership if it is not working for your business. We also started with a Kickstarter campaign. A crowdfunding campaign is a lot of work, but it really pays off and it is a great first step towards getting your messaging on point.

Necktie storyboard inspired by Malala Yousafzai
Malala Yousafzai inspired necktie storyboard titled ‘The Brave One’

Tell us about a setback you’ve faced and how did you overcome it?

We had a major setback early on when one of our co-founders moved crossed country. We went from a Seattle-based company to a Seattle and New York company. It was a major adjustment, but it has actually been a blessing for the business. Additionally, we faced setbacks with our original production partner so once we were able to connect in NY, we started working with an amazing women-owned production house in the Garment District. We couldn’t be happier. We also implemented Asana, a project management tool, to keep us organized. Being separated also gives us an excuse to travel and meet up each quarter 🙂

What advice do you have for women who feel stuck in their careers?

Find something that excites you! Maybe it’s just something new at your current job, maybe you choose to change jobs all together, or maybe you just need a side hustle that can keep your creative juices flowing. For us, we knew we needed something more than our day jobs. Side hustles and starting a small business are exhausting, but the rewards are so much sweeter and the community of women we have met through our business has made this the best decision of our lives!

Necktie inspired by Amelia Earhart
‘High Flier’ leather necktie inspired by Amelia Earhart

We all know how difficult work/life balance is. How do you draw the line to create separation in these two spheres?

We could do better. We are both mothers so we have to take time to care for our families, but that then usually results in working late nights. When trying to run a small business, you are responsible for all the pieces of the business, but the reality is there is not enough time to do it all. We have tried to be smart with our time, prioritize projects, and outsource when we know we need to.

We love to support women-founded ventures. Is there a company/product that you’ve come across recently that you think more people should know about?

There are so many! We shop women-owned all the time! LeMondeur is a new shoe company that we are really crushing on. It is founded by a woman in Brooklyn and she just launched her first collection.

‘Stone Stories’ necktie inspired by Landscape Architect, Maya Lin