Viking alum and founder of Simplisimi, Clarissa Labastida speaks on how her unique Village experience taught her to embrace the challenge of starting her own business. She gives insights into how she got where she is today, and what first sparked the idea for Simplisimi. Clarissa lives in Houston, Texas with her family and runs Simplisimi, designing and producing colorful, customizable planners and oganizational tools. To shop her designs, visit Simplisimi.com
What grades did you attend Village?
I attended The Village School from kindergarten all the way through senior year. I was part of the first graduating class at the Village School and was one of 7 lifers in my class who were at Village from their early years. My classmate Cameron and I were the first two students who signed a letter of intent stating that we would be attending Village High School and at that time, there wasn’t even a building yet! Of course I never had a single regret!
Were there any teachers/classes at Village that sparked your passion to start Simplisimi?
My motivation and drive to be better definitely came from that "Village" mentality, and I was always striving to be my best and give 100% every day. There wasn't a specific teacher who sparked that passion in me to start Simplisimi, but there were definitely teachers along the way that pushed me harder and motivated me. The following Village staff members played a big role in shaping who I am today: Laura Romo (my 7th grade history class), Alicia Merrifield (7th Grade Language Arts and Yearbook), and Stephane Ruz (my High School Principal).
What was most valuable to you about your Village experience?
Since I was in the first graduating class at Village, everything was NEW. We were literally the pioneers, and experiencing that uncertainty shaped me in the best way possible. I am never afraid of something new or out of my comfort zone, because I’d lived that for the first two years of high school. We were able to see what classes interested us, begin the IB program at the school, and those years were the best experience of my life! Once I was a Junior in the IB Diploma program, I chose classes that brought out my creative side. I was drawn to IB art and was always part of the theatre program, which definitely helped develop my creative side.
What did your next step after Village look like?
I graduated from Village and went to Chapman University in Orange County, CA. My dream was to study film production so I majored in Creative Production. I had the incredible opportunity to join the team of the Oscar Winning movie Dallas Buyers Club. I was part of their videography and photography group for special events, and got to attend red carpet events!
While I was gaining valuable experience in a creative field, I knew I ultimately wanted to move back home to Texas. Here in Houston, I fell in love and now I have a beautiful family with two little boys. They were actually my main inspiration behind Simplisimi and these planners!
How did you start Simplisimi and what are your next plans for your business?
I imagine everyone dreams that their vision will one day become something out of this world! I started Simplisimi because I’ve always been pretty organized, but when my second baby came along, he needed to take medication on a specific schedule, and his sleeping was just terrible! To try to maintain my sanity I would write everything down on pieces of paper and that is where the idea for Simplisimi began. People who know me can attest that I have always been extremely organized, and absolutely love colors and anything fun, so that's how this dream of mine came to life! I want people to have their own customizable, personal planner that they can take anywhere, whether they’re a student, mom or working professional. Moving forward with Simplisimi, I hope to grow the business even more and maybe someday it will become full-time, but for now, my number one job is being a mom and that is amazing as well!