Twelve years ago, Stephanie Brown’s job and passion was rendering aid to U.S. soldiers on the battlefield – stitching them up and helping heal their wounds.
Today, the 38-year-old helps brides find the perfect dress for their special day – sketching designs, sewing fabrics and delivering dreams.
A native of Tampa, Texas, Brown enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1999 and served as a combat medic specialist for eight years. The soldier of Filipino descent deployed to support Operation Enduring Freedom VII in Afghanistan; Camp Page in South Korea; and was stationed in Fort Hood, Texas; Fort Detrick, Maryland, and Fort Drum, New York.
Escalating in rank quickly led Brown to join the Department of Veterans Affairs and move to Hawaii in 2008. During that time, she came across an internship with Project Runway fashion designer Kini Zamora.
She fell in love with sketching and fabrics, and pursued a change in career – her second act would be a complete about face.
“Before I joined the Army, I knew I wanted to have a store or a boutique,” said Brown, who is married to Fort Bliss Army Sgt. 1st Class Shannon Brown and together have six children.
“I believe that you can learn anything you want, and if you apply yourself, you will succeed.”
Brown launched House of Maganda (House of Beauty) in 2017, where she designs bridal gowns and evening dresses.
“Every bride is different and the dress will reflect that in the little details, from the fabric to the embellishments,” she said.
Although Brown enjoys the beauty of her work, her contentment comes from seeing the bride enjoy her special day.
“Being in the Army taught me that life is precious, and it can be gone quickly. We are given precious time, and if we don’t use it to the extent given, what’s the point?"