What is your product(s)?
We create elevated loungewear for women. I realized that the clothing I was always reaching for in my closet were the pieces that were the most comfortable and I felt fit me well. Especially after my transition to working from, I found that the cozy sweatpants and sweatshirts that I was always reaching for made me feel lazy and unmotivated, not ready to tackle the crazy to-do list of this girl boss. I realized there was a need to create loungewear that was beautifully and ethically made that women could feel comfortable lounging in but also wearing to run errands, to the office (in-home or otherwise), and for weekend getaways. All of our styles focus on clean lines and a relaxed fit that help women show up for anything their day throws at them. Our garments are ethically made in Minneapolis by a small team of women and are sewn from natural materials. They fit into a capsule style wardrobe and are released individually via pre-sales on our website which encourages mindfulness and attention to lifestyle when women choose one of our pieces to support their daily routines.
Where were you with your idea or business before joining Factory45?
Before joining Factory45, I knew that I wanted to start my own sustainable fashion line. That was basically all I knew! I didn't have a specific vision, I didn't know who to sell to, I didn't know how to build my audience. I have a degree in apparel design and when I started Factory45 I was sewing very small runs of my product from my bedroom and trying to sell on my online shop and at markets. I was feeling like I lacked a vision and didn't know how to get my product in front of my ideal customer. I joined Factory45 because a friend recommended it to me and because I love learning from people who know what they are talking about! I believe knowledge is such an important investment and I knew I needed more tools to get me to where I wanted to be with this business.
How did joining Factory45 help you?
I went through Factory45 at a point when my life was really pivoting. Factory45 helped me realize that I needed a specific message to set me apart from other brands. I learned how to identify what was unique about me and my story and how I could use that to build my brand more intentionally and attract the right customers. Also, the resources and step-by-step break down of how to produce product was invaluable. Even with a degree in Apparel Design, the lessons in Factory45 were so applicable to me because Shannon knows the industry and understands what really needs to happen to successfully launch product.
In your opinion, what is the most valuable thing about Factory45?
It's hard to pick one most valuable thing about Factory45. The Kickstarter content was super helpful but the aspect of Factory45 that I am still utilizing every day is the community. I've benefited so much from the connection to Shannon and the other entrepreneurs who went through this program with me. Being able to talk about shared struggles and victories is so encouraging and really necessary when trying to navigate the life and business of being an entrepreneur. The resources and content in Factory45 were so necessary for me to gain the confidence I needed to hone my message and learn how to build my audience. This program gave me the resources to both improve my product and my brand strategy. It truly changed my brand!
What were some big or small milestones that you hit after going through Factory45?
The biggest milestone I hit after going through Factory45 is that I successfully funded my Kickstarter with a goal of $15k and realizing this is really just the beginning for my brand. The Kickstarter ended up being much less about the money raised for me and much more about getting my product in front of more people and learning how to scale my business. We are just about to ship our Kickstarter product out to our backers and I am already implementing learning from this production run into our plans for future product launches. I can't wait for my backers to get our product and get feedback from them. I'm excited to see how my brand is able to spread from word of mouth now that I actually have a customer base! Of course, now that I've been through Factory45, I also understand the value of building an audience through organic marketing, but having a base of loyal customers that I gained in my Kickstarter is something that I am really excited about.
Please describe your business after Factory45.
After Factory45 my business is me. I feel confidant in the product that we're creating and confident that we're serving a specific niche. I feel like I can confidently grow our customer base by serving my niche through great content and product. I've found the problem that I can answer with my products and I feel like our clothing serves a real purpose beyond just being a sustainable fashion label. So, confidence, was a huge take away for me. Before, my family and friends would ask me about my business and say “but how will you reach customers?” At the time I didn't have a good answer for them, and that really scared me. After going through Factory45 I feel like I know how to build an audience to launch new product to. And my growth has been slow, I will say that. But I know the strategies for growth and feel so proud and intentional about the way I am growing my business now. I definitely didn't feel that way before starting this program.