Why did you apply to Factory45?
Months before joining Factory45, I told my husband I wanted to start my own sustainable apparel brand. I’m pretty sure I was half kidding because I didn’t think it was possible for someone who already had a degree and career in a completely different field to design a clothing line.
Not only was my husband supportive, but he also encouraged me to look deeper into what that would entail. I briefly googled “how to start a clothing line” and got scared by how difficult it looked without the experience or capital. If it weren’t for Factory45, I would have thought it was too hard and quit before starting.
Tell us about your company.
Sotela is a collection of clothing that will span several traditional sizes to combat the “nothing fits” dilemma. Every item will be responsibly made in the USA with eco-friendly fabrics.
How did joining Factory45 help you?
I wouldn’t be going after my dream if I hadn’t joined Factory45. Thinking about starting a business is overwhelming, especially if you don’t have any experience. Not only did I learn the tools necessary, but I also gained the support I needed from the Factory45 community that understood the consistent fears of being an entrepreneur.
Every day comes with new doubts and insecurities and you need people who understand what you are doing to help you navigate those daily fears. I’ve reached out to the community several times to compare prices for factories or to ask about my blog's layout because I was unsure of what to do.
I’ve grown so much as a person and entrepreneur since joining the program. I’m no longer scared to cold call or email production partners, I feel competent in what I’m doing (most of the time), and I know the exact steps to take to launch my first collection.
Since completing Factory45 last year, I’ve been able to solidify my business idea and branding, collaborate with publications such as Mind Body Green and Ethica and finalize samples for my upcoming Kickstarter launch.
What were some big or small milestones that you hit after going through Factory45?
Sotela's biggest milestones since Factory45 include surpassing my Kickstarter goal, selling over 100 orders on my website within the first 4 months of business, and designing a brand new collection .
Describe your business after Factory45.
It's been 7 months since I launched Sotela and it's been steadily growing. I launched one collection last year and about to launch a second collection for spring and summer. It's been an amazing journey and can't wait to see how we grow within the next three years. I'm hoping to expand my team and work out of a manufacturing facility where we design, cut, and sew under one roof.