Frequently Asked Questions

Who can apply to Factory45?

Anyone, anywhere in the world with an internet connection.

I only have an idea – do I need to be farther along?

No! The Factory45 program was created for people who only have an idea. You don’t need to have sketches or a business plan or fabric… all you need is an internet connection and a hefty dose of determination.

We truly start from scratch and if you only have an idea in your head right now, then that’s the perfect place to be!

What are the biggest benefits of being accepted into Factory45?

Shannon’s mentorship: We will get down to the root of your biggest challenges. Unlike traditional online courses, that provide the content but don’t provide hands-on support, I will be there every step of the way as you launch your business. Whether it’s answering specific questions in the Facebook group or hosting monthly Master Classes, you will feel like I am an official member of your team.

Alumni mentorship: You will be matched with a Factory45 alum for personal support and encouragement throughout the program. This opportunity can’t be found in any other fashion programs and is truly one of the most unique aspects of Factory45. You have the individual support of someone who has actually done what you want to do (i.e. launch a fashion brand!)

The resources:  While it takes most people months or even years to break through with suppliers and manufacturers, Factory45 provides you with those connections from the start. You will get access to contact information of sustainable fabric suppliers and potential production partners, as well as training and direction on how to connect with them effectively. Anyone who has spent time trying to source fabric or find a manufacturer knows how difficult it can it be. Factory45 gives you the inside advantage.

The community:  You will be surrounded by fellow entrepreneurs who are facing the same challenges as you are. Some of you will be more seasoned and will be valuable resources for those of you just starting out. On the flip side, the new entrepreneurs will provide a breath of fresh air and bring in skills from outside the industry. When it comes time to launch your business to the world, you will already have a network of like-minded companies ready to support your brand and help you spread the word.

The experts: Through Factory45, you’ll get access to vetted and experienced professionals across different industries. From graphic designers to copy writers to photographers and videographers, you won’t have to search for freelancers on your own. This done-for-you access is highly valuable to any startup on a budget and building a freelance team.

The journey:  You can do this alone or you can do it with help. Everyone is perfectly capable of trudging forward solo but as research shows, humans perform better in groups. Entrepreneurship is lonely at times, and I know I would have loved to have had a program and network like this when I was first starting out. The startup journey can be a lot less daunting and intimidating, depending on the path you choose to take.

How do you help with raising money?

I’ve created a system for raising money that virtually guarantees you will have customers to launch to. Through Factory45, I teach you how to raise money for production without risking your life savings or using your own money. How exactly? By pre-selling. Through Factory45, I teach the exact system that I used, and many of my entrepreneurs have used, to raise money through customer pre-orders.

Do I need to have a fashion background or already know how to make samples and patterns?

Nope! We leave that stuff to the experts. The purpose of Factory45 is to set you up with the people who are trained in sample-making, pattern-making and sewing, so you can focus on the business side of your brand. If you are still in the early stages of development, you will be connected with some of the best in the industry to complete these first steps.

Why did you start Factory45?

Big picture? It’s my personal way of combating fast fashion. I truly believe that the small independent designer has a place in this industry that can compete above and beyond the cheap and disposable goods that big corporations churn out.

If I can help young companies launch and succeed, then I believe fewer people will be shopping at stores like H&M and Forever21.

Smaller picture? I realized there is a hole to fill in the education of sustainable fashion. As someone who has started a successful “fashion company,” without having a real fashion background, I have experienced the lessons of bootstrapping firsthand.

I’m determined to teach Factory45’ers how to start companies without going into debt. I know there’s a way to do this without giving away equity or royalties or spending thousands of dollars on fashion school.

How is Factory45 different than going to fashion school?

Most fashion programs don’t get into the details of business. They focus primarily on grading, flat sketching and other manual skills, but place little emphasis on how to market, brand and sell. What good is creating a product or collection if you don’t know how to get it in front of your customer and sell it? Factory45 is all about starting lean, testing the product at market, and going into production with money in the bank.

I’m still not sure if I’m the right fit – can you tell me more about the ideal Factory45 applicant.

You may have a product that has already had some success, but you want to scale production (for example, someone with an Etsy store) or maybe you only have an idea right now. Whichever phase you’re in, the ideal candidate is, first and foremost, ambitious, hardworking and persistent. You have a general positive attitude and are not easily defeated when challenges arise.

Factory45 is all about being receptive to the resources, community, mentorship and guidance available no matter where you are in your business. If you’re 100 percent committed to fully showing up, then you’re an ideal applicant.

Applications to Factory45 are now closed!

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How long is the program?

When you join Factory45 you get lifetime access. For as long as it takes to launch (and beyond!), you will continue to have access to the content in the portal (and the updates made each year). You will also continue to get support from Shannon and the Alumni Mentors. Think of Factory45 as: accelerator program + mastermind program for as long as you need the support. This lifetime access is another aspect of Factory45 that makes it so valuable — you’re not rushed to launch and even after you launch and start to grow, you will continue to have our support.

How is the program structured? Do I have to be anywhere in person?

The entire program is based online. With the help of an online portal that gives participants an individual log-in, we are able to create a virtual “classroom” for wherever you are in the world. You’ll have access to video lessons, to-do lists, action steps, checklists, exercises, contact databases and call recordings throughout each module.

Can you tell me more about the payment process?

Knowing what it’s like to be a startup with a limited budget, I’ve set up a monthly payment plan over 12 months. You don’t have to pay a lump sum upfront (although you have the option if you’d like to), but once you commit to the program you will automatically be charged in installments every month.

What if I sign up and realize Factory45 isn’t right for me?

After running this program for seven years, I know that Factory45 works. If you commit to doing the work and following the system I’ve put into place, then you will launch your brand. For that reason, we don’t offer refunds or partial enrollment.

I have a co-founder(s). Do we need to apply separately?

Nope! If accepted, you can both participate in the program under one company entity and one program fee.

Who are you again and what experience do you have?

In 2010, I co-founded {r}evolution apparel, a sustainable clothing company for travelers and minimalists that was featured in The New York Times, Forbes.com, WSJ.com and Yahoo! News. Our signature piece, The Versalette, one garment that can be worn over 20 different ways, became the highest-funded fashion project in Kickstarter history. We completed a first run of 1,400 units entirely made in the USA, sourcing only sustainable materials.

At the end of 2012, my co-founder went on to continue producing the Versalette, and I moved on to become a sustainable apparel consultant, advocate and writer. In the past eight years, I’ve worked with hundreds of designers, startups and sustainable brands to launch or grow their businesses.

My work has appeared on WWD, Al Jazeera, Forbes, CNBC’s Nightly Business Report, The Huffington Post, Triple Pundit and in 2014, I was nominated to The Wall Street Journal’s Women of Note.

Applications to Factory45 are now closed!

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