Behind the Scenes Sotela The Ongoings of Sotela's founder, Hanna

Dreams Coming True

Three years ago when I started Sotela, I dreamt of having my own studio where we’d design, cut, and sew under one roof. It felt too lofty of a dream for the first two years until it didn’t. Towards the end of 2018, I realized I had been selling myself and Sotela short.

Up until that point, I had treated Sotela as a side ‘gig’ because I don’t think I fully believed in myself. I may have been too scared to go all in because the idea of failure was too much.

Once Olivia turned one, I started feeling more confident in my designs and business decisions. It may have been motherhood that brought up a dormant side of me, or time, but I started feeling like I could do this and more.

In January, I took to Instagram to tell everyone that this would be the year I have my own studio and a full-time employee. Saying it aloud made it feel more real and possible. I started working harder than ever before and saw Sotela’s growth.

Five months later, and we have our own studio! I found my dream space (concrete floors, exposed ceiling/bricks, and tons of natural light) in El Monte, which is 15 miles east of downtown Los Angeles. It’s only 10 miles away from home, which is amazing considering I usually have to drive over an hour to get anywhere.

I’ve had an intern the past two months and it has been a LIFE CHANGER. Her name is Emma and she is from Finland! She started in April and is here until mid-August. I don’t even know how I did life without her before, but it’s going to be difficult once she is gone.

Our full-time dressmaker, Manuel (picture to come soon!), is amazing. He’s very meticulous and pays attention to detail. He started last week once we moved in and is slowly getting into a nice rhythm. We are still settling into the new space, but hopefully will have furniture by the end of the month.

These past 3 months have been exhilarating, exhausting, and surreal. With our biggest launch to moving into a studio, it’s been nothing short of amazing. I don’t think I could’ve imagined how much we would grow in such a short time– and honestly, it’s all because of you. Thank you for challenging me, questioning me, and pushing me to better serve you.

I’m truly lucky to have you. Can’t wait to see what the future holds for us.



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