Every issue, GRAZIA USA highlights Game Changers, who inspire, educate and celebrate individuality, beauty and style. Meet Brianna Wu, the founder of clothing company BRIAVIA who’s a jack of all trades with a knack for transforming her hobbies into successful business ventures.

I moved to Los Angeles straight after high school when I was just 18. I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do but I felt that I needed a change in life. I had a few friends in L.A., so I visited first and found I enjoyed the culture. I always knew I wanted to be in the fashion space, but my only experience in clothing at that point was essentially just shopping.

I worked in retail when I first moved to L.A. I then did a lot of modeling, social media, fashion blogging and styling. I wanted to try every single part of the industry to figure out what I liked best. After working about 10 different jobs in fashion, I realized I could combine everything if I started my own brand. My business really started off as a hobby. I was reselling old clothes from my closet, and eventually I started my brand BRIAVIA. At the end of the day, I created it because everything that I love to do is rolled into it.

My friends and roommates all helped me pack orders from my house — I was just selling from my room before I expanded to my garage. Now, I’m fortunate enough to have my own studio space in downtown L.A. My friends who helped me in the beginning work full-time with me now. I’m so lucky that I’ve been able to keep everyone together. I love coming into work every day and hanging out with my friends in our studio.

Sometimes, I’ll have a horrible day if my outfit isn’t good. When I was a stylist, I saw that by simply putting on a new outfit, it could change someone’s entire mood. I thought, if I can boost someone’s confidence with clothing, this is the route for me.

My ideal customer is someone who wants a more minimalistic lifestyle, the woman who appreciates functional and practical pieces that can be worn out on a casual day or elevated while out at night. I truly believe my customers focus on quality over quantity – someone who is trying to build a capsule wardrobe and who wants to shop more sustainably with an impact. Basics are very in right now and they’re timeless pieces that are also sustainable due to their versatility.

Growing up, I never had an education about how much waste clothing builds in the world. After learning that, my mind was blown, and it led to why I wanted to start my business by providing the basics. Schools should educate on sustainability. If people realized the impact, I think they would buy less fast fashion. I’m hoping that people will begin to stray away from fast-fashion companies and support more designers, who are essentially getting ripped off by fast-fashion brands stealing their work. I’m hoping people will shop straight from the designer, so that they can begin to get the credit they deserve.

These days, I escape the daily grind with a different creative outlet. On my personal TikTok account, I post a ton of interior design. During the pandemic, I moved to Utah, and I built a house from scratch. It was interesting getting to design a house rather than clothing. That’s my newest hobby and now I’m creating content for Target Home and Wayfair.

In the beginning, I was just winging it as I went along. I started off more as a designer but as my business has grown, I’ve grown into the entrepreneurial side. No one in my family owns a business, and growing up I never saw any female entrepreneurs, especially Asian women. I liked the thought of doing something different, and hopefully one day I can inspire others.

Being an Asian entrepreneur, I want to be able to tell my story and show other women that you don’t have to take the traditional route. I want to give a sense of hope for people who don’t necessarily know how to take that first leap. I think my story is special because I started it as a side-hustle without a ton of money. I’d love to mentor other female entrepreneurs in this space one day because it’s a male-dominated industry. We need more women, women of color and Asian women in this space. I want to be able to tell my future kids, “I built this from nothing and it’s something that you can do also.”

Read GRAZIA USA’s Spring issue featuring cover star Lucy Boynton: