Thursday, April 3, 2014

What's Up | The Story Behind Fresh Apparel

Hey y'all! I'm not ready to launch just quite yet, but I thought it would be fun to keep y'all in the loop of things to come. You may have noticed my hints of business meetings and whispers of being consumed with a project-- well, that project is "Fresh Apparel Denim Company"! (!!!)


Here's the story, from the beginning. 

February 2012: I created the "Dark Denim Wide Waistband Skirt" because I was wanting a classy denim skirt. I of course blogged about it here on Fresh Modesty and on my almost-forgotten sewing blog, Eager Hands. It became instantly popular on Pinterest and I received a ton of positive response. More than praise, however, I got a request: "MAKE ME ONE!!" or, "Tell me how to sew one!" 

December 2012: I released, "How To Sew Denim: A Step-by-step Guide to Creating Wide Waistband Denim Skirts", a 72-page eBook that teaches you how to sew a custom skirt for yourself. I wanted others to be able to enjoy this skirt, but I didn't have the time to be sewing them for other people. I renamed the "Dark Denim Wide Waistband Skirt" the "Errand #17" for space's sake. ;) 

2013: I continued creating denim skirts for myself and sharing them with my readers, who began to exponentially grow after a few plugs by popular internet content creators on Facebook. Requests to sew for others who did not have the skills continued to stream into my inbox and I would be sad I couldn't help provide them with modest clothing as I turned each one down, knowing I'd have to charge over $180/ skirt because of the time it takes me to make one. 

October 2013: I read Empowered Traditionalist's blog posts about starting a clothing line and realized, "Hey, it doesn't take $100,000 to launch a clothing business!" Also around that time my friend Jordan Taylor had a very successful Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for his new album and my wheels began turning. 

February 2014: After going through a rough season of health, more than ever I realized, "I have one life. What's holding me back from pursuing my dreams?" So, we had a family meeting about it and all agreed this was something I should go for. I began googling my fingers off, reading "Fashion for Profit" books, and looking for a manufacturer. My first couple weeks of research proved pretty useless-- I started to get discouraged and almost gave up, until one night I just googled something one. more. time. and all of a sudden link after link appeared and I stayed up until 3 am emailing companies and writing down information and praying it would turn into something. Over the next few weeks I heard back from manufacturers, got denim pricing information, and ordered myself a day planner to keep it all organized. 

March 2014: I met with two manufacturers and got labor estimates from them. I received denim samples in the mail and registered a domain name. I researched buttons and labels and hired a logo designer. I've spent hours doing calculations over and over, seeing where I could shave costs here or possibly do better there. I've been bleeding coffee as I try to manage all this on top of still helping around the house and blogging and launching Bell Tower Boutique and going to Florida for a weekend.

Now: I took a day trip to Bristol, TN (6 hours from my house) to meet with a manufacturer there on Monday and decided that's the company I'll go with. Currently, I'm waiting for my pattern to finish being perfected by a pattern maker, then I'll send that to the manufacturer so they can make a sample and make sure I love how it turns out.



What to expect: In the next 2-3 weeks I will be launching a Kickstarter campaign to raise the initial capital needed to run the first line of production for the Errand #17 skirt. If you're not familiar with Kickstarter, here's how their website explains how it works: "Project creators set a funding goal and deadline. If people like a project, they can pledge money to make it happen. Funding on Kickstarter is all-or-nothing — projects must reach their funding goals to receive any money. "

I'm not just asking for hand-outs, though. Kickstarter is awesome in that I can offer "rewards" if y'all pledge certain amounts. Essentially, I'll be "selling" the skirts before they are put into production. This way, I won't have to go into debt to start Fresh Apparel. I'll also be rewarding t-shirts for backers who want to help get me going, but may not be able to afford a skirt. I won't claim they're going to be cheap (at least by my standards. Made in the USA, wot!), but they will be worth it. And if I don't make my goal, y'all aren't out any money and I don't start the business, simple as that. :)

If everything pans out as planned, I will also be making other skirt styles available from Fresh Apparel. I thought it wise to start small, though. And because of that, there will be a limited number of skirts available as rewards on Kickstarter, so once it launches, don't hesitate. 

My success depends on you-- my friends and readers. Let's keep this a secret for now, but once I launch the Kickstarter, I'm going to need y'all to get on your best sharing shoes and tell every skirt-wearing person you know about it! It's been an awesome project for me so far and I'm ridiculously excited to be able to offer this to y'all. 

Thanks for letting me share! I hope that satisfies your curiosity! Please feel free to ask any questions and I will try to answer them! Love y'all so much. 



68 comments :

  1. So. Excited. :D
    Congratulations!

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  2. Congratulations, Olivia! I am SO insanely happy for you! I truly hope I will be able to help you out on your goal and mission, but once you start making skirts- I. Want. One. I always admired you for your ability and eagerness to make your own clothing, and I am so ecstatic that you are attempting to make a business out of it! I will keep you and your goal in my prayers. Who knows? You might start one of the greatest denim skirt business out there! <3

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  3. I hope you're able to start Fresh Apparel! I'm so excited for you! :)

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  4. I am soooo excited for this!!!!

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  5. Soooo excited for you! Will definitely be supporting you on kick starter!!!

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  6. That is awesome! I will give as I can. :)

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  7. Oh, Olivia!

    I am so, so THRILLED for you in this! What a wonderful blessing! I also want to take some time to thank you. I am positive that this has not been an easy journey... I am guessing that you have put in MUCH prayer, time, and energy into this goal. The fact that you are ultimately doing this, one: to glorify the Lord, and two, to help all the sisters in Him who are striving to glorify Him says SO. MUCH. about your heart and character. I want to encourage you in this! You have my support, especially in prayer. Thank you for your outpouring of Christlike love to all of us readers. You are such a big blessing. You have blessed my own life, with practical yet beautiful examples of how to take confident dominion over my outward self by being creative in how I clothe myself. And several of your sermon posts have blessed my spiritual life, as well. All of this to say: THANK YOU! Your efforts are appreciated! And I know God is smiling. :-)
    Alison

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    1. Alison, thank you SO much for this comment. I am so humbled. I really truly would not be here without my absolutely amazing readers and it is as much a blessing to me to serve in this way as I pray that y'all are blessed by it. You have no idea how much I appreciate your prayers. Thank you. Blessings!

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  8. Oh this is SO awesome!!!!!! I just saw your skirt for the first time in your blog challenge today, and I saw the skirt and fell in love with it! Maybe this is a silly question, but would the "professional" pattern be release for purchase too? If not I hope to get your ebook someday OR be able to purchase it! :D

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    1. Not a silly question at all! The person drawing up the professional pattern is only doing one size for me, so I'm not sure it'd be much help to you. However, the eBook has the pattern in it already with directions on how to size it correctly for your body. It's really quite simple, especially if you're doing the sailor skirt, which most of the directions for are on the blog post about it on Eager Hands: http://workingwitheagerhands.blogspot.com/2013/01/long-sailor-skirt.html
      Hope that answers your question! If you do decide you want to purchase the ebook, enter "denim" at checkout and it'll give you a few bucks off. :) Blessings!

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  9. Fantastic news! So exciting, and very much looking forward to more info about the kickstarter!

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  10. I will buy and I am so happy with this! I'm from Brazil! \o/

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  11. How awesome for you, Olivia! I'm so excited for you!
    Natasha
    A modest fashion blog: www.natashaatkerson.blogspot.com

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  12. Hey, let me know when you're accepting backers.

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  13. I am very happy for you!!! I also support girls who try to make modesty fashionable!!! I'll try to buy a skirt and pass the word around to every single girl I know that supports modesty. Brianna

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  14. This is fantastic, Olivia! I picked up on bits and pieces of this and was actually telling my Mom about it this afternoon. I was rather excited, as I love your skirts (even made the Errand #17 with some help), I just don't have a lot of experience with sewing. So this is really something I'm looking forward to! Please post when you get Kickstarter going! Very happy for you! :)

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  15. Oh, how awesome!!! I will be sure to share with my readers and any friends I can think of once you give us the green light! :)

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  16. I love the Errand #17 skirt! I would love to get one for myself!

    Kathryn B.

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  17. Congratulations! Thank you for being such an inspiration as a young woman who serves family and home while working with her hands and 'planting a vineyard' (Proverbs 31:16)

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  18. Olivia, this is absolutely amazing!!! I am so, so happy and excited that it's working out for you!! I will definitely share your Kickstarter with all my skirt-loving friends once it launches. Ahhh, this is just the best! You and your business are in my prayers.

    Also, thank you so much for taking the time to explain this to us all. Now you have our support even more!

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  19. Wow!!! That is so exciting, Olivia! I hope it works out for you and that you meet your goal! I'll be praying for you! :)

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  20. Wow!! I'm so excited for this!! I am absolutely participating!! My husband just completed a kickstarter canpaign and it got his business off the ground, so I am all for supporting others! Especially with skirts!! My friends and I wear them 120% of the time, no pants (except pajamas), so I'll be passing it along once the campaign is up!

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    1. That's so awesome y'all got funded! Thank you so much for your support!

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  21. YaY!!!!! I am so excited! So happy for you and I will pray all goes well with the start up and costs! Do you think you will be doing the Destination skirt next? I would love to buy that one as well as it is so hard to find shorter skirts that are not too short!

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    1. I'll be doing either the Destination Skirt or the Sailor Skirt (one I wore yesterday) next, but I'm definitely leaning towards the Destination. :D

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    2. Great! So excited for you!

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    3. Just weighing in...Destination skirt! :)

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  22. Oh my goodness this is so amazing! AHHHH! I do hope it works out :) That's so awesome that your pursuing your dreams like this- and I'm just super excited because I've been looking for a good denim skirt line! I will sure be happy to share about your line once it's time too.

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  23. Have you figured a price for your skirts? Will the manufacturer be making your swimsuits as well?

    Moriah

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    1. Yes, I'm just not sure I want to reveal it until I have the costs 100% sure, which won't be until the kickstarter launches. I am planning on offering the kickstarter reward skirt at a little bit of a smaller pledge than the skirt will sell for after the kickstarter, if that makes sense. I hope to one day do swimsuits, but I will have to find a totally different manufacturer (this one only does denim). :)

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    2. Thanks, hopefully this is the Lord's will for you to do this!

      Moriah

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  24. This is simply wonderful! Being able to witness this venture of yours, feel your excitement and help your dream come true......blessings all the way around! Kathy

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  25. Eek! I'm so excited! I can't wait! I love denim skirts, but it's so hard to find ones that don't scream "homeschooler!!" These are awesome, and I can't wait! :)

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  26. Best of luck to you, Olivia! If it's God's will, it'll happen!

    -Abigail of happysnappingphotography.wordpress.com

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  27. Wow, sounds really exciting (and a little overwhelming!) I'm glad you've found a US manufacturer. I'm always willing to pay more for clothing that's made under decent circumstances.

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  28. Wow, soooo excited for you, Olivia! I'll definitely be praying that if it's God's will that everything works out better than you thought it would :) God bless!

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  29. Olivia, What a blessing you are. Your intelligence and drive are gifts from God, and you are so sweet and focused on the journey you are traveling. What a precious treasure you are to me -- your Da. I will be right in there with my money but you will have to guide me on how to go about it all. Where do I send it? How much? etc. I can hardly wait! God bless you. Olivia's grandma, DA

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  30. Hi Olivia,
    I've been reading your blog for about a year now, and never left a comment. I want to thank you for sharing your passion for clothing and your passion for the Lord, putting them together in a unique but simple way.

    I do want to ask if your line will have large sizes of skirts available? It is so hard to find larger skirt that look nice and not frumpy. It would be a blessing if you could offer that too!

    (sorry if I sent multiple comments; it was saying they weren't sending...)

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    1. Hello! Thank you for commenting! I'm hoping to eventually offer larger sizes, yes. I just thought for starting out I better stick with the more popular sizes. I've had a lot of requests for the large sizes so hopefully that'll be in the works sooner rather than later. :)

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  31. I'm so happy for you Olivia!
    ~Grace

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  32. yaayyyyy!! This is so exciting!!! That skirt is so beautiful and I'll look forward to the Kickstarter campaign. Also, I totally love that outfit at the top of the page. I know it's an "old" one, but it's so lovely. Pinning now. :)

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  33. Aw that is so awesome! I'll keep this project in my prayers:) It is, after all, His project:D Blessings on this new adventure in your life:)
    Bubbles and blessings,
    Erica

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  34. This is amazing Oliva! Really! I was just telling my Mom about your adventures...
    This is every sewing designers dream! hah Your living the dream girl! :)

    Count me in on anything that comes up- being part of the Kickstarter or just spreading the word through my blog!
    Oh- and I am so happy with the name! I have been thinking about it like crazy!

    Cassie

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  35. I am so excited for you Olivia! You're living my dream! :)
    I can't wait for the kickstarter to get started! I will definitely be sharing away!

    Brigid
    the Middle Sister and Singer

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  36. Oh, wow. I love this story. I like that your skirts are so long, most long skirts in stores hit at the awkward just above the ankle.

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  37. Congratulations, Olivia! May the Lord bless you in your endeavors! I pray that this will succeed as it will help many young ladies who are not gifted in sewing to be able to wear modest, feminine clothing. 1 John 5:14-15

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  38. So cool! I have long admired your skirts but lack the sewing ability to attempt making one. Will you be offering plus sizes?

    ~Jenny

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  39. WOW! This is awesome! I admire you! That is certainly not a small task at all! I would love to support you (as I am a young entrepreneur myself)! I really cannot wait to tell all my skirt-wearin' friends this...they will be thrilled. Thank you so much for inspiring young women to actually do something, myself included. Modesty can be a stuggle in today's society, and I must say, your posts have been what has fueled me to continue on (as well as the Lord)! I am so happy for you, and connot wait to see this business take off. I have learned not to limit the Lord...His plans turn out to be so much better than my own. When He leads, it always turns out great! Continue on!! SO excited!!! :)

    -Mali

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  40. That's so great Olivia! I'm so happy for you! I'll be sure to share!

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  41. So awesome! Congrats! Will you be shipping to Europe?
    Sinah

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  42. Amazing, exciting, inspiring, all of these and more. Just. Wow. I hope you sell a million :)

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  43. This is amazing that you are able to do this! I will do everything I can to help you out. Most of all I will be praying that everything works out well. May God bless you!

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  44. This is so exciting, Olivia! Blessings as you dive into the next steps of this new adventure :) I've always loved that deep denim skirt in the first pic and am grateful for the diligent work you're doing to make it available to others. A huge blessing!

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  45. That's an adorable denim skirt with the white buttons!!

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  46. Wow! That's a great idea that you have with the skirts! I'm so excited for this company too launch! I just wanted to say what an inspiration you are to young women out there whoop also want to use their talents, this type of thing gives them confidence to move forward. I wanted to also say that after watching a few of your videos (along with some other ladies) I have changed my thoughts on how exactly I viewed modesty, and I now am dressing in a whole new light. I can't wait for more videos and blogs. Good bless you

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  47. I am a 'newb' here, but I am already thrilled that you are going to have a company of your own because I definitely want to be able to purchase some of your work! :D

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  48. Yeah!!!!! I've followed your blog for a couple of years, and have always been in awe about how beautiful your skirts are:-) I live in denim (quite literally!), and I'll hopefully be able to get one of yours in the future.... I can't say how happy I am for you! You will be in my prayers, and good luck! It is so hard to find good company's online that sell well-made, usable, modest clothing, and I want to thank you so much for agreeing to open Fresh Apparel: I most grateful, and I'm sure there are many other people thinking the same thing! With all the luck and prayers in the world,
    ~Caroline (from that wonderful farm country in WI)

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  49. Hoping you offer plus sized skirts as well :)

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  50. Good for you Olivia! Thanks so much for doing this. I am going to start saving up. God bless ;)

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  51. When will you figure out the prices? Just wondering (wink)!

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    1. I think they'll be about $68 for an Errand #17, available late fall. :)

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