Finding clothing to easily breastfeed in sucked. The nursing wear avialable all made me feel like Peppa Pig's ugly sidekick. My personal style is anything which makes me feel kickass and shapeless pastel knit dresses are anything but.
After the birth of my secod child, I knew I couldn't spend another two to three years wearing frumpy knit dresses and nursing tanks tops. I was just learning to sew at the time so I made a dress for myself with zippers along the bust. Everywhere I went people loved the dress and would ask if I made them to sell. After having this interaction for the fifth or sixth time, I thought, shit I need to get on this.
I was suffering from postpartum depression after the birth of my son. I lost my job when I was pregnant with my first child. The economy was in the crapper and no one was hiring at all especially not a pregnant woman. In two years, I went from living the cool kid city life to being a stay at home mom to two children, both under the age of 2. I loved being a mom, but I felt like I had disappeared as a person. I was suffering from post partum depression and I knew I needed something, a project to help me out of my pit. What better thing then starting a fashion line? There was only one small little problem...
I had no background in fashion and absolutely no idea how to design clothing. But I knew new Moms needed more stylish options which allowed them to breastfeed easily and maintain their identity. I remember having a conversation with a friend around that time saying, I think I'm going to start a clothing line. She responded by saying that I barely knew how to sew. And my answer was like, well, I'll just try to figure it out and see where this goes. I went for it.
I would watch youtube videos to learn how to install zippers and I picked up fashion design from watching episodes of project runway. I would watch the designers using tape to mark off the stylelines on the dressforms and then go on google and do searches for "project runway skinny red tape for dressform." It was a long slow journey. Ha!
My son was collicky and couldn't be put down. I would have to hold him all the time, so I was working with him strapped to my back bouncing while at the sewing machine learning through endless trial and error of basic pattern making. At the time, it felt like I had NO IDEA what I was doing, but over the course of a year or two, I got a couple designs together and I was able to move onto the next step: figure out how to launch a fashion line.
I'm learning the fashion business, marketing and sales through trial by fire real life experience experiences as well. Many fashion designers hire fashion consultants to take care of the production aspect of the business, arranging all the sourcing, production and marketing for the designer. I did not have the budget to get this sort of help, but I was able scrape together the funds to work with Sitch Method, this awesome fashion consultant team in Chicago. Stitch method was able to coach me through my first production run and help show me the ropes of sourcing and local manufacturing options, and then I've taken it from there.
There were many times I almost changed my mind about launching Leche Libre coming up with various fears or concerns which seemed insurmountable. But in the end, I stayed true with not listening to fear and I'm going for it. I always focus on my goal. I may not know the exact way to get there but by putting one step in front of the other, I always find my way. It takes a lot of guts to look inside yourself and own your inner value even in the face of great uncertainty. However, its ALWAYS worth it.
What started as a craft project to help get me out of my postpartum depression has turned into a real business with professionally produced garments created for a very important emerging market in the fashion industry.