I Love Woo
Cali-born designer Staci Woo and her team offer stylish garb and artistic inspiration to local creatives.
Photographed by Lauren Pressey
After graduating from UC Santa Barbara, Nor-Cal native Staci Woo kept moving south until she landed in sunny Los Angeles. The move eventually led to Staci’s creation, along with her husband, Mike Badt, of Woo: a lifestyle brand of beachy-chic loungewear and accessories for men, women and kids.
“We cater to the lover of style who doesn’t want to look ‘styled,’” Staci explains. What began as a cool but small spot on Venice’s Main Street has evolved into Woo’s new locale in Downtown LA’s Arts District.
“We’ve been in the Arts District for 10 years,” Staci says. “When we outgrew space, we knew it was inevitable that we would have to move downtown. It was a much easier transition after finding this little gem—it had a cool neighborhood feeling, open spaces, parking and a great community.”
With a design career that began in her early 20s, Staci attributes the origin and growth of Woo to a series of “small successes” and some good advice from a worthy mentor. “I worked as Adriano Goldschmied’s assistant for a denim and garment dye clothing line,” she says. “Adriano would take me shopping and tell me to buy vintage denim, Hawaiian shirts and kimonos. gave me the confidence to make the same styles in repurposed fabrics. So I did what he said, and Woo was born.”
Today Woo’s customers include the “18-year-old California girl; the 35-year-old well-traveled professional; and the 65-year-old chic grandmother,” Staci notes. With Little Woo, Underwoo, Sand & Sea Club’s resort and beach wear and the new fleece line, Uplifters, Woo truly has something for everyone.
But what really put Woo “on the map,” Staci explains, were the “amazing lace and cotton camisoles” they offered. “To this day women will tell me they still have one in their drawer 15 years later,” she says. “The style has varied throughout the years, but it set the tone for the rest of the line.”
As for the line as a whole, “We have pockets in every style possible,” Staci says. “We take inspiration from the styles we love and design them in fabrics we really love. We aren’t chasing trends, but we design each season based on what want to wear now.”
Behind the scenes, making it all come to life is Staci and Mike’s tried-and-true team. “We are lucky enough to have had the same sample sewer for 10 years,” Staci shares. “We’ve also had our sample cutter/finisher for 10 years. I am so proud of our history together.”
Mike handles the production and business end of things, with Staci in charge of design and marketing. Surrounded by such talent and exuding so much of her own creativity, it makes sense that Staci and her team at Woo would want to share their art with more inspired minds in the community. The House of Woo offers a Little Woo Custom Design Workshop where kids ages 4 through 12 can design their own clothes.
“It started as an event I hosted for our elementary school auction,” Staci says. “I thought it would be great for the kids to choose a style and customize it using patterns, fabrics and trims we had in our archives. sketch it out, swatch their fabrics and customize the details.” Staci and her team then get to work cutting and sewing to the kids’ specifications for a finished design in less than two weeks.
Also in the works is a Kickstarter campaign to raise enough money to transform Woo’s warehouse space into a workshop for local artists looking to “build their craft and at the same time have a forum to sell at retail,” Staci explains. By offering outlets that inspire creativity—not just in other creatives but in children as well—Staci and her team are doing more than selling a lifestyle brand. They’re encouraging an artistic lifestyle.