About Our Guest
We’ve got a special guest lined up for this episode—the CEO of Fabrik, Dana Spinola. She’s helping us answer the question: ‘How can I have a passion for my career and my spouse?’
Fabrik is a clothing boutique based in Atlanta, with over 40 stores around the country. Dana started the company in 2002.
She and her husband Angelo have four children, including their daughter, who they adopted from Ethiopia. She’s also published a book called Love What You Do about finding passion and purpose in your work and life.
How did you and your husband meet?
I was out celebrating the start Fabrik. My girlfriends had taken me out and I was just coming off a breakup. I look across the restaurant and saw this guy out with ten other guys—it was like lawyers night out.
I went across the room to his group and said “Excuse me, I’m going to marry you.” He says that there was something attractive about the confidence I had when I approached him with marriage. We dated for a few years before we got married. We decided to get married the first night, but our years of dating validated that.
Where did your love of fashion begin?
It’s crazy to think that one of the best gifts my parents gave me was not having a lot of money. My mom made our clothing growing up. So our Saturdays were spent at the fabric store. She was also an interior designer, so she sometimes picked up sofas on the side of the road to take home and recover. My dad was the same, he was always painting and creating.
Why did you found your company, Fabrik?
The name is literally from the dictionary—it’s just the phonetic spelling of fabric. I love the essence of it being fabric, because that’s what clothing starts from. The other thing that was really important to me was everything being under $100. I had never been able to shop in a boutique growing up and the idea of walking in and being able to purchase anything was off my radar.
So I thought, what if I could create a place that everyone could shop at? I wanted to have really incredible clothing, but keep it affordable. I think that’s why it grew so much. I had no plans of opening more than one store, but my customers were asking for me to open one here and there. I think it was about the high-end experience with affordable prices.
What do you think fashion means for women and men?
When I watch a woman put on something that makes her feel beautiful, it changes her whole energy and spirit. They’re not judging themselves against anything else, they’re just seeing themselves the way God made them. You can watch that happen. There’s something innate in your own style that you’ve got to find.
Why is philanthropy such an important part of Fabrik?
I started this business because I wanted to have a clothing store. I didn’t jump into this for God’s purpose. As I started growing and it started becoming successful, I was also having. People would come up all the time and say, “Congratulations”. They would say that everything was coming together for me. And it hit me—I was growing this personal kingdom and didn’t see how I was helping our world.
We were in church one day and they said something about a mission trip to Haiti. I told my husband that we should go. We slowed down enough to take that trip and left our boys, my company, and my husband’s practice at home. Our hearts would never be the same. We realized that not only would be we adopting but we had to do things that weren’t just our own personal passions. We started our journey to figure out how we could help.
We then took a mission trip to Africa and I took my company. I was journaling on a bus and I wrote down “high style with heart” and I didn’t know what it meant but I knew it would mean something really big. We started our Asher clothing line (named after my daughter) and the proceeds go to orphans in Africa. We’re contributing to them being matched with families.
One of the coolest things has been during job interviews, the biggest question used to be “what’s the clothing discount?” But now it’s, “do I get to volunteer and go on the Africa trips?” To me, it means our heartbeat came alive.
What was the process for adopting your daughter?
Adoption is a crazy process; we started in so many different countries to end up in Ethiopia. My little girl was between 6-8 months and was found wrapped in blankets and left on the side of the road. The police officer who found her said she was screaming and they didn’t know how long she’d been screaming for. That used to make me cry, but now I see someone who didn’t give up.
How have you made a great marriage in the middle of career success?
The coolest thing that I look back on is that Angelo has been a stable force in what he believes God has done with Fabrik. He’s watched what God has done through Fabrik and has always had his arms around it in a big way. His hands have been open the whole time.
The other we’ve done well is bobbed and weaved with each other. When he was working to become a partner at his law firm, and was working until 2 am every night, I was starting the company and we had a newborn. But we’ve been OK because we’ve both had times we’ve had to tap out. It reminds me of those relay races. Now, he has our son’s football practice on his calendar at 4pm as a meeting. We’ve had to schedule things and that’s OK.
How do you schedule time during the week?
I don’t know about you, but organic does not work for us. We’ve scheduled a day date on the calendar every month for the next year and a half. We do have a date during the day because the night gets taken up by life. It is so small, but it’s a game changer.
What was the catalyst in deciding to go to counseling?
The reason we go to counseling is because he’s a man and I’m a woman. I love the idea of someone teaching us how to communicate better! We’re from two different worlds and two different lives and we want to be closer. And sometimes we can’t figure that out on our own.
Your one simple thing this week
Know the little things that make your spouse happy and do one of them!
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