Marcia Arnsparger Santiago is the owner and designer behind KlosetSlayer, a fashion company for both men and women. The designs that she crafted in her home studio in Barnegat have landed on magazine covers, the runways of fashion week and on reality shows.
Santiago has worked with models and celebrities over the years. Since she founded KlosetSlayer in 2014, her clothes have been featured on the runway and on television. Several reality show stars wore her clothes on VH-1’s “Black Ink Crew.” Her clothes will be featured on another reality show that debuts on Netflix in January.
Today we had the opportunity to interview Marcia Arnsparger Santiago:
1 What was the thought process behind starting Klosetslayer?
I’ve always had a love for creating and found a way to express my fashion language to the world by creating a brand that offered widespread appeal to all while encouraging individuality and self-expression
2 How has the business grown?
When Klosetslayer was created in 2014 we started with Couture and Ready to wear collections. In 2015 we created Klosetslayer kids and our famous Klosetslayer loungewear which has been featured on reality tv shows appearing on VH1 and worn by multiple celebrities. In 2020 I also created a fitness brand WIO with my childhood friend Renita Taylor which has also turned out to be a favorite among reality tv stars like Richie Dollaz , Amina Buddafly , Former Atlanta housewife Claudia Jordan and even beauty queens like Mrs Arizona Jolene Goring. With all the success it was extremely important to me to give back to the community which is why we created the non-profit Klosetslayer organization, our nonprofit provides men & women’s shelters with needed clothing items and the proper attire for the job interviews.
3 A skill all women should learn?
I think all women should learn financial skills. Women need to be financially independent and learn to manage Their credit properly while understanding the importance of saving and the opportunities for investment
4 Your key to success?
I prioritize my goals and never stop until it’s accomplished. You have to set obtainable goals and for each one that’s accomplished you just keep aiming higher. I knew I wanted to see my brand on a Times Square billboard and I gave myself a 6 months time frame. I’m proud to say that everyone one of the Klosetslayer brands along with our fitness brand WIO has been on multiple billboards multiple times in Times Square shining bright on Broadway
5 What are your current areas of focus?
Currently, my childhood friend Renita Taylor the co-creator of our fitness brand WIO and I decided to create a campaign for diversity titled “diversity is our power” our campaign featuring all nationalities, sizes and gender identities quickly became recognizable being featured in multiple magazines along with a time square billboard to promote the powerful message fashionably. I am also preparing to release my new collection at NYFW this September with a star-studded celebrity model lineup
6 Who are your clients?
I am proud to say that my clients are so diverse. We range from dressing Claire Sulmers from fashion bomb daily to music artists like Lil Cease, Sheek Louch, Tony sunshine, Jerzey Devil, Pretty Lou to reality stars like miss Nikki Baby, Zell Swag, Mariah Lynn to our hometown fellow Barnegat baseball mothers… we are truly proud of our diverse supporters and it clearly shows I have succeeded in creating a brand that caters to all
7 Did you have any setbacks, challenges, or epiphanies along the way?
Over the last 7 years, my husband has been battling no Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The lymphoma turned into a blood cancer as he was receiving a trial drug. He just received the stem cell transplant last November and it has been a lot of unexpected hiccups in his recovery. Even though I was going to release my new collection last February at New York fashion week as a wife and mother I decided to cancel my show and take a break from the businesses to make sure my husband received the care he needed. Life is short and I learned always to take time for my family. It’s sad to say I was so consumed with working all the time I forgot about what was important and I will never make that mistake again. You can be successful and still have time for yourself and your loved ones
8 How do you balance your work life?
I am a wife and mother first and if I hard to work later to be at my son’s baseball game I will do that. You have to set boundaries with your employees and let them know when you are on vacation or having a day off like a boss you should only be reached unless it’s an emergency or serious situation. I am thankful that I have amazing employees and I give them the same respect I would never call them on a day off unless it was necessary. Having a good team behind you is always part of your success. It’s extremely important to treat your employees kindly and let them know that you appreciate them by rewarding them. I am thankful that I’ve had the same team since 2014 and they have been there every step with me along the way
9 What are you most proud of as an entrepreneur?
I am proud I turned a dream into reality. I did it on my own without any financing or help from anyone. Starting a brand is truly such an expensive venture because you’re investing so much into yourself based on a vision Only you can see. I believed in myself and never quit as tough and expensive as it was in the beginning. I knew being a designer was my calling
10 Tell us something about your background?
I went to a top 10 college and have multiple degrees ranging from business to biology. I worked as an EMT then pursued a surgical technician degree and worked in the operating room for 10 years before I decided to pursue my dream as a fashion designer