I knew from the moment I had the idea of owning my own fashion label, ethics was going to be the driving force behind it. I chose to celebrate the American worker and the great industry that was developed here at the start of the industrial revolution (yes, America is responsible for RTW) and has evolved into one of greater practices. Fashion production is not perfect in the US, (LA has improvements to work on) but having access to the factory and the people making our clothes is key to assuring our collections are produced in good working conditions.
This is Han Lee, he over saw the production of the Capsule Collection at Fine Line Studio in Manhattan, New York.
Han and his staff were responsible to cut fabric, sew our products and package each item – ready to deliver to our customers.
Pictured here is one of the employees at Fine Line Studio – sewing the Demi Crop Top and packaging The Gia Wrap Top.
Knowing the people who make your clothes are being paid fair wages is gratifying and we are so proud to share their hard work and great skills with you.
It has always been important to us to be an ethical fashion brand with care and concern with how our clothes are being made. We are proud to be Made in the USA, where the heart of RTW was established and in New York where the concerns of factory conditions have improved the quality of garment factories and workers. We, as women are a huge buying power, it us up to us to lead the fashion revolution, buying products that are ethically made and demanding to know, “Who is making our clothes”.
This article was originally posted on the Factory45 blog on August 23, 2017.
This is a guest post by Factory45’er Dina Chavez who launched a Kickstarter campaign this spring for her womenswear line SixChel. Dina raised over $17,000, exceeding her goal amount, and learned a lot along the way. Today she’s sharing her “do’s and don’ts” for launching a sustainable fashion brand through crowdfunding. Here’s Dina:
-Shannon, Founder of Factory45
It’s been about a month and a half since the launch of my fashion brand’s first sustainable capsule collection via Kickstarter.
The campaign was definitely a whirlwind, but now that the dust has settled and we are at the beginning stages of production, we have been able to clear the air and evaluate the process.
I realized that there were definitely a few things we should have done differently before and during the campaign and definitely a few things we should not have done at all.
It is a lot easier to look back and say, “I should have…” and because this information is no longer beneficial to us as far as Kickstarter campaigns are concerned, I decided to share my experiences with you in hopes you do not make the same mistakes I made.
DO think about public relations: If you have the budget to hire a public relations team, I definitely encourage you to do so. I was fortunate to work with Lorraine Sanders of PressDope, a DIY PR company “increasing earned media mentions” for FEST brands.
Months before the launch of the Kickstarter campaign, we were able to create public awareness of our brand, our story, our products and our launch which helped us increase our audience.
>> TIP: Start planning your PR strategy and media outreach now; you can never start preparing early enough
DO review the Factory45 “Preparing to Launch” module: If you are a current member of Factory45 or are thinking about becoming one, this has been one of the biggest benefits for me.
The information provided by Shannon during the “Launch” module is very beneficial and should guide you to a successful campaign. I reviewed everything about Kickstarter through the module about a few weeks before I launched.
>> TIP: Review the “Launch” module about a month or sooner before you launch.
DO plan an announcement launch strategy: In order to have a big boom at the beginning of your launch, it is important to have a strategy to announce your launch.
Your audience needs to not only get excited about your brand and product, they also need to get excited about the actual launch. This will help them spread the word out to their friends and family, increasing your audience.
>> TIP: Find a creative and exciting way to get your audience excited about your launch and eager to make a pledge on the first day.
DO host a trunk show or two: Selling products online can be tough, especially if you are a new fashion brand because people want to see and feel the product. We hosted four trunk shows throughout the campaign (unfortunately, we came up with this idea a bit too late into our campaign) and because of these trunk shows, we were able to show the brand in action on social media which did bring added attention to our campaign.
Trunk shows also helped keep up the momentum and eventually, turning interest into pre-orders, email sign-ups, followers, etc. Most importantly, because of the trunk shows, we were able to share images of our products on “normal” or “non-model-esque” women.
> >TIP: Find a location to host a trunk show where you can get good foot traffic. Also, think about asking friends to host private, more personal trunk shows amongst their friends.
DO be creative and have giveaways: People love the word “free”; anything anyone can get for free, whether an item or knowledge, will peak their interest. Offer an item, a selection of items, or a donation on their behalf in exchange for emails, follows, and/or pledges. Sometimes we need a bit of encouragement to find a reason to give a part of ourselves.
> TIP: Consider having small items to giveaway at your trunk shows in exchange of email addresses.
DON’T forget to have your products related to “real women”:
It helps to have “real” women/men (depending on your product) wear the clothes and/or use the product. When I say, “real,” I don’t mean fashion influencers or professional brand ambassadors; I mean people like you and me. Ask “real” people to wear the garments, take pictures and talk about how great the product is on their social media accounts.
>> TIP: Create a list of friends and/or acquaintances who would love to wear your products for a day. Create a hashtag that will help increase awareness about your brand.
DON’T let people procrastinate: People truly do procrastinate and it is up to you to find a way to get them motivated to make a pledge and to pledge right now. It will be vital to find different ways to motivate people to act “now.” This is a hurdle throughout the entire campaign.
>>TIP: Be creative in your incentives; they truly need to give the audience something in return.
DON’T feel bad about approaching people: This was difficult for me because I am not much of an aggressive person in this way, but you will have to personally message people individually and ask them to consider pre-ordering and/or making a pledge.
Most of our pre-orders came from personally messaging people about our mission and campaign. The response you get will surprise you. Most people were gracious and extremely honest and the best part about the messages was the words of encouragement that were sent back.
> TIP: Don’t get upset or frustrated with the rude people; there are always the people with no compassion for your honest hard work. Just ignore them.
DON’T get caught up with bloggers/brand influencers:During this process, I have definitely made great connections with wonderful bloggers and/or brand influencers. It is important to know that not all bloggers and/or brand influencers are created equal.
You will find some who are just interested in making money and not truly interested in sustainability and or properly promoting your brand. Find those who are genuine to your cause.
>> TIP: Pay bloggers/brand influencers who you know do honest work and who create write-ups that excite their readers about your brand.
DON’T give up: I think you can prepare, over prepare and then over prepare the wrong way. No matter what happens when you launch your Kickstarter campaign, remember you have 30 or so days to reach your goal.
I have to admit, I completely freaked out the entire first week of the campaign, ask Shannon. Plans A, B and C completely fell through for us and for a few days I was having no luck creating new ideas to promote the campaign. Luckily, I found a great group of women to network and brainstorm with and together they helped us reach our goal.
>> TIP: Gather a list of your network and resources, you will never know who will be able to help you when you find yourself in a bind.
Launching our collection via Kickstarter was a great way to get our brand out into the community and to move forward with production. We now know, that as a first time user of Kickstarter, you are definitely in for an experience. Good luck and much success on your launch!
The month of June was definitely an experience for SixChel as we conducted our first, and it is safe to say, only Kickstarter campaign. It was a success for more reasons than just reaching our goal to fund our first production run. Because of the campaign, SixChel hosted a number of trunk shows and we were able to talk to you, the consumer and find out more about your thoughts on sustainable fashion. We learned that you are generally interested in living a healthier lifestyle whether it be the type of foods you put into your mouth or the type of clothes you put on your body.
I could pass along information and facts on how bad the fashion industry is for our environment, thus bad for us, but I will spare you. All I ask is that you keep an open mind into sustainable fashion and try these 3 easy-to-do tips for you to begin your journey into living a sustainable and fashionable lifestyle.
1. Alter or Re-purpose Your Clothes:
Find a local tailor/seamstress, dry cleaners or an alterations business that is able to perform alterations and repairs. Most dry cleaners do perform small alterations and repairs on clothes. Find one you like and fits your needs. It is always a good idea to develop a good relationship with the owner and staff of the service you choose to use. Since most donated clothes do not reach people in need and are usually sent to landfills, it is always a great idea to alter and/or repair your well-made clothes.
2. Buy “Eco-Friendly” or “Conscious” from Large Brands:
We are seeing larger fashion brands such as, H&M and ZARA venture into the sustainable fashion realm and are expecting more brands and companies to follow suite. As the demand for Eco-friendly, sustainable, conscious products (there are so many labels, mostly for marketing purposes) increases, more of these types of products will be made to fill that need creating more options to choose from for you to buy. So, I encourage you to purchase eco-conscious items when available. BUT I do recommend for you to still read the label and find out “how” sustainable the product truly is. Unsure? Ask the retailer questions, ask the brand questions and if you are still confused, email me and we can have a discussion about it.
3. Search the Internet for Sustainable Fashion:
There are many businesses and products with various price points
and ethical practices out there. Conduct a Google search and find the sustainable brand(s) that feels right for you. Look for items on sale or websites offering a
first time purchase discount. Styles with classic cuts and styles with a silhouette you are used to are usually great starting points when you are familiarizing yourself with a new fashion brand. Read the brand’s size chart. Ask questions. Most sustainable fashion brands are small businesses and invite conversation and/or questions about their brand and products.
Remember, the whole idea of sustainable fashion is to help create healthier lifestyles and help reduce pollution from our industry. You can help us accomplish our mission and do your part. Buy sustainable! Here are a few links to get you started:
I’m sure some of you feel as I do, the weekend was great, but just not long enough. Work is the last thing on your mind and being productive is definitely not your concern at the moment. For me, there is nothing better than reading inspirational quotes while I drink caffeine (in some form other than coffee) to spark my Monday morning. It is truly about getting your head focused on your goals and forming a game plan to achieve them. Here are 3 #MondayMotivation quotes to inspire you this beautiful Monday.
Make it POP like pink champagne…there is no point in doing anything unless you are having fun.
Self-Confidence is the Best Outfit, Rock It and Own It…everyone fears a confident woman because they know she will get it done.
Be In Love with Your Life Every Minute of It…because you may not get to tomorrow.
I was recently interviewed for Haute In Texas, where savvy public relations meets passionate blogging influence. Aquila and I had a great conversation where we discussed SixChel, our upcoming launch and the choice between pancakes or waffles. Here is a quick snippet:
I, too am at the beginning of becoming a conscious consumer and know it is definitely a work in progress, but the little we do, is a step in the right direction. The fun part about being a consumer, is that retailers actually pay attention to our buying habits and concerns.
Fashion Revolution Day was April 24th and I attended my first Fashion Revolution event in Austin, TX. Held at Soma Vida, a group of designers, entrepreneurs and consumers interested in better working conditions in the fashion industry came together to discuss how we can help make a better tomorrow. Yes, you, too can help make a difference. Be curious. Find Out. Do something. Read more about Fashion Revolution and what you can do be a part of this movement.
SixChel is launching The Capsule Collection soon. Make sure you are signed up at our website: www.sixchelbydinachavez.com to receive information about our upcoming launch.
It could be just me, but as I get older, my love and need for beauty products has increased. Not for purely vanity purposes, but because they make me feel good about myself. However, I do not want to put foreign chemicals that can cause more harm than good on my face. My skin is too sensitive and I do not feel the need to harm animals nor increase my chances of getting some sort of disease or illness for beauty. I am always on the hunt for natural beauty products and these are my go-to top 5 right now.
You probably have heard about Burt’s Bees or have even purchased a product or two. This company has been around for a couple of decades on the mass market. Their products are made from natural ingredients with ethical practices…even the packaging is sustainable.
Why I Love It
I have been purchasing their lip balm for a number of years now and it is one of the best lip care balms on the market. The tinted lip balm is even better with a variety of natural colors for a simple day look. All of the skin care products I have used from Burt’s Bees are light with a natural feel and always leave my skin looking and feeling soft and radiant.
“Our ingredients—right down to the packaging—are simple, natural, and responsible. We practice what we preach—and we hope to set the example for others to follow.
It’s called The Greater Good. And it’s how we’re going to help change the world”.
An aluminum-free and paraben-free deodorant for women and men. Made of all natural ingredients with a few scented options such as lavender and rose (the scent I use), coconut and vanilla or unscented. All deodorants are Made in the USA.
Why I Love It
It’s natural, made in the USA and it feels as if I am not wearing anything. What surprised me the most was that it was so easy to wash off. Most importantly, it works!
“Leading antiperspirants contain aluminum, which is linked to breast cancer and Alzheimer’s. Native Deodorant is aluminum-free and paraben-free”.
“We are natural, organic, sustainably-produced goodness. Made with love for you and your body. Pioneering fair trade through Community Commerce at home and abroad. We strive to be sulfate free, paraben free and more, whenever possible. Tested on our family for four generations. Never on animals”.
Why I Love It
The main product I use from Shea Moisture is their African Black Soap Clarifying Mud Mask. When I notice my face breaking out a bit more or if it’s a bit dull, I apply a layer of the mud mask on my face and apply extra over the blemished spots. It leaves an invigorating feeling, brightens my face and reduces redness along with decreasing the appearance of blemishes.
An all natural beauty line believing beauty is you. They are the first beauty brand to achieve 100% Non-GMO Project Verification on all of their products. Today, they are the #1 natural skin care brand on the market.
Why I Love It
I have been using the Polished to Perfection – Konjac Facial Sponge Duo and the natural exfoliation from the sponges leaves my skin silky-smooth. The anti-aging sponge has helped decrease the appearance of those laugh lines around my eyes. The green tea sponge definitely illuminates my face making me feel energized and younger.
“Superior Source Ingredient Standards include Non-GMO Project Verified and Gluten Free Verified, Certified Organic, Organic, Nature Derived, Vegetarian, Vegan, Sustainably Sourced and Fair Trade Ingredients, and always Cruelty Free”.
Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade essential oils available through Wellness Advocates creating a personal buying experience. Their oils come from farmers in over 40 countries. Through the Global Botanical Network, doTERRA supports generational farmers creating ethical jobs around the world.
Why I Love IT
I had been on a shampoo and conditioner hunt for a few months since my hair had become dry, hard and flat. Initially, I thought, “shampoo with essential oils, it’s just going to leave my hair oily and stringy”. The opposite has happened. My hair is soft, the color is as bright as the first day of my treatment and my hair is actually easier to style.
I am a huge advocate of telling women and especially young girls that beauty is not the most important component of who they are. However, I still love to feel beautiful and look as if I am not aging.
There will always be a need to find the best natural beauty products that are right for me andI encourage you to find your own and experiment with them. You will be surprised by the results and notice that they are as good as your department store non-natural products. If you have a list of your favorite natural beauty products, let us know and tell us why you love them by clicking on “Leave a comment” under the main headline at the top of the page. Thanks!
Feminism and equality for women is not a new idea. This didn’t come from hippie, oversexed, crazy women who hate men. Women for centuries have always fought for equality and it is a need that is way overdue. Here are 3 women who have made strides in creating an environment of equality for women.
Maud Wood Park
Who She Is
An activist who fought for women to have the right to vote. She was the first national president of the League of Women Voters. Maud formed and was the chairperson of the Women’s Joint Congressional Committee. This committee lobbied congress to pass legislation in favor of women, pregnant women and infants.
Why She Is Awesome
One of her accomplishments, The Cable Act of 1922, gave immigrant, married women independent citizenship. Sheppard-Towner Maternity and Infancy Protection Act of 1921 is another of her accomplishments. This Act gave federal aid to state programs for mothers and newborns to help reduce the growing mortality rate of that era.
Who She Is
Co-founder, organizer and negotiator of the United Farm Workers Association. Known to be one of the most influential labor activists and leaders of the Chicano Movement. Advocate for farm workers, immigrants, women and children.
Why She Is Awesome
While Dolores was a teacher in California, she realized she could no longer stand to see the poor children of farm workers suffering any more. She quickly, became an organizer for farm workers negotiating on their behalf for better working conditions including pesticides that were not as harmful and healthcare benefits. Because of her work, the California Agricultural Labor Relations Act of 1975 was signed into legislation. This “allowed farm workers to form unions and bargain for better wages and conditions”.
“Throughout the 1970s and ‘80s, Huerta worked as a lobbyist to improve workers’ legislative representation. During the 1990s and 2000s, she worked to elect more Latinos and women to political office and has championed women’s issues”. -National Women’s History Museum
Gloria De Leon
Who She Is
Co-Founder and Executive Vice President of the National Hispanic Institute. As Gloria worked in various government positions in both the state and federal levels, she knew there was a need for an avenue for Latino leadership and co-created NHI to serve as a Latino Leadership Institution. NHI has worked with 120 higher education institutions and with over 70, 000 students from across the nation.
Why She Is Awesome
Gloria has been an advocate for Latino leadership since the 1970’s creating an avenue for young Latinos to succeed in education, government and leadership. I first met Gloria in college as she was 1 of our amazing advisors for my sorority and eventually became 1 of my sorority sisters. Gloria led us to believe that as women, there may be barriers, but we could overcome them and accomplish our own goals. She encouraged us to recognize the need for change within our community and to find the solutions that would demand that change.
I asked Gloria to share a bit of herself with us and gave her 5 questions to answer.
1. Do you see yourself as a woman who has made a positive impact?
Yes! My favorite quote is “People may doubt what you say, but they will always believe what you do.” I purposely placed myself in environments where my voice and actions would be seen and felt by specific audiences — national and international youth as co-founder of the National Hispanic Institute; emerging Latina leaders as the longest serving advisor to Kappa Delta Chi; and a positive representative of my roots — McAllen, the Rio Grande Valley and my alma mater, UT-RGV.
2. Who was the woman you wanted to emulate as you were set out to accomplish your goals?
My mother, Herlinda Ovalle De Leon modeled the way for each life goal. Like many daughters, I was amazed at the strength, stamina and sacrifice of my mother. My epiphany was two-fold. One, my mother could have accomplished so much had she been privileged to access education, financial stability, and options beyond marriage, children and minimum wage employment. Second, while she fulfilled all the traditional roles, she unconsciously diverted mine. Instead of household chores, she encouraged me to read. She challenged me NOT to “grow up to fast” and enjoy my youth. Subsequently, I steered away from serious relationships, graduated from college, traveled, lived on my own, moved away from home, created financial security long before I settled down with my husband. I made choices people still don’t understand, such as foregoing bearing children. But in 2017, my Mother’s 100th birthday, I live the life she envisioned for me– defined by choices best for me.
3. Where would you like to see women’s role in the future and is it up to us to truly seek equality?
Equality. While I love the purest sense of the word, and can envision it, I express a linguistic concern. It’s akin to the movie “Desperately Seeking Susan” or the song, “Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places”. It becomes an elusive, unattainable, David and Goliath fight. My point is don’t get caught in something you can’t define.
The best advice is “go with your strength”. When I see women roles in the future, I see products, industries, services that can uniquely belong in a woman’s space — where WE ARE THE EXPERTS. (Could SPANX have been conceived by anyone other than Susan Blakely?).
In the world of tomorrow, we need to stop asking what is the problem we need to solve, i.e. equality and focus on what is the ASSET we need to leverage. Women can be the best, most competent in areas uniquely inspired by the life they have lived, the obstacles they have faced, and the resolve they can define for themselves.
4. There are a number of sex strikes through out history that were successful. With today’s clout over sexism and women’s rights, should we as a mass conduct in sex strikes to “wake people up” about the reality of sexism in America today?
Wow, I have to admit that sex strikes are an interesting strategy. But what would women have to admit — that sex is our strongest negotiating tool? Or that men cannot function without sex? And, women could only negotiate with heterosexual males. When I think of WHO makes decisions affecting women, I think of OLDER men. Will this strategy work since 57% of men between age 57-85 years old with partners are interested in sex? (psychecentral.com)
Might work on a small scale, targeting certain male age groups, such as college campuses, but don’t know 100% of women would support it.
5. Do you have words of advice for younger women who seek a need for equality?
Equality is a state of mind. I would suggest young women master resiliency. Learn everything you can about how easily life can sidetrack, detour, or destroy YOUR life. Surround yourself with master mentors, not just girlfriends. The only way to learn strength and resiliency is to be open to the honest feedback of a contrary opinion. A master mentor is one who will give you the hard facts, but will productively devote the time to positively redirect your thinking. Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone, write an email, invite someone for coffee. All the women I’ve been privileged to know over my lifetime have been very generous with their time. I think it’s the greatest compliment anyone can give you when you reach out to someone and say, I want to learn from you.
I have recently become a blog junkie. There is nothing better than reading a blog of style or inspiration, local or national that gets my brain working in the right direction. I have a long list of blogs I subscribe to right now, but there are a few that I am always following that have been catching my eye as of late.
Who What Wear is the leading online destination for aspirational yet accessible fashion content that is elevated, serviceable, and 100% shoppable. Through trend reports, celebrity style guides, wardrobe how-tos, and the latest in fashion news, Who What Wear is your one-stop style resource.
Why I Love It
There is usually a list of style advice that is easy to transform into your personal style. I especially love the occasional “French-girl” style advice you can find on Who What Wear.
Dressed to Kill owner, Ashley Hargrove, is a commercial advertising wardrobe stylist, model
and fashion blogger sharing her personal style and tips as well as behind the scenes of her many advertising projects. Ashley has styled and modeled for many well-known companies and brands including Neiman Marcus, BMW, Bud Light and many more.
Why I Love It
Ashley’s style is beyond Austin. It is refreshing to see fashion elevated beyond flip flops in the ATX.
Every moment is an opportunity to inspire, create, and explore. Here at Camille Styles, we focus on the daily decisions that allow us to embrace those opportunities. Discover a fresh approach to style through fun ideas for the wardrobe and home.
Try delicious market-fresh recipes that are perfect for dinner tonight. Take advice from inspiring influencers on health, fitness, fashion, beauty, and professional goals at a site that views every aspect of clean living through a glamorous lens. We hope to inspire healthy choices and happy, beautiful lives.
What I Love About It
I just found Camille Styles’ blog a couple of weeks ago and was immediately drawn to the healthy aspect of the blog. She is also very interactive on IG and it makes it feel personal, like she is your friend and is encouraging you to live a healthy lifestyle.
This blog was created for all women who have ever been on the fence… In Life. In Business. In Love. In anything. Period.
We are bright. We are dynamic. We are educated. We are perfectionists. We are tired. We love our husbands. We hate our husbands. We love our kids. Our kids annoy us. We want to work. We can’t juggle it all. We expect two dozen roses on our anniversary. We give. We get. We’re happy. We’re discouraged. We’re intuitive. We’re funny.
We’re women. Black. White. Asian. Hispanic. Native. Through it all, we stick together.
Therefore my ladies, the goal of this Blog is to teach, inspire and unite all women. To let you all vent your frustrations about living life on the fence. It’s time to make a move. It’s time to GET OFF THE FENCE! It’s time to make up or break up. It’s time to quit your job. It’s time to enroll in medical school. It’s time to come out of the closet. It’s time to speak your truth. It’s time to start LIVING YOUR LIFE!
Why I Love It
Do I need to tell you after just reading their about story? It inspires me to achieve my goals no matter what and Woman on the Fence always gets me thinking in the right direction.
PD is where you can find your latest healthy eating and health news, holistic tips, fitness and yoga tutorials; cruelty-free, feel-good beauty ideas; delicious vegan recipes; eco-friendly style and conscious living tips; and your motivation, inspiration, confidence, and kindness. We could tell you that we’ve accomplished it, but our readers said it best!
Why I Love It
This blog has so many different eliminates to it’s heathy lifestyle message. From sustainable clothes to vegan recipes and an overall positive attitude.
But I’ve been doing my best to effect change through writing, which comes very naturally to me. You have something only you can do so well, and the key is to be the best version of that. Don’t feel tempted to imitate–you can be the most effective if you’re staying true to yourself. -Peaceful Dumpling