“Fabulous style comes in a variety of hues and shapes
with unapologetic confidence and authenticity.”
our story began when...
The fashionable designs and fresh sentiments that Stay Lifted has become known for are the creations of Founder, Charissa Ware, the self-taught illustrator/mom/volunteer/business woman, who leads the company’s vision as the President and Creative Director.
Charissa always had a fascination with fashion and anything related to creative expression. But she had no idea that when she exchanged her corporate gig for another executive position, Stay at Home Mom, that her roots in fashion illustration, love affair with pretty papers and packaging, and experience in marketing and brand development would all collide to produce an unexpected opportunity.
When Charissa couldn't find ethnic baby shower invitations that represented her style, she decided to create her own which led to making invitations and announcements for neighbors, family and friends...before she knew it, she was designing custom invitations, flyers, greeting cards and party favors for referrals and huge corporate events. Thirsty for images that looked like them and sentiments that spoke in their voices, women began to spread the word about Charissa’s fresh new designs that featured sassy sentiments and fashionable illustrations that most notably included women of color, relatable characters and curvy fashionistas resulting in a thriving home business that gave her the best of both worlds...at home with 2 babies and being a working mom.
A move from her college town of Hampton, Virginia back home to Los Angeles meant a dramatically higher cost of living and it was back to the corporate world for Charissa where she continued gaining valuable experience working for a fortune 100 company along with trendsetting brands in beauty and fashion. But she never stopped creating and the orders and design requests never stopped coming.
After a second company merger was on the rise and all of the uncertainty and change that comes along with that process hit home, Charissa convinced her co-worker (and now bestie) to use a week of vacation time to accompany her to New York where she debuted her first official line of greeting cards and folded notes at the National Stationery Show in 2011. And just like that Stay Lifted was born.
Although Charissa's signature fashionable illustrations serve as a hallmark for Stay Lifted, the company quickly expanded from a side-gig to include a dynamic team of creatives and forward-thinking innovators in the branding and business development space. Affectionately dubbed as the "mini major company you never heard of", after hitting the national stage Stay Lifted became a premier designer and producer of multicultural stationery and gift products in the wholesale and private label markets...establishing premier licensing partnerships, providing their lines to top brands in the industry such as Papyrus and Fine Stationery and creating the artwork for dozens more.
the covid-19 reset
get to know charissa.
more about me...empowering women, celebrating diversity and community service are my passions. illustrating and brand storytelling are a part of my DNA. i'm a dog person. i find inspiration in art, kindness, vintage photographs, fashion magazines and travel. i also LOVE music...it's always on. you'll find me singing and dancing saying "that's my jam" like an old lady...although not the best dancer. i collect vinyl records and handwritten notes. breakfast is perfect any time of day. i like to explore, learn new things...a little bit of a political news junkie. meditation & weekend getaways free my mind. i'm super loyal and empathetic. and i'm incredibly grateful.
Covid-19 has affected the world in a way that many of us could not have imagined. Pre-Covid 19, Stay Lifted products and designs were sold exclusively wholesale and only available through our retail and licensing partners. Words cannot describe how grateful we are for those relationships that helped us grow into a unique design house and premier manufacturer of multicultural stationery, art and gift products over the past 9 years.
Unfortunately, many of those businesses, large and small, have either changed their purchasing models or closed their doors temporarily or forever requiring us to pause our own operations and rethink our business strategies as well. As one of the few Black Women Illustrators and even fewer Black Women Owned manufacturers in the stationery & gift industry, Founder Charissa Ware has been determined to weather this covid-19 storm by creating new ways to share and offer our collections and design expertise.
First, we are launching our very own direct-to-consumer brands. Now (for the first time ever!) you'll be able to order products directly from our wonderfully distinct NEW product lines, BeYOUtifully Black, Mattie + Grace, and Fashion Meets Paper, through their branded websites beginning October 1st, 2020. Subscribe to our mail list below for updates and exclusive presale events.
Second, the digital branding, website design, and content creation that was historically reserved for our internal projects and retail/licensing/private label partners, is now an available service that we offer in various forms depending on the project and client needs. Click here to learn more.
We are so saddened by the devastation and many losses of life, dreams, businesses and more. At the same time, we are incredibly inspired by the awesome acts of kindness, creativity, generosity, and sacrifice taking place everyday around the world. We will get through this together.
"Even before I had a clear plan for this company, I knew the butterfly would be connected to it. Representing transformation, life and beauty, our butterfly logo embodies the continuous evolution of Stay Lifted as we strive to grow, learn and foster connection in a way that is beautifully authentic and upLIFTing..."