In an attempt to be fully transparent, I shared the process behind our efforts to expand our size offering. I wanted to explain why it has taken longer than expected to accomplish and what I’ve learned along the way. However, I didn’t fully realize how my language could have been hurtful, and for that I’m deeply sorry.
Since launching Sotela in 2016, I’ve maintained an open door policy with you, our loyal customers. Through our Everyday Woman blog and social media channels, I’ve maintained a level of transparency in everything we do. Not too long ago, I analyzed our costs and compared the Amalfi dress to a similar garment from Madewell because I wanted to show the difference in pricing for a small brand. In my opinion, sharing the behind-the-scenes humanizes the process and provides a perspective you wouldn’t have otherwise seen before. I believe everyone benefits from a company’s transparency.
In my quest to continue sharing everything, I illuminated the process of adding more sizes to Sotela’s offering. The article began with a critical explanation of another small business who uses the “it costs too much” justification for adding more sizes. By sharing our costs for both the predevelopment of sizes 0-4 and estimated sizes 5-8, I wanted to show it isn’t really all that costly. In fact, I was surprised to realize that it is affordable to expand the line and a worthwhile investment given that it allows me to reach a much wider spectrum of the Sotela Everyday Woman. That has been and always will be my goal.
I included our costs with the hopes of demonstrating that adding more sizes is possible and can be, maybe even should be, achieved by all brands. However, I now see that it could have been understood or read differently, and for that, I apologize.
I’d like to address some of the comments we received on Instagram over the weekend:
Why can’t Sotela’s base size start at an XL and be graded up 3 sizes and down 3 sizes?
This was a really great question and helpful suggestion. There are two reasons why I can’t change our base size. Firstly, I use my body to create patterns and fit all of our samples. I am a size 1 and use clothing from my closet to create patterns. If I like how a sleeve from a shirt fits, I use it for a dress, etc. I prefer to see how samples fit on my body in order to make necessary adjustments. Using myself as the fit model allows me to work more quickly, adjust as needed, and be more flexible when making patterns rather than hiring someone each time I wanted to make modifications. Secondly, I use those samples to wear test all of our pieces. Through having the ability to create patterns and then wear them myself, I can create better products for you since I am my own pickiest customer. If I were any other size, I would have still used myself to create our base size for both of these reasons.
I’ve created clothing and have been able to grade up from a size 0-28. Why can’t you do the same?
I originally thought I could! My pattern maker and grader were the ones who dissuaded me from doing so because the proportions would be wrong. Fit is very important to me so I wanted to make sure I did it the way they suggested. I’m constantly looking for ways to improve fit while also be efficient. I do not want to sacrifice the quality of the product for an easier step in the production process!
Your size 0 is still too large
We make adjustments and revisions to all of our sizes before we launch a new collection based on customer feedback. We are more than happy to make changes if there are several customers who have the same concerns!
Adding more sizes is an investment and not financially burdensome
I wholeheartedly agree, which I intended to convey in my original article. I believe adding more sizes is necessary and not only an investment in our future, but an investment in our community and values. I apologize for not doing it sooner because you should have been included from the beginning, and not just an afterthought. You are beautiful and whole just as you are and I’m sorry this industry has made you feel otherwise. I
With the help of our pattern maker and grader, I feel confident in expanding our size offering. Prior to hiring our two contractors, my seamstress who does all of the cutting and sewing, also made our patterns and graded by hand. Expanding our sizing never seemed possible before because we didn’t have the time or help to do so with our capacities while keeping to our values.
I want to reiterate that I created Sotela as a body-positive brand here to serve YOU. I would never want you to feel unworthy of our clothing because we were born out of the need to fit all women. With every collection, I’m aiming to make strides towards a brand that makes you feel celebrated exactly as you are. If you have further questions, thoughts, or comments, I am always here to listen This brand was created for you, and I am honored to have you shape it along the way.