What is your product(s)?
Wandwoods make Cottagecore-inspired fashion in timeless romantic silhouettes. Our debut collection is composed of a dress, top and skirt.
We use natural fabrics and/or OEKO-TEX® certified materials: For this collection, we used 100% Linen, as it is a sustainable fabric, as it is durable, biodegradable and requires 5 to 20 times less water and energy to be produced, compared to other fibres like cotton.
Local and Ethical Manufacturing: Our garments are produced in Vancouver, Canada, supporting fair pay and the local economy. By choosing local manufacturing, we also reduce our carbon footprint by not having to ship or air goods in large quantities overseas.
Zero-waste: All fabric scraps are converted into hair accessories such as bow barrettes and scrunchies.
Eco-packaging: Wandwoods works with recycled and recyclable packaging from Eco Enclose. Our hang tags are made of seed paper, spreading wildflowers and attracting pollinator insects such as bees.
Always operate with kindness: I believe in a kind world, helping people and being honest with each other. One of the main values of this company is to be kind to people, animals and the environment.
Where were you with your idea or business before joining Factory45?
I tried to open my brand before I ever dreamt of joining Factory 45, but never truly dialed what purpose or identity I would follow. I wasn’t sure what to do even though I’ve worked in the Fashion Industry for the last 11 years in every sector imagined of the field.
I was always stuck, and opening a brand seemed like an impossible dream, especially for a creative like me with no business mindset, so I started with drawings and paintings. I was depressed and had no idea what to do with my life, and selling illustrations wasn’t fulfilling enough.
I had the urge to do something more significant and impactful but was scared and didn’t know where to start.
When the pandemic hit, I discovered the Cottagecore community and the philosophy behind romanticizing your life and appreciating nature, and that’s when I found my identity. The sustainability piece was crucial to shaping my brand, connecting the aesthetic to its authentic values, and I decided to join the Factory45 workshop.
How did joining Factory45 help you?
It is tough to know what “step 1” is, even with all the experience and background, but Factory45 gave me a starting point. When I watched video #1 and heard Shannon’s voice, “ok, this is where you start: fabric sourcing,” it was like following a cake recipe.
As a very insecure person, having people around me to talk to and consult whenever I wanted was essential. My mentors did an excellent job keeping me focused and away from severe anxiety.
This course also made me fearless in contacting people. I used to be terrible at simply writing an inquiry email, but with the templates and the right mindset, I managed to lock in suppliers, publications and influencers.
Factory45 gave me the roadmap and the psychological support I needed to start and keep going and believing. There are several moments when you just want to give up and feel alone, but the community is absolutely fantastic, and you feel like a part of something bigger all the way.
What were some big or small milestones that you hit after going through Factory45?
I have a business with lots of potential, and this is something people say to me daily.
I was able to work with my favourite influencers: the same people I was inspired by from the very beginning, something I never dreamt of achieving before.
I think the biggest milestone was to actually complete the cycle of making something and getting out to the world. Like mentor Laila said: “It is just the beginning,” and I look forward to seeing what the future brings!
In your opinion, what is the most valuable thing about Factory45?
The zoom classes, mentorship and community, made all the difference for me. Every zoom class I attended was valuable and inspirational to keep going. I was the dramatic one in the group, but to have everyone’s support and push was exactly what I needed to get up the next day and start working, even though I had a very demanding (hourly and emotionally) full-time job. I used to work from 6 am-9 am and then from 7 pm- whenever I could on this company, and the incentive that Shannon and the group would give was crucial when I was exhausted and questioning why I was doing this to myself.
I gladly can say I made many friends from my group, and we all meet on zoom from time to time for support and wine, even though we all launched at this point. It has been so good to have friendships to exchange with that who are in the same boat.
I would say the community and friendships were the ones keeping me going, and I launched my business because I had all of these fantastic people cheering me up, helping me along the way and telling me not to give up!
Please describe your business after Factory45.
I am now starting to develop my second collection and have learned much from the first one. I am adapting my designs and using the survey method to make my next moves. Today’s goal is to expand visibility and work with more influencers lined up and ready to receive products from my first production.
I have a lot of interest from influencers worldwide in working with me, and I believe that is my most significant opportunity.
I believe my second collection will be a great push for the business, and hoping to keep growing my audience! I will repeat the same methodology and might even try the Kickstarter for my next launch. Factory45 makes it possible for me to keep experimenting, and with lifetime mentorship, I get support to continue scaling.