Sarah Waston, founder of lingerie brand Breakfast at Six, on how she’s empowering women to embrace their romantic sides, her recent collaboration with artist Toni Jones and her favorite Black-owned businesses in Metro Detroit
By Perry Haselden
Featured photo via @breakfast_atsix
1. Tell us a little about yourself and your professional background.
I am the founder and designer of lingerie brand Breakfast at Six. The name itself is a play on words: I believe that just like breakfast is the most important part of your day, so is intimacy and the connection between you and your partner — at any time of day!
I started this brand to spread the message of inserting romanticism and intimacy into everyday life, and it starts with the woman embracing her body and being an advocate for her love life. Lingerie, in one aspect, is a way to get there. I began making lingerie in 2012, starting with just custom bridal lingerie and have since expanded to everyday lingerie and intimate lifestyle products such as loungewear, body care and more.
I was born and raised in Lansing, went to college for Fashion Design and Fine Arts in Chicago, and when I got married to my husband (who’s from Detroit) we moved here shortly after!
2. How did you get started in the industry?
I have been sewing since I was around 10 or 11 years old. I remember vividly when my mother bought me my first sewing machine. But I got my real start in the industry a little before I graduated from college in Chicago, making custom prom gowns in the Gold Coast area for graduating seniors. At that time, not only was I able to experience what it was like to really make something “custom” and all the inner workings of such, but it made me realize how much I enjoy being there for women, in support of their big moments. Whether it was making a gown for a graduating senior or a woman who wanted something special and unique to wear for herself or her soon-to-be husband, I have always been there for their biggest milestones and I love sharing in that excitement every time.
3. What is the first piece you ever designed/created?
My first piece was actually handmade for actress Jamie Chung. I made a tan-and-passion-red kimono from a thrifted oversized scarf along with a bralette and high-waist panty and convinced my then-co-worker, who was attending her wedding, to use this as her gift. Breakfast at Six was conceived after that. It catapulted me to get my website, register my business, I guess in hopes of Jamie going to my website after the wedding.
4. What are you currently working on?
I’m working on my summer collection and I am really excited about it. I will be launching a new resort wear line, including bathing suits and ready-to-wear vacation garments/pieces. It will be my first time offering a new line of product other than lingerie and loungewear. And I know (especially given the past year that we’ve been in) that travel and leisure will be key on a lot of people’s to-do list.
5. What other Detroit creatives/businesses would you like to collaborate with?
I would love to collaborate with Roslyn Karamoko of Detroit is the New Black, putting on a fashion show for Detroit to marvel at. And Melissa Butler of The Lip Bar. Maybe I could create a special collection designed after one of their brilliantly shaded colors. I love how both brands are redefining beauty and fashion in their own way with African American women being the core of such change.
6. Can you share some of your career highlights or moments you are most proud of thus far?
I recently had the pleasure of working with Toni Jones, a Detroit native and “affirmation musician” who promotes the message of conscious well being and mental health through music. For her new album we collaborated on a love song entitled “Kiss Me,” then we created a lingerie slip that displayed her lyrics.
It took courage to put out a message that goes against the mainstream grain of what woman empowerment means today. It’s not about the female as singular, but it’s the power of romance and advocacy for intimacy as a couple. My lingerie designs promote partnership and romanticism as a form of woman’s empowerment. From garments that need to be taken off a particular way (which your partner can partake in) to conversations around what really feeds a woman’s confidence, I think I create a complete picture of what an intimate lifestyle is about.
7. What was your biggest mistake or failure and what did you learn from it?
When I first started designing and hand making my lingerie, I had one design. I was super proud of the set, but it was one thing! Although store owners and buyers were gracious enough to meet with me, or answer my email, I was honestly wasting their time and was not ready at the time to offer a product catalog that was versatile for all of their customers. Now I know what it takes!
8. How do you find balance between work and your personal life?
Some things just go undone and I chose not to stress over it. I have learned that balance, at least in this season I’m in, isn’t a monolithic goal. So whereas I make sure I have all my tasks done for work, we may have to order takeout for a couple days. Or when I prioritize making space for my marriage, I omit chores that are staring me in the face.
9. If you weren’t a designer, what would you be doing instead?
I feel like I would be either a relationship therapist or something in neuroscience. I love understanding the root of “why” in things and then expounding on it to lighten our daily life’s load.
10. What was your first job growing up?
Working at an ice cream shop! I practically ran the joint.
11. What’s currently on your playlist?
Alex Isley, Romney Lewis, Toni Jones and Arri Lennox.
12. What TV shows are you currently binging?
I go between 1990s sitcom “Living Single” and “Sylvie’s Love” on Amazon, one of the most beautiful love stories I’ve seen.
13. Three things you can’t live without?
14. Dream vacation destination?
Before this life is over, I really want to do a travel excursion throughout Africa, stop in Paris, and then wind down and recap the whole trip on a beach in Australia. I think I have a secret obsession of wanting to be a travel blogger.
Local Love Questions…
15. Your current favorite local spots for breakfast, lunch and dinner?
16. Your favorite Black-owned businesses in Metro Detroit?
17. Your go-to for a good cup of coffee?
18. Favorite thing to do on a weekend in Metro Detroit?
I love going to local comedy shows at the Fox Theatre or in the summertime, the Aretha Franklin Amphitheater. When things open back up even more, I look forward to going out and dancing to some jazz and smooth hip hop cover bands.
19. What do you love about Detroit?
This city has so much soul. More than music, I feel this city is a beacon for culture, social movements and creativity.
20. Favorite quote or words to live by?
“The man that knows something, knows that he knows nothing at all.” – Erykah Badu
This interview has been edited for clarity and tone.