About Growing a Small Business

About Growing a Small Business

IONA Clothing Line Drawings

December 5, 2020

Our little company has big plans! First off, there are some goals to work towards.

I relocated to North Carolina in February of 2020, expecting to dive right into sourcing materials and partners locally - only to have the pandemic hit as soon as my kid was settled into his new school. The result was a pivot back to working with what I know and can get my hands on - so for our first year in business our production is being handled by friends in Los Angeles and at our Hillsborough, NC studio. My first goal when restrictions lighten is to start talking to folks here in NC to locate a cut & sew facility that we can partner with.

Finding a local source for our knit fabric was fortunately something that happened before everything went sideways. So that's one goal already reached - using organic knits milled in NC and the US from cotton grown in Texas. Next up is finding a US source for our woven fabrics.

Fitting every body is the dream for most clothing companies. Many small designers have started to be more open about how offering more of a selection drives their costs up, and at the same time are recognizing that this is a legitimate expense that will pay off in the long run. I'll be starting out with sizes S - 3X, with plans to expand into XS and 4X after our first year.

Currently, I am a size XL, I'm 5' 3" tall, short-waisted and hourglass shaped: 43"/35"/46". Out of necessity I have been fitting on my own body (and my trusty size L mannequin, Fiona) for this first collection. That means that if you are taller than 5' 7" or so, some items might be too short for you, and if you have less of a chest/waist/hip differential some items might be too curvy for you. All garment measurements are listed on each item page to help you make your choice, and we offer exchange for size on all our garments. Developing each appropriate item with specific fits for different body types and offering a Tall option that adds length are two more goals we are working towards.

We believe that all companies moving forward should address environmental impact and inclusion. We are being asked, as a generation, to examine old systems and to replace outmoded and harmful beliefs with a global world view that supports our planet and all the people on it. I commit to making the most environmentally sound decisions possible, and to keeping up to date with developments in the sustainable living movement.

During this pandemic, I have been organizing photoshoots with my dress form as opposed to live models, but moving forward I am excited to have real people of all shapes, sizes and colors model my designs. Representation is crucial and where our dollars go makes a big difference. Therefore, I am invested in supporting those that fight daily for equal rights and justice with my personal actions and donations, and am going to grow this business to where it can support sharing profits with organizations that uphold these values.

One of the issues with producing clothing in this country is that when a designer wants to make fewer items (to avoid overproduction), the cost per item goes up. This makes sense - cut & sew operations make their money with volume. But overall this way of production has contributed to massive pollution, overconsumption and violations of human rights - definitely things we don't want to support. A long term goal is establishing our own in-house cut & sew operation so we can assure good working conditions, fair pay and production at a volume that works for our business, our customers and our planet.