Sotela The Ongoings of Sotela's founder, Hanna

Hey there, 2020!

We are halfway through the beginning of a new decade and it has been a slow start processing how I want to move forward this year.

Last year was a big one to say the least as we grew and moved into our own space. We transitioned into a made-to-order business and more than doubled our sizing.

There were plenty of wins, but also many mistakes. There were months that kicked my butt and others that were amazing.

Below is a short month-to-month review of 2019 that I posted on Instagram–

Jan: Began searching for a Sotela studio. ⠀
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Feb: The doubts crept in and after a painfully slow month I didn’t know if I could afford a studio and employee. I took a break from searching. ⠀
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March: Worked hard to finalize the Sol collection and launch our inclusive sizing. It was a long and hard month. The mom guilt got me as I spent more time driving/working and less time with family. ⁠⠀
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April: Emma, our summer intern, joined the team. She helped me launch our largest collection that took everything out of me. We hit countless roadblocks and it left me drained.⠀
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May: We signed the lease on our studio, but lost our seamstress. She helped me build Sotela the first three years. However, we decided to do what was best for our families and work near our homes. ⁠⠀
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June: Big month for us as we moved into our studio and hired our first full-time employee, Manuel. ⁠⠀
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July: Launched a mini collection with deadstock fabrics. I’m a convert. ⠀
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August: Hired our winter intern, Michelle, as we said goodbye to Emma. ⠀
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September: ⁠Launched the Vida collection. Doubt crept in again since sales weren’t as great as the Sol collection. ⠀
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October: A super sloooow month that almost broke me. I was stressed, anxious, and didn’t want to do it anymore. With family support, I/we got through it. ⁠⠀
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November:⁠ Our popup at Renegade was amazing and convinced me I need more face-to-face connections. ⠀
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December: After a busy 2 weeks hustling to get holiday orders out, I felt burnt out. Currently resting to recharge for next year. ⠀


I wrote everything out month-by-month because I wanted to see how far we’ve come in a single year. You have to celebrate the wins before moving upward and onward. The above exercise helped me see that anything is possible. At the beginning of the year, I cautiously and almost half-heartedly looked for studios thinking it was impossible. However, we did it within 5 months.

I’m looking to 2020 to achieve a few goals– number one being a salary. I haven’t taken a salary since starting Sotela in 2016. I’ve always been an open book, which is why I don’t have qualms in telling you. It is scary and vulnerable, but I know you will understand.

We also want to build out the community we’ve fostered the past 3.5 years. We plan on doing that by hosting open houses and in-person workshops as well as showroom appointments. Our first open house will be in February, which will be a mix of chatting, drinking, and shopping. Stay tuned for that!!

Along with the two above goals, we have some other things on our minds—

  • An affiliate program for those who post about Sotela on their social media channels
  • Create a more circular business — one option is a buy, sell, and trade Facebook page as well as clothing repair workshops
  • Introduce new fabrics to our core collection (Stella, Ryan, and Lena)
  • 2020 Sotela pop-up tour — we want to travel outside of our LA bubble and visit new cities!
  • Add new zero waste accessories to the site
  • Educational content on the blog/ IG
  • Expand our content — leaving this one super vague because we aren’t 100% sure what that looks like, ha!

Looking forward to this year and all that it will bring. We couldn’t be more grateful for your support.

xo,

Hanna

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