If you live in San Diego and haven’t crossed paths with Stacey Edelstein, you are in for a treat. Stacey is a mom and a designer, and for over 10 years, she has been running Raygun, a creative studio in San Diego that helps cause-driven organizations connect with their audiences. When she isn’t focused on her business, her heart is in the community. Stacey is an advisor for and helps organize San Diego Design Week, a five-day festival celebrating design in our region. She also volunteers with CreativeMornings San Diego and SURJ San Diego.
What encouraged you to start your own company? How did you get here?
A lot of audacity and love, which I suppose is the Aries in me. Growing up, my dad had run his own company, and I wanted to do the same. He would bring my sister and me to his office building in Kearny Mesa on the weekends, and we’d race wheely chairs through the warehouse and dial each other on the intercom. I loved the “Cathy” cartoons that the receptionist would clip out and pin to the board above the desk. I just thought running a team of people seemed so rewarding and interesting. Many years later, riding the G train home from work – my friend (now business/life/everything partner) asked me what I thought about starting our own web design side hustle to support small organizations and businesses. I jumped at the chance.
Tell us about the biggest obstacle you’ve had to overcome?
Moving from NYC back to San Diego was a huge adjustment, and right after that came motherhood. It was a whirlwind of major life changes all converging at the same time, and it felt like I kept starting over again and again. I had to build my network from the ground up while raising a newborn and clinging to our business, sometimes by a thread. But with time, perseverance, and loving support from my family, I was able to put down roots, make connections, and build the relationships I needed in order to overcome the challenges.
If you could give your 18-year-old self one piece of advice, what would it be?
Your curly hair is beautiful. Let it flow! Also, place more value on curiosity and practice than comparison and perfection. The latter will only lead you further away from finding your gifts.
What’s your message to your community?
We have a beautiful creative community here in San Diego, and I think it’s important that we continue to show up for each other in whatever we can. I continually ask myself, how can I move resources, extend access, or share opportunities with others? Even a small act of support can make a tremendous difference in someone’s life.
How are you breaking barriers faced by women in your field?
Every day I strive to lead with kindness, compassion, and conviction, and I like to think that by merely taking up space, I’m showing others that it’s possible to craft the kind of career and family life that aligns with personal values. I’m also a big proponent of sharing and creating space to mentor and coach others. As someone who didn’t have a mentor until recently, I deeply value this type of relationship.
Follow Stacey’s journey: