What is your product(s)?
I design 3D knitwear for women who lead unpredictable lives. I am currently using all natural 100% Italian Merino Wool that is humane from a small town called Tollegno in Italy. I am using 3D knitting technology to produce my line. 3D knitting is a super low impact form of producing knitwear. The machines are highly efficient but low energy meaning it has a low carbon footprint. There is minimal waste in production because each garment uses almost the exact amount of yarns needed. The best part about 3D knitting is that it creates seamless garments! This means extra comfort for the customer.
I have developed and will be starting production locally in Brooklyn, New York at the Brooklyn Fashion + Design Accelerator. Designing and producing locally means I can oversee the whole process confirming top of the line quality control. I do not have to worry about shipping products back and forth overseas wasting gas/oil on fabric/style approvals. The best part is that I gain a personal relationship with my factory and the people who are helping make the NIA knitwear. It feels great to know that I am helping to bring to fashion industry back to New York.
Where were you with your idea or business before joining Factory45?
Before I joined Factory45 I was feeling really unfulfilled in my life. I always knew I wanted to start my own business but I had NO idea where to start. I attempted to start the brand before joining Factory45 and was unsuccessful. I quickly became stuck and didn’t know how to proceed or how to make my idea happen. I was miserable trying to decipher the ins and outs of getting my idea off the ground in the fast paced fashion industry. I didn’t want to give up on my dream but couldn’t see the future of it because of all the roadblocks I kept running into.
As soon as I came across Factory45 I was interested. It was a program that took aspiring sustainable fashion designers from 0 to launch. Um, HELLO! It was just what I was looking for. Shannon had some amazing stories from Factory45 alumni that drew me in. I fell in love with the passion people had for creating clothing that was sustainable for our beautiful Earth. Everything they were saying I could connect with. People from all different industries who had a small fashion idea and were able to bring that idea to life in such a short period of time!
I decided to commit to it and to this day, I swear it was the best decision I made that year. I wouldn’t be where I am now if it wasn’t for Factory45.
How did joining Factory45 help you?
Factory45 gave me clear steps on how to focus to my idea. I learned about how strong social media can be for a brand just starting out way before they are even ready to launch. I started writing blog posts, which in no way was a skill I ever thought I had before joining Factory45. Since completing Factory45 I have successfully been funded on Kickstarter and I am starting my first production run of NIA on June 5th! Since the campaign I have been connecting with some cool media platforms that are growing in the sustainable fashion industry. In the coming weeks I will be working with one online magazine to do a video interview and a mini editorial for NIA! I am so excited! I think starting Factory45 gave me the ability to better connect with my creative side and others in the sustainable fashion industry.
In your opinion, what is the most valuable thing about Factory45?
I don’t think Factory45 could be what it is without the incredible community within the program. You are connected with other people going through the same thing as you but have all such different and wonderful ideas! It has been a huge help to have friends to reach out to, throw a problem out there and get some truly helpful advice.
The personal connection you have with Shannon is also an enormous help. The moments that would typically feel like you want to break down and not know where to turn, she always has an answer to help get you to the next step. Just last night, Shannon hosted a live workshop in Soho, New York and I was able to meet her and multiple other people from Factory45!
It is so refreshing to be able to have a core group of people who share your beliefs and you can connect with. I got to meet a few fellow entrepreneurs who have some inspiring stories and we are now staying connected and will be having meetups once in a while to bounce ideas off each other! In just under a year I have met so many people who share my vision. I think that is a big motivation to keep going!
What were some big or small milestones you hit after going through Factory45?
Wow, there are honestly so many positive things I could say in response to this question. I was successfully funded on Kickstarter, I have made valuable connections in the sustainable fashion industry, I have learned so much about marketing, branding, how to focus on growth and being able to envision the future of NIA.
Please describe your business after Factory45.
Currently I am using the money from my Kickstarter campaign to start size grading my first three #NIAKNITWEAR styles into medium and large sizing. On June 5th I am starting my first ever production run! I can’t believe it. I am going to begin development of new pieces for the line soon. I am focusing on improving the brand to become more sustainable and to have a more circular supply chain. I am so excited about the future of NIA and can’t believe less than a year ago I just had a little dream and now I am a growing brand in the sustainable fashion industry!