26, clothing designer and owner of A. Shay
Amanda Shaffer says she’s never been “as broke” as she is now, but that doesn’t faze her because she is able to chase her passion and build something in her hometown.
Born and raised in Bakersfield, Shaffer moved to San Francisco at the age of 20, studying apparel design at San Francisco State. After graduating, she traveled across Europe for three months, visiting Iceland, France, Spain, Portugal, Germany, the Netherlands, Hungary, Slovenia, Italy and Croatia.
She returned to Bakersfield at 25 years old with no plans on staying long-term.
But then she saw what was taking place locally, particularly in the downtown area.
“That’s kind of why I chose to stay,” Shaffer said. “I saw an opportunity and was like, ‘You know what, I will never get this opportunity (elsewhere).’”
Shaffer launched A. Shay – a play on the pronunciation of her first syllables of her first and last name – last year with the goal of making women’s clothing that fits a wide range of body types. Shaffer uses her clothing as a way to encourage and empower women. She embroiders “little messages” in the clothes she makes to provide a pick-me-up to the wearer when needed.
“I want them to feel confident,” she said.
Shaffer is also working to bring local creatives together. With the help of Jocelyn Dimaya, the duo launched Kern Creative, an organization that hosts workshops, displays work and provides opportunities for individuals to meet others for potential collaborations in the future.
“I think that with all the different movements that are happening, I just see more creativity coming out,” Shaffer said. “I think that started with First Friday and now Second Saturday. There’s just so many different events and the culture I think is changing. I think a lot of millennials are seeing the opportunity. It’s a good time to be in Bakersfield right now.”