What is your product(s)?
SixChel is clothes for the modern woman. We create collections with multi-occasion pieces that can be worn day-to-day, yet dressed up for a night out. Our sizes range from 2-14 to ensure looks for a range of body shapes and sizes. SixChel knew we wanted three points as our principles and practices of the company. Those points are sustainable fabric, cut & sewn in the USA and woman empowerment.
Though it is great to use recycled fabrics or fabrics made from recycled products, we wanted our fabric to be more natural and sustainable and decided on Tencel (the most sustainable fabric), Hemp/Organic Cotton blends and Bamboo/Organic Cotton blends. We also use cruelty-free leather and are on a continued search for vegan leather. Our collection is being cut & sewn in Brooklyn, NY and could not be more pleased with the factory we chose to work with, thus far.
Where were you with your idea or business before joining Factory45?
Before Factory45, I was working on developing SixChel without guidance. I had been following Shannon and the progress of Factory45 and wish I would have applied sooner. I did not know how to approach fabric suppliers nor manufacturers and was completely intimidated to do so.
Also, I was unaware of certain resources such as Trunkist in Austin, TX, where SixChel is based. I was very nervous about continuing to work to develop SixChel, but also knew I did not want to give up. I knew if given the opportunity to get my toes wet in fashion production, I would be able to learn and establish SixChel. The moment I decided to apply for Factory45 was when I was in the middle of producing a small holiday collection at a sew shop in Austin. Everything was going so wrong and I was still not secure in knowing the steps of fashion production, that after reading one of Factory45’s newsletters, I decided to just go for it and apply.
How did joining Factory45 help you?
Since joining Factory45, I have learned more about the procedure of producing a manufactured collection as well as learning more about sustainability and ethical practices. Since I was a fashion student years ago, I needed to refresh certain skills fashion designers need to communicate with a factory. My skills of developing tech packs, testing fabric and pattern making definitely improved and I feel confident to be able to perform these tasks on my own for future collections and production runs.
Because of Factory45, I was able to meet and create a network of sustainable fashion brands, media and consumers who have the same principles and values as SixChel. We are now part of a DIY PR group, FEST and this has given us a huge spark. The sustainable fashion network that has developed around Factory45 is so positive and supportive. We all want one another to succeed.
In your opinion, what is the most valuable thing about Factory45?
There is so much that is valuable about Factory45. For us, the most valuable thing was the ability to go back to review lessons, videos, resources and content. This was so useful especially when we were ready to launch our Kickstarter campaign. The campaign is a bit scary in the way that you really don’t know what to expect until you are in it.
Preparing your page can be a bit overwhelming without knowing for sure what will make the public connect with your campaign. It was reassuring to go back and re-read tips, procedures and past experiences that Shannon provides in the module. I honestly, should have read the entire KS module before I launched because I do believe I would have had a much smoother campaign start.
What were some big or small milestones you hit after going through Factory45?
SixChel completed a Kickstarter campaign in June and we reached our goal which was a huge milestone for us. This is why we are able to manufacture our first collection and don’t think we would have been able to do so without Factory45.
The small milestone we are so pleased to have accomplished within this first year after joining Factory45, is my first nationally published article I wrote as a guest blogger for Peaceful Dumpling. A main part of SixChel is to help women know their worth. To be able to spread my message to women has been gratifying in hopes that at least one woman would begin to believe how wonderful and beautiful she truly is.
Please describe your business after Factory45.
Our collection will be ready this Fall and we plan on having trunk shows and press coverage to celebrate it. Development of our next collection will begin within the next month and soon after will prepare the release of that collection. Also, we always wanted to be a brand that physically gave back and have decided to create products for a cause where proceeds will go to a specific non-profit. Factory45 and learning more about the practices of the fashion industry and the harm it does to our environment has helped us realize that there is a way as a fashion brand to give back and help those with resources and means to preserve our environment.