“Hey, are you waiting for a flood?” was a question I would get asked quite often when I was in school. For as long as I can remember, I was always the tallest girl in class. I never seemed to fit in and my clothes never seemed to fit right. It didn’t help that we didn’t have enough money for me to even try to find nicer clothes, let alone tall fashion. Despite all of this, I always enjoyed fashion I just didn’t feel like I knew how to apply it to myself.
Then came college. By then, I was tired of the struggles I had finding clothes that fit and I wanted to have my own a store that sold only clothing for tall women. I didn’t know of any stores like that. The only option I knew that sold tall clothing back then was JCPenney’s catalogue and there was no way that those clothes appealed to a college student. When I took my marketing class, I did my marketing plan on opening an online store for tall women. This is back in 1997. This was just the beginning of eCommerce and Amazon was just starting out online, only selling books at the time. I had no idea how it would work exactly or how to find customers. I had so much fun putting together the plan, it was something I really wanted to do. However, I had no idea how to execute it nor did I have any capital to move forward with it. Fast forward 18 years later and it’s still something I think about.
In the spring of this year, I wanted to find a nice leather moto jacket for tall women. I kept searching on the internet trying to find the jacket that I wanted it but I would find either a jacket that was made of cheap material and that looked like it was made for a sixteen-year-old or I just couldn’t find one that fit my arm length. Frustrated and annoyed, I really started thinking that the perfect solution would just be to design my own jacket. It would be the perfect fit and be made of the quality material that I was looking for.
Shortly before that, I had a similar experience trying to find a nice trench coat. I finally found one that came in tall from Banana Republic. I thought for sure that it would be a good buy. However, when I received it, I found that the material seemed too hard and stiff. The proportions and fit were completely off. I ended up keeping it. Not because I was 100% happy with my purchase but more out of desperation. It is still sitting in my closet with the tags on and every time I look at it I just feel sad that I wasted my money on it.
Britt Robertson as Sophia Amoruso. Photo: Karen Ballard/Netflix
In May 2017, I was really rethinking this business idea due to all my recent struggles and then I started watching “Girlboss” on Netflix. For those unfamiliar with this series, it tells the story of how Sophia Amoruso started the company Nasty Gal. Watching this show about this young female following her passion made me feel so inspired! I thought to myself, “This is my time to start my business and it is now or never!”After that, I started researching on the market and how to start a fashion brand. Every free moment I had, I kept pouring all my energy into this idea. At first, I had no clue where to begin. Then I started finding resources such as Maker’s Row and from there I kept finding more and more resources. My idea started to feel like a reality and I thought “Oh shit! I can actually do this!”
It would be so easy for me to just start this business if it was just me with plenty of time and capital. Unfortunately, that is not my reality. I am a wife and mother of two sons who are eleven and thirteen years of age. I am a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), working full-time as an accounting manager for a fast-growing cosmetics company. Oh yeah, and my husband has been a full-time stay-at-home dad since my youngest son was born. “How the heck can I do all of this?” Part of me thought that I was crazy. Another part thought that I needed to put the thought out my mind and keep doing what I have been doing. However, I kept going back to the fact that I wasn’t getting any younger – asking myself what would be worse twenty years from now: Looking back and wondering what would have happened if I tried or at least trying regardless if I was successful or not? I know for certain that I don’t want to have those regrets later in life.
One Saturday afternoon, I sat down with my husband and I talked to him about this idea and how serious I was about moving forward with it. It wasn’t necessarily the first time he heard of my idea because I would talk about it a little here and there but not on a serious level. He did express how concerned he was about spending our savings on this new venture and thought it was just too risky. Feeling isolated and unsupported, I just started crying because I thought he would be very supportive so I wasn’t expecting this to be my first hurdle in my new journey.
Still determined, I wasn’t ready to give up yet. I thought to myself, “I only have two options at this point. I either work hard and convince him that I can do this. Or I divorce him.” Well the second really wasn’t an option because I didn’t want to end our marriage over this so I knew I only really had one option. However, he began to see how important this was to me and how much it meant to me after we had more serious conversations together. I finally won his support and I felt like I was on top of the world!
Now with limited capital, I knew I couldn’t change fashion for all tall women overnight so I wanted to concentrate in more of a niche market. Being a tall professional woman, I felt like I have always struggled the most with finding appropriate clothing for work. My research showed I wasn’t the only one who struggled here so I plan to focus on this market and start with only jackets and outerwear.
Right now, I have that feeling when you are standing in line to get on a huge roller coaster that you never been on before. You are filled with fear, excitement and anxiety all at the same time. With thousands of butterflies fluttering around in your stomach. You know there will be a huge drop at first and then many ups and downs as you go. You have to decide if you will keep your eyes open or closed. Well, here I go getting on this roller coaster and I will ride it all the way with my eyes wide open.
I can only give it my best from here!
If you would like to join me on this journey, stay tuned as I’ll be sharing my journey here and please click here to subscribe so I can let you know when I’m ready to launch or follow me on Facebook or Instagram. Thanks. Lori x