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Secrets of Success: Sica Schmitz

There are some “rules” of business success most entrepreneurs abide by. But many also have their own “secrets”—things they do or believe that helped them achieve success. In “Secrets of Success,” a weekly interview series here at’s Small Business Forum, I ask some of today’s smartest, most innovative, most successful business owners to share their insights and success secrets with you.

Meet: Sica Schmitz, who founded Bead & Reel, an “ethical boutique” based on her own experiences tirelessly searching for ethical apparel. Even as a Hollywood costume designer (and occasional fashion designer), Sica had a hard time finding fashion-forward clothing that met with her vegan and humanitarian values. So, in a proverbial entrepreneurial moment, she decided to bring like-minded brands together to make ethical shopping easy.

Sica believes fashion and ethics aren’t mutually exclusive, so Bead & Reel offers eco-friendly, cruelty-free, sweatshop-free styles for the “conscientiously fashion-forward” woman. Every item Bead & Reel sells is “based on the criteria of being thoughtful to animals, people and the world through their carefully curated selection of hand-picked designers and products.”

Bead & Reel truly practices what Sica preaches. From its recycled (and recyclable) shipping supplies to its commitment to giving back (a new cause is showcased on the website each month), the company works to make the best possible choices in every aspect of the business to minimize its footprint and impact on everyone and everything around them.

Bead & Reel believes fashion should directly incorporate Fair Trade, made in America, organic, recycled, upcycled, zero waste, biodegradable, vegan and giving back options.

Sica lives in Los Angeles and is known for her dedication to animal rights, human rights, preserving the environment, vegan cooking, peace, love, transparency in fashion and a slight obsession with shoes.

You can find her on Twitter @sicaschmitz and @beadandreel. What did you want to be when you grew up?

Sica Schmitz: I never had a specific occupation goal as a child but I always knew I wanted to help save the world, and hoped it somehow included fashion. I feel fortunate that I ultimately ended up in a career focused on both. Why did you start your own business?

Schmitz: They say if you can’t find what you want, create it. I started my own business because I was having trouble finding fashion that fit both with my ethics and aesthetic, so I decided to create the store I wanted to shop at. Did you experience a pivotal moment on your way to success?

Schmitz: I think entrepreneurship is a constant stream of pivotal moments, and I don’t know that we ever reach a final end destination called “success.” When Bead & Reel was mentioned in Forbes that was an extremely proud moment of accomplishment, but I have felt equally successful when a stranger writes me and tells me that they have changed some aspect of their shopping or lives because of what they have learned through Bead & Reel. What’s the best small business advice you ever gave and/or received?

Schmitz: The best advice I’ve received is: Simplify and focus! As an entrepreneur it’s very easy to overextend ourselves and to scatter our attention to the endless moving parts we deal with every day. Stick to the things you do really well and that work, and let everything else go. What’s one “best practice” more entrepreneurs should be embracing?

Schmitz: Do a daily grounding routine or ritual. Self-care is incredibly overlooked in most entrepreneurs I know (including myself!), but is so important in your ability to give the necessary time and energy to your business. I do 45 minutes of yoga and meditation every morning, whether I think I have the time for it or not, and it makes a huge different in the rest of my day and the quality of my work. Do you have a prediction for small business?

Schmitz: I see more and more people starting to wonder about and then care about what they are buying/consuming/eating/wearing. I think this is leading to a renewed interest in shopping locally and supporting small businesses, which I optimistically hope leads to more small businesses being created and flourishing. What’s your favorite book?

Schmitz: That’s a hard question! I love to read and have so many favorites for different reasons. The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle has probably had the biggest impact on my life, and I’m currently reading The War of Art by Steven Pressfield, which I highly recommend to all entrepreneurs. Is there a quote you find particularly inspiring?

Schmitz: “I always wondered why somebody doesn’t do something about that. Then I realized I was somebody.”—Lily Tomlin