Frequently Asked Questions about Factory45

Get all of your questions answered below.

What are the biggest benefits of being accepted into Factory45?

The mentorship: I will be there every step of the way to guide, consult and advise you. We will have daily online office hours and bi-weekly group calls so we can get down to the core of your biggest challenges. Unlike traditional online courses, that provide the content but don’t provide individual support, I’m as hands-on with your business as you want me to be.

The resources: While it takes most people months or even years to break through with suppliers and manufacturers, Factory45 gives you the keys to the car. You will get access to the contact information of sustainable fabric suppliers and potential production partners, as well as training and direction on how to connect with them effectively. Anyone who has spent time trying to source fabric or find domestic manufacturing knows how difficult can it be. Factory45 is the fast track.

The community: You will be surrounded by fellow entrepreneurs who are struggling through the same challenges as you are. Some of you will be more seasoned and will be valuable resources for those of you just starting out. On the flip side, the newbies will provide a breath of fresh air and bring in skills from outside the industry. When it comes time to launch your business to the world, you will already have a network of like-minded companies ready to support you and help you spread the word.

The experts: Throughout the program, you’ll get access to high-level interviews with experts of varying skillsets. All interviews are pre-recorded so you can go back and watch them as many times as you need to. Whether it’s advice on small-run production or marketing tips or sourcing advice, you will have access to some of the leading designers, marketing gurus and manufacturers in the sustainable fashion industry.

The journey: You can do this alone or you can have help. Everyone is perfectly capable of trudging forward solo, but as research shows, humans perform better in groups. Entrepreneurship is lonely at times, and I know I would have loved to have had a program and network like this when I was first starting out. The startup journey can be a lot less daunting and intimidating, depending on the path you choose to take.

Do I need to have a fashion background or already know how to make samples and patterns?

Nope! We leave that stuff to the experts. The purpose of Factory45 is to set you up with the people who are trained in sample-making, pattern-making and sewing, so you can focus on the business side of your product. If you are still in the early stages of development, you will be connected with some of the best in the industry to complete these first steps.

Why did you start Factory45?

Big picture? It’s my personal way of combatting fast fashion. I truly believe that the local, independent designer has a place in this industry that can compete above and beyond the cheap and disposable goods that big corporations churn out.

If I can help small companies launch and succeed, then I believe fewer people will be shopping at stores like H&M and Forever21.

Smaller picture? I realized there is a hole to fill in the education of consumer goods companies. As someone who has started a successful “fashion company,” without having a real fashion background, I have experienced the lessons of bootstrapping firsthand. I’m determined to teach Factory45’ers how to start companies without going into debt. I know there’s a way to do this without giving away equity or royalties or spending thousands of dollars on fashion school. So I feel called to extend that knowledge I’ve acquired.

How is Factory45 different from other fashion accelerators?

Most fashion programs don’t get into the details of business. They focus primarily on grading, flat sketching and other manual skills, but place little emphasis on how to market, brand and sell. What good is creating a product or collection if you don’t know how to get it in front of your customer and sell it? Factory45 is all about starting lean, testing the product at market, and going into production with money in the bank.

Most importantly, there is no other fashion accelerator out there that will connect you with only sustainable fabrics and fully commit to “made in the USA.”

I’m still not sure if I’m the right fit – can you tell me more about the ideal Factory45 applicant.

You may have a product that has already had some success, but you want to scale production (for example, someone with an Etsy store) or maybe you only have an idea right now. Whichever phase you’re in, the ideal candidate is, first and foremost, ambitious, hardworking and persistent. You have a general positive attitude and are not easily defeated when challenges arise.

Factory45 is all about being receptive to the resources, community, mentorship and guidance available no matter where you are in your business. If you’re 100 percent committed to fully showing up, then you’re an ideal applicant.

APPLICATIONS WILL OPEN ON MAY 17TH.

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I want to move fast. Why is the program six months long?

If you ask most startups who have already gone through this process, they’ll tell you six months is pretty quick. I know what it’s like to feel that sense of urgency to get your business out into the world, but when you’re waiting on responses from suppliers … and waiting for swatches to arrive in the mail … and waiting for samples, you realize you can’t move forward until you’ve allowed time for those things to fall into place.

You’ll also find that there is a lot of information to cover. Factory45 was carefully designed so that every participant can go through the program at his or her own pace and create the journey that’s right for them. With that said, if you find that you can’t get through all of the coursework in four months, I’ve included two “implementation” months to the end of the program. There won’t be any new content during that time, so that you can catch up and have two months of free consulting.

How is the program structured? Do I have to be anywhere in person?

The entire program is based online. With the help of an online portal that gives participants an individual log-in, we are able to create a virtual classroom that only requires an internet connection. You’ll have access to video lessons, worksheets, checklists, exercises, contact databases and call recordings throughout each module. New content is released on a weekly basis so that you’re tackling each step of the process in a strategic and calculated way.

The group Q+A calls every other week provide a chance for troubleshooting, group case studies and any questions that need to be talked out beyond office hours. Daily office hours are offered so that you can get your questions answered almost immediately.

I’m already a branding expert. Can I just sign up for Modules 1 and 3?

Every Factory45’er must commit to all five modules and the entire six months. Modules will build upon each other, so it’s important to be involved in the program from start to finish. If you feel that you are already well-informed about a certain part of the program, then you’ll be a great asset to others during that time. (And let’s face it, there’s always something new to learn – you might surprise yourself.)

Can you tell me more about the payment process?

Knowing what it’s like to be a startup with a limited budget, I’ve set up a monthly payment plan of $500 that amounts to a total payment of $3K over six months. You don’t have to pay a lump sum upfront (although you have the option if you’d like to), but once you commit to the program you will automatically be charged in installments every month.

What if I sign up and realize Factory45 isn’t right for me?

I understand that plans change, so there is a 30-day money back guarantee. You can sign up for Factory45 and if you change your mind when the one-month trial is complete, I’ll give you a full refund, no questions asked.

What if I realize mid-way through the program that I don’t want to pursue my idea anymore? Do you give refunds?

We don’t make half-baked cakes here! If you commit to joining the program, then you know you’re taking someone else’s spot who would have loved to be part of F45. If you’re in, you’re all in. 

I have a co-founder(s). Do we need to apply separately?

Nope! If accepted, you can both participate in the program under one company entity and one program fee.

Who are you again and what experience do you have?

In 2010, I co-founded {r}evolution apparel, a sustainable clothing company for travelers and minimalists that was featured in The New York Times, Forbes.com, WSJ.com and Yahoo! News. Our signature piece, The Versalette, one garment that can be worn over 20 different ways, became the highest-funded fashion project in Kickstarter history. We completed a first run of 1,400 units entirely made in the USA, sourcing only sustainable materials.

At the end of 2012, my co-founder went on to continue producing the Versalette under her new brand, Seamly.co, and I moved on to become a sustainable apparel consultant, advocate and writer. In the past three years, I’ve worked with over 100 designers, startups and sustainable brands to launch or grow their businesses.

My work has also appeared on Al Jazeera, Forbes, CCTV America, The Huffington Post, Triple Pundit and in 2014, I was nominated to The Wall Street Journal’s Women of Note.

APPLICATIONS WILL OPEN ON MAY 17TH.

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