24 Hours With Stephanie Beard of Esby Apparel

As founder and CEO of esby, Stephanie Beard wears many hats—and not necessarily of the sartorial variety. The entrepreneur and designer behind the Austin, Texas-based men’s and women’s clothing lines that are minimalist in style and meticulously designed with comfort, quality, and wearability in mind manages both the creative and corporate sides of the business—which means a typical day entails carving out time for both planning photoshoots and pow-wows with the CFO. Here, Beard takes us through 24 hours in her busy life, from her morning routine to creative meetings to unwinding with a little reality television.

7:30 a.m.: I usually wake up before my alarm goes off at 8. I’m a stickler for getting at least 8 hours of sleep (9 is even better), but as soon as I’m awake, I’m sending emails or mentally outlining my day. My two dogs start to stir around this time, so I get up and take them on their morning walk.

8:00 a.m.: I’m off to the shower, where I think about what I’ll make for breakfast. Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day, so I usually make some fresh eggs with sautéed spinach and avocado, a green smoothie, or my new/past love—cereal with berries.

9:30 a.m.: I arrive to the office around this time, or at the very least, I’m on my way there. Someone recently told me that I’m always nearly on time. I have good intentions, but I also try to fit in so much before I leave the house. After I arrive, we kick off our weekly meeting. We’re a small team, so I have a few amazing ladies who handle a lot—design, production, retail, wholesale, and marketing. We like to regroup and refocus each week to make sure we’re always on the same page. We discuss anything from upcoming events to our production calendar and onto any new and big ideas.

“As a CEO, it’s important for me to stay focused on the big picture of the business while also staying involved in all the details.”

11:00 a.m.: We try to keep our weekly morning meeting under two hours, but sometimes we get carried away. Today we ended at 11 so I could meet with our CFO advisor. She helps me keep all things financial organized and moving forward. As a CEO, it’s important for me to stay focused on the big picture of the business while also staying involved in all the details. Advisors like this help me do that best.

12:00 p.m.: I’m usually headed to a lunch meeting at this point. Today, I’m working with our PR team on esby fest, our big annual event. It’s only a few days away, so we’re tying up loose ends and fine-tuning all of the details for the big day. esby fest is our day to launch our newest collection, and this year, we’re also celebrating our fifth year in business. The celebration will begin with a runway show, move into a few Q&A panels with some movers and shakers in various creative fields, and end with some interactive workshops—and, of course, some live music. It’s taking place during SXSW, after all. For the meeting, we opted for lunch at Better Half, which is one of my favorite spots in town. I love their cauliflower tots with beet ketchup and any of their delicious drinks.

2:00 p.m.: I scoot over to the shop to grab a few packages and see some new arrivals in person. Our retail space is located in South Austin in an old auto-body shop. It’s simultaneously industrial and natural, while also being homey and welcoming. One of my goals for the space was to be as inviting and unexpected as possible while always exuding ease and comfort.

3:00 p.m.: I head back to our office to meet with the design team to plan our next web photoshoot. We shoot everything as soon as it’s delivered to ensure our customers are seeing the produced version of the product on our site, as opposed to samples, which can be a bit off in fit. Our office and retail location are several miles apart, but we recently secured a space that’s only a block away from the shop. I’m so excited for our team to feel like one big, close family. It makes me happy to think of how we’ll decorate our office so close to where our customers shop!

5:30 p.m.: After my last meeting of the day, I hop back on my email to catch up on anything that I may have missed. I like to wrap my work day with a clean to-do list and a clear head.

“Wellness has always been important to me, but working out on my own time can be a real struggle, and I don’t want my team to feel the same.”

6:30 p.m.: Our personal Pilates instructor arrives at the office to teach our weekly class to help us unwind for the day. Wellness has always been important to me, but working out on my own time can be a real struggle, and I don’t want my team to feel the same. With this being the case, I decided to incorporate these classes into our weekly workflow to help alleviate any stresses.

8:00 p.m.: My husband, Nick, manages a restaurant on the east side of town. He’s working, so I stop by for a drink and spend some time with him. Nick and I are both incredibly busy, so it helps us to have those moments together.

8:30 p.m.: I’ll often eat dinner at Nick’s restaurant, but when I don’t I’ll go home and diffuse stress by planning and cooking an easy meal we’ll enjoy together when he gets home. I love taking my time, chopping vegetables, and coming up with something on the spot. Tonight I made a seafood pasta with mussels and shrimp and a fresh bruschetta.

9:15 p.m.: Nick arrives home. We currently don’t have a dinner table, so we eat our yummy meal in front of a TV show that we both enjoy. Tonight it’s Shark Tank, but we’ll occasionally indulge in Bachelor in Paradise for some real guilty pleasure moments.

11:00 p.m.: Off to bed. I use a sound machine that really helps me unwind and tune out any other noise in our condo. As I wind down, I check the news and check in with everything that’s going on outside of esby.

Photograph of Stephanie Beard by Paige Newton. esby is featured in The Scout Guide Austin.