It’s been over two years since I started Factory45 and began working with entrepreneurs all over the U.S. and Canada to launch sustainable clothing brands.
In that time, I’ve done my best to introduce you to the designers who have come through the program, while sharing some of the success stories along the way.
I can easily get caught up in sharing the “how to” and “advice” articles, but I know how much value can also come from the inspirational — and the aspirational.
So, today, I want to share four success stories from past Factory45’ers who I’ve had the pleasure of working with to launch their brands.
Sarah Davis, co-founder of CITIZEN SMALLS
When Sarah joined Factory45 during the Spring 2015 program she was already a seasoned entrepreneur but didn’t have a background in fashion or manufacturing. She was running a successful childcare service from her home base of Austin, TX but she was craving a different creative outlet.
From day one, Sarah was one of the most hardworking and focused people I’ve ever had the opportunity of working with. She meticulously followed each step that I laid out through Factory45 and went above and beyond to execute her vision for a children’s clothing line in six months.
In the Fall of 2015, Sarah launched Citizen Smalls, apparel for kiddos, through a Kickstarter campaign that raised over $20,000 to fund her first production run. In the past year, she’s been featured by Pottery Barn and has hosted pop-up shops all over the country. Every single piece in the Citizen Smalls collection is ethically made in the USA — you can shop both boys and girls items here.
Hanna Baror-Padilla, founder of SOTELA
I love Hanna’s story because she’s a perfect example of how you can go through the Factory45 program at your own pace. One of the most common questions I’m asked by people who want to join Factory45 but aren’t sure if they can afford it, is how much money it takes to launch a fashion brand.
Hanna fully embraced the fact that she was working a full time job and didn’t have the savings to invest in patterns and samples right away, so she mapped out a launch schedule that better fit her finances.
As she gradually invested money into initial startup costs throughout the six months of Factory45 and after the program ended, she launched her womenswear company with a Kickstarter campaign a little over a year after starting Factory45.
Sotela, the last dress you’ll ever need, raised over $20,000 on Kickstarter in the spring of 2016 and Hanna just finished shipping out orders to her first customers. Every dress is ethically made in California from sustainable fabrics — you can shop all three styles here.
Tiffany Shown, founder of FAIR SEAS SUPPLY CO.
Tiffany has shared her story with us before (you can watch the whole video interview here), but I feel like a week doesn’t pass when there isn’t a new and exciting update from her.
Having started the Factory45 program with no idea about what type of product she wanted to create, Tiffany pretty quickly settled on the idea of round beach blankets and ran with it. Without a background in fashion or manufacturing, Tiffany tirelessly worked to set up a supply chain using organic cotton fabric while working with a cut and sew factory in California.
Having enough startup capital saved to self-fund her first production run, Tiffany launched Fair Seas Supply Co. just before the 2015 holiday season to an audience of raving fans. She has since produced a second collection, been featured in newspapers and magazines across the country and is selling her beach blankets in boutiques on both the east and west coasts.
You can shop from the California and New England collections here.
Amanda Yanchury, founder of CAUSE I RUN
When Amanda started Factory45 she had recently moved from San Diego to Boston (where I live). I remember meeting her for drinks one night in the spring of 2015 and talking about her passion for running marathons.
She was getting ready for a big race and told me about the difficulty of finding running apparel that was sustainably and ethically made. It was this need she saw for herself that prompted her to launch her own athletic wear company.
Working a full time job at the same time as coming through Factory45, Amanda also built her company at her own pace and launched a year after starting the program.
CAUSE I RUN was fully funded through a Kickstarter campaign that raised over $15,000 to start production at a factory in Massachusetts. After her successful campaign, Amanda has continued offering pre-sales on her website as she starts production. You can shop sustainable running apparel from CAUSE I RUN here.
To read more success stories from Factory45, check out our Alumni Stories page.