Sotela’s Origin Story

Engagement pic2

Wearing a jacket my dad made

In order to tell Sotela’s origin story, I have to go back to October 1989 when a girl named Hanna was born. Just kidding, but not really. Ever since I was little, I knew I would have a business of my own. My mom and dad were entrepreneurs who sold leather jackets (like the photo above), cowboy boots, hats and belts. I loved seeing his creations and the process that went into sourcing fabric and notions. While he made products to sell, I made leather dolls out of scraps.

In high school and college, I never had an answer for the, “what do you want to be when you grow up?” question. I knew I wanted to help people, which is vague, but that was all I really knew other than wanting a business.

After graduating college, I went to the University of California Irvine to get my masters in Urban Planning. What’s urban planning you ask? Well, it is a process that considers land uses and various infrastructures like transportation. When I applied for the program, I thought it would be a great field to get into because I wanted to help people with how their cities were planned to make them more efficient. It took less than a year before I realized the program wasn’t for me. However, I continued because I was almost half way done and got my masters in 2013.

Several months after graduation, I got a full-time job as a transportation planner at the organization I had been interning during grad school. Three months into my job, I craved a creative outlet that my job wasn’t fulfilling so I started Gold Polka Dots. As a lot of you know, Gold Polka Dots was the catalyst for learning more about ethical fashion and living an eco-conscious life.

To say my life did a 180 is an understatement. I came across new ethical fashion brands every day and saw opportunities for more, especially with clothing that is timeless and versatile.  Why not buy clothes that you know will fit after 5 years or even 10 years? We contribute enough to landfills by constantly throwing away clothes that don’t fit anymore. Let’s change that by buying things we know we’ll love and will look good regardless of what stage we are in life.

Sotela is the business I’ve always wanted, doing what I always set out to do, help people.

“Clothing is ultimately the suit of armor in which we battle the world.” – Sophia Amoruso, #GIRLBOSS

Helping you battle the world with one great outfit at a time. Sotela will be launching Spring 2016! Sign up to get weekly newsletters about ethical fashion, Sotela’s design process and the behind the scenes of a fashion start-up!

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