What is your product(s)?
LIYA makes minimalist accessories for the modern human, thoughtfully designed in Canada and ethically made by global partners. We use natural fibers and prioritize timelessness over trends, creating classic pieces that you can wear for years to come.
Each collection was developed in partnership with small, often family-owned businesses, from the farmers to the fiber factories to the mills and sew shops. Our partners have often been around for generations, and continuously strive to improve their practices and processes in order to operate as ethically and sustainably as possible. We also offer carbon-neutral shipping and plastic-free packaging, and regularly participate in initiatives like tree-planting and donating to charitable organizations.
Where were you with your idea or business before joining Factory45?
Before joining Factory45, I had a few ideas for the brand, and had done some initial research like speaking with business owners and going to a tradeshow, but I had no real direction or guidance on what to do next. Without having a background in the fashion industry, I felt like I was in over my head, and I think the impostor syndrome that I was feeling at the time would have stopped me from ever moving forward with my idea.
How did joining Factory45 help you?
Joining Factory45 gave me the foundation to plan, prepare for and actually launch my business. It was basically a crash course in the fashion industry, where I learned so much about sourcing, samples, production, packaging, pre-sales and everything in between. The program is laid out in the exact order that you need to follow in order to go to launch, so it’s essentially a roadmap to start your sustainable fashion business—and I followed it step-by-step.
The community and relationships that I developed as a result of the program were also invaluable. Having a network of people who are going through or have gone through the same things as you’re experiencing is so important, and we relied on each other heavily both during and after the program for everything from supplier recommendations to moral support to promoting each other’s pre-sale campaigns.
In your opinion, what is the most valuable thing about Factory45?
For me, as someone who didn’t have experience in the fashion world, the lessons and databases with industry connections and information were incredibly helpful. It would have taken me years to learn some of that on the job, so I was very grateful for the educational aspect. However, I think some of the most valuable parts of the program were the accountability and the community aspects. I don’t think I would have ever actually launched LIYA without Factory45… but with Shannon’s guidance and the support of my peers, I had the courage to finally take the leap.
What were some big or small milestones that you hit after going through Factory45?
After going through Factory45, I finalized my first products, launched pre-sales on my website and hit my pre-sale goal. I’ve since gone on to develop future collections, sell in various marketplaces and do some amazing collaborations with influencers and activists in the sustainable fashion space.
Please describe your business after Factory45.
Today, LIYA is a small but growing sustainable accessory brand. I still go back through some of my notes from the program if I ever need to refresh my memory or brush up on concepts, and I credit Factory45 with everything we’ve been able to achieve so far. I have so many ideas for ways that LIYA can continue to become more ethical and sustainable in the future and I’m excited to see what’s to come!