What is your product(s)?
We are a casual-professional brand for women who want to be comfortable and express themselves creatively in the workplace. Currently, we have one product: the Kimono Blazer, which is a ridiculously comfortable, loose-fitting, stretchy blazer with 3 big-enough-for-your-phone pockets. We offer it in 3 colors: burgundy, millennial pink and natural. The garments are made by our team in Indianapolis with organic cotton (blended with a bit of spandex.) We have a partnership with a local nonprofit to provide transitional employment and supportive community for women who want to leave the sex industry. We are all about supporting our community with our business, whether that’s our neighbor who needs to transition to a new job or the farmer in India who grows our organic cotton.
Where were you with your idea or business before joining Factory45?
Before joining F45, I was just in the idea stage. I had started to do research but was pretty clueless about how to really start a fashion brand. I was optimistic about my new idea, but overwhelmed by the amount of things I needed to become an expert in. And frankly, with the fashion industry being so old and closed off, it was hard to make connections with suppliers and partners. I joined so I could gain some clarity, direction, support, and resources and actually start my business the right way.
How did joining Factory45 help you?
It was very cool to be a part of a community of people who had a passion for sustainability and was attempting something similarly crazy. I was able to gain the confidence that comes with having a basic knowledge of anything. I don’t have a fashion background, so before I joined F45 I didn’t know the lingo. It made me feel extremely intimidated to talk to anyone about my business/idea. That mindset would have caused me to be stuck forever, but thankfully, this amazing resource was there to help me overcome!
In your opinion, what is the most valuable thing about Factory45?
Although it took me a bit to get the hang of them, the regular group phone calls were super helpful. Once I got over my introvertedness and started asking questions on the call, I was able to talk through a few branding and fabric options with Shannon and get input from others in the group as well. Also, the facebook group has been a great community for ongoing questions sharing resources.
And the content + videos in the course are great. Shannon makes everything seem simple and breaks things up in a way that makes them feel a little more manageable. (Sorry, I can’t pick just one thing. It’s just all good.)
What were some big or small milestones that you hit after going through Factory45?
We officially launched Trace Fashion with a Kickstarter in August 2018 (about 8 months after I finished the program). We successfully funded 143% and are currently in the process of fulfilling over 300 orders. Gotta be honest, this feels a little bit unreal.
Please describe your business after Factory45.
After Factory45 it took me a bit to take the leap to launch. But I’m so glad I’ve taken this big risk and turned my dream into a reality. Trace Fashion is continually growing, with plans to add a few more casual-professional pieces to our line this spring. It’s been a crazy ride and I’m so excited to grow as an ethical + local brand (continually referencing the Factory45 content to help me stay on track).