Contributed by Sofia Mikaeili
California Lutheran University class of 2020 alumna Sofia Mikaeili put her degree in marketing communication to use as she created and launched Girlsside Boutique with her cousin Mary Maryouhana.
Mikaeili said in a Zoom interview that during quarantine, she found herself losing some of her confidence and decided there is a need for more inclusive, relatable brands.
“Every time I try to shop I see the same types of girls on everything, and they don’t look like me and I don’t like that,” Mikaeili said. “I just think we need to realize how badass we actually are.”
Mikaeili said she didn’t care how her message was spread–she just wanted to incorporate the “damn I look good” feeling when it came to her brand and company.
“For me personally, it’s not all about the clothes, it’s more about the message and the branding and who we are,” Mikaeili said. “I am really trying to make my entire website be ‘real’ girls.”
Tessa Kirk and Alexyz Valdes, 2020 Cal Lutheran alumni, both said in phone interviews that they worked with Mikaeili at the campus Starbucks and became good friends. This led to both Kirk and Valdes becoming models for Mikaeili’s brand.
Valdes said her first time modeling for Girlsside was super fun because it was all women having a good time and empowering each other. She said Girlsside does a great job putting in the extra effort for their customers, as hard as it can be during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Her company is inclusive for all body types and all women,” Valdes said. “Don’t be afraid to online shop at her shop because you not only will find something that is going to make you look good but it will also make you feel good.”
Kirk said before she became a model for Girlsside, she heard about the company’s message and really liked how different it was from other businesses. Mikaeili said she wanted Kirk and Valdes to be models for her company to show “real women.”
“Making it very women-empowering, and less about the size of what you fit into more about wearing what you feel good in,” Kirk said.
Mikaeili said her company’s goal is to teach girls to own the amazing people they are and the bodies they have. Kirk said she thinks her modeling for Girlsside shows their followers and customers they can relate more rather than seeing unrealistic expectations of models in clothes.
“It’s not really about the sales or the money for us, it’s more about girls gaining back their confidence,” Mikaeili said.
Mikaeili said they are currently looking for an intern and anyone that has questions or would like to reach out to the business contact their email [email protected] or DM them on Instagram @girlssideboutique