BIDDEFORD – Since the age of 12, Roxi Suger has been unwaveringly committed to fashion.
After studying apparel design in college, she moved to New York City, where she worked at a number of fashion companies in a variety of capacities, and inevitably ended up teaching at the prestigious Parsons The New School For Design (notable for its prominent role on “Project Runway”).
In 1999, she launched her own line, Angelrox, which emphasizes “comfort, versatility, and travel,” and is made of natural, plant-based fabrics that have all been knit, sewn and cut on the East Coast.
Last year, she relocated to Biddeford, where she recently opened a retail outlet called Suger, and proudly called Maine women “beautiful, amazing and strong.”
Q: What initially gave you the confidence to go out on your own?
A: My goal was always to have my own line. I never really pictured anything else. For my first job, I worked for a smaller company that was serving the mass-market. I got immediate experience in everything from design, to sales, to production, to a wide range of other activities necessary to run an apparel company. My first stab (on my own) was a junior-oriented line, “baby doll,” which I created while working full time designing maternity. It was a great exercise. It gave me a lot of confidence to then strike out again on my own without having that support of a company around me. I was also bolstered in my confidence in having had a very successful career moving from company to company (in such roles as) head designer and senior merchandiser. It’s been a fun journey.
Q: Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give to an aspiring female entrepreneur?
A: What I always told my students (at Parsons) was to work for other companies as long as you can stand it, to get the experience, to have regular income, and to gain the security it offers. Also, don’t get frustrated if you don’t get on-the-job creative satisfaction. Take that creative energy, flame it when you can, believe in it (and) work for others to the degree that you’re confident to take on that full spectrum. Try to get as much advice, counsel, education, and training in advance, before totally jumping in.
Q: What keeps you motivated today? Who inspires you?
A: What doesn’t inspire me? The creativity comes from my daily life, my family, my customers. Everything around me, nature – you can just look up suddenly and see a little pattern somewhere, and just be as excited as can be. And my customers. They’re No. 1 in telling me what they need.
Q: What’s your life philosophy, if you can sum it up in a sentence or two?
A: The tagline I adopted for Angelrox is, “May peace prevail.” Our symbol represents balance. We’re doing whatever we can to find that inner well of peace and joy and radiate it out to others.
Suger, Angelrox Studio
25 Alfred St., Biddeford
Founded: Collection launched in 1999; brick-and-mortar store, Suger, opened in November 2013
Personal: Married to husband Julian; 6-year-old son, Cotton