September is the month we celebrate "Alliversary" aka the anniversary of the brand. I think of it more of a birthday because I think of this business as a child of mine. When I look back at the 13+ years of my journey, I see the ebb and flow of "good" and "bad" experiences. And as I reflect, I can now see that the "bad" experiences that gave me the biggest gifts.
When I attended Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City, I had my "a-ha" moment . . . The industry standard of clothing design was for 5'8" fit models. We were all trained using the same patterns and the same model forms to create our designs. When I would take my projects home to sew, I would fit them on my short 5'2" frame - and everything would look wrong! That's when I realized that no one in the fashion industry was designing clothing for shorter women like me.
So I decided it was my mission to start a brand for short/petite women. Soon after I graduated in the early 2000's, I began designing a Premium Denim collection. I made my own fit patterns to match my own shorter proportions. I used men's jean sizing (they shop by waist x inseam) as inspiration. I decided to make 3 different inseams - 27", 29" and 31". I worked for over 2 years perfecting my patterns, sourcing fabric and finding a reputable small manufacturer who would be willing to work with me.
Just when it seemed like things were going smoothly, a few set backs appeared. I experience manufacturing errors, first overseas, then in California. Over the course of 3 years, I would work with 5 different manufacturers losing time and money.
At the time, I was devastated. I felt like giving up and was very discouraged by all the debt I was in. But I continued and slowly but surely found small successes. I got my name out there - a feature in Oprah Magazine, being carried by Nordstrom and Von Maur, and so many more "wins." And while I had found a good flow of things, I also couldn't take the brand to the next level. I felt stuck and stagnant. I was burnt out and not able to juggle my home life with my 2 small babies.
It took me years to understand what finding balance meant. To realized that most of my "bad" came about because I wasn't living my truth. I was trying to live up to someone else's standards or expectations. I lived most of my life comparing myself to others, and never finding the moments to celebrate me.
So on this Alliversary, I ask that we all take more time out of our days, out of our lives - to celebrate ourselves. To find those small moments to look yourself in the eyes, and say - "You are a BADASS and I love YOU!"
Through it all, I look back with a heart full of gratitude for all of my experiences. And I am mostly grateful for YOU. All of my friends and customers who have supported me, whether it was from day 1, to right now. I could not and would not have made it this far without you! So for year 13, I wanted to take the time to send a big "THANK YOU" for all of your love and all of your support. I hope you will live into your authentic purpose too!
With love + light,