What is your product(s)?
With Casa Danu, I create bold, pattern-forward caftans & resortwear that help women bring out the most colorful and enlivened versions of themselves. My inaugural collection, La Dolce Vita, is inspired by the Italian lifestyle and how fiercely Italians love and embrace life. Featuring two styles, the Gigi Caftan and the Theia Matching Set (Blouse & Pant), this collection embodies the vibrant aesthetic of the Italian Riviera – the deep blues of the Mediterranean, the richness of the terracotta tiles, and the brilliant fuchsia of the bougainvillea that climbs the walls. My goal is to transport anyone who wears my garments to a fabulous Capri 1960s cocktail party, while reminding them to just have fun with their personal style and enjoy life.
From a sustainability perspective, each Casa Danu piece is designed thoughtfully & with a timeless silhouette to ensure that it becomes a hero piece in my customer’s wardrobe – one that gives them joy time and time again and looks as good on them at 30 as it does at 80.
I prioritize using sustainable materials as much as possible, with the goal of consistently improving as I grow. For this first collection, I use an eco-friendly 51% Lyocell/49% Cupro blend for both of our styles. My Gigi Caftan features 100% Organic Cotton piping and the Theia Blouse features a Natural Akoya River Shell button.
All of our garments are meticulously crafted by hand in my hometown of Los Angeles, California, by small, ethical & independent producers. Working directly with a local, tight-knit network ensures that I have visibility into working conditions and I can make sure that workers are properly respected & paid fairly.
Where were you with your idea or business before joining Factory45?
Before joining Factory45, my idea for Casa Danu was just a tiny seed. I had come up with the concept while I was undergoing chemotherapy and surgery for breast cancer and wanted to wear something that made me feel chic, while still being comfortable. When I joined Factory45, all I had were some sketches, moodboards, and a vision for the brand!
How did joining Factory45 help you?
There is absolutely no question that if I hadn’t joined Factory45, Casa Danu would not exist. End of story. I have zero fashion or manufacturing knowledge/experience and starting my own brand would have been near to impossible. Factory45 gave me the knowledge that I didn’t have AND access to people who I could learn from who had the experience I lacked. The structure of the Factory45 program is incredible – it takes you step-by-step from development of your product through launch/production and provides you with the resources to execute on your vision. The supplier/manufacturer/media databases are simply amazing. Without them, I don’t think I would have ever been able to find the right fabric or development & production partner!
In your opinion, what is the most valuable thing about Factory45?
It’s hard for me to pinpoint the most valuable thing about Factory45 because I really do think it’s the combination of the lessons/resources, the databases, the ongoing mentor workshops and coworking sessions, and the community that make it such a unique and powerful accelerator. I do think a unique aspect about the program is that it goes beyond content and resources and creates a very strong community. If I hit a wall and have no idea how to address a situation, I can just post on our FB group and I have answers/support in minutes. There are many times that I could have quit over the past year, but my fellow Factory45’ers kept me going. I believe this network of support and accountability was one of the big drivers in getting me to launch (and keep me going!)
What were some big or small milestones that you hit after going through Factory45?
My biggest milestone has been launching my pre-sale this past June! I am currently in the middle of production and can’t wait to get my garments in the hands of my customers!
Please describe your business after Factory45.
I’m still working through my first collection and will hopefully be finalizing production and shipping product to customer by early October. My next steps are to get feedback from my customers & refine my garments, grow my customer base, and start planning for my 2023 collections!