What is your product(s)?
I design feminine and vintage-inspired garments that are ethically made in Canada. I aim to create pieces that will transcend trends and seasons and be forever kept in my lovely customers’ closets.
Where were you with your idea or business before joining Factory45?
I discovered Factory45 a few days after I came back from a very inspiring weekend. I had spent the past three days helping a friend shoot a Kickstarter campaign for her new ethical swimwear line. That single weekend made me reconsider my bitterness towards the fashion industry. A few years prior I had given up on my dream to have a successful fashion career because my values did not align with those of the industry. Now there I was, years later, realizing that there was a solution to my unfilled dream.
I had one of those “well if she can do it, so can I” moment. I noticed that there was room in the market to start up a fashion brand that would reflect not only my values but also my expectations towards clothing. It is at this very, very early stage of my idea that I stumbled upon Factory45. Enrollment opened a week later, and I took it as a sign that I should go for it!
How did joining Factory45 help you?
Quite frankly, I don’t think I would have had the guts to launch the business without F45. Sometimes you enroll in a program, and by the end of it you think, “I could have figured this out on my own.” You can’t say that about Factory45. Starting a clothing brand is hard. The industry is very technical and old school in terms of how business is done. My millennial “I will look it up’ mindset did not apply for most stages of building my clothing brand.
I am a believer that confidence can help you achieve anything. Factory 45 certainly gave me that confidence. Between Shannon’s mentorship, the lessons and assignments, the databases, and the community, anything seemed possible. It was a huge help to know that my peers were going through the same challenges as me. It felt like we were all this together, which made it a lot more fun.
In your opinion, what is the most valuable thing about Factory45?
The whole package! It’s honestly the combination of all the tools made available to you that makes this program worthwhile. Having access to Shannon as a mentor is a huge plus too. Nothing like a real person to cheer you up when you are about to throw in the towel or to tell you to stop overthinking every little detail.
What were some big or small milestones that you hit after going through Factory45?
Some of my favorite Vancouver boutiques carried my first collection, I was interviewed by two well-known local publications (without pitching them!) shortly after the launch, and I also got a meeting with a major Canadian retailer.
Please describe your business after Factory45.
The fact that I have a business still makes me very happy and feels surreal! Harly Jae just recently launched its second collection, which I am very proud of. I have now found an even better production partner with whom I am building a strong relationship. I since work full-time on the brand and am focusing on growth strategies.