Softwear makes sustainable, 100% US-made, and affordable basics that will keep you cozy and comfortable no matter where you are. We created a fabric that is so soft and buttery, we equate it to wearing a cloud (but with more flattering lines). We had dozens of fittings, restarts, and recuts to ensure we provide the essentials our customer needs, the comfort they want, and the accountability our planet deserves. That’s Softwear!
I stay motivated by… remaining humble. My mama taught us that staying humble will always get us further. I never think I am ‘there’ or ‘finished’ because I always strive to be and do better. It’s a perpetual motivation when you realize you can always evolve and grow.
Three adjectives that describe me are… driven, stubborn, and quirky
If I could have dinner with one person (dead or alive) it would be… ohhh tough one! Id say Freddie Mercury. I’ve been a Queen fan since I was a kid and I don’t think there is anyone Id rather get to know and hear their story from than him!
The most exciting innovation to me is… The advancements made in the fashion industry. We’ve moved past recycled cotton and now are able to convert recycled beech wood into a fabric using no toxic chemicals, no electricity, and reduce water usage by thousands of gallons per load, THAT is innovation!
What motivated you to become an entrepreneur? Is having your own business something you always wanted?
I always knew I wanted to create my own team and run an authentic and passionate operation. I often hear stories of people grunting before walking into the office or ‘living for the weekend’ and that always makes me incredibly sad. I want to grow a company that others WANT to be part of and see the vision we have.
What were you doing before this? How did it prepare you for the entrepreneurial life?
I started out in sales, and every time I took a job I was happy for a few weeks and quickly came to realize why the person before me left. I’ve butted heads with every one of my bosses, because they wanted me to push paper and not think outside of the box. I just couldn’t handle that. Last summer my mom got sick and my employer told me if I went to see her in the hospital it would be job abandonment and they would not allow me back. I told them to f**k off and walked out. Meanwhile, I’d kept hearing clients and buyers say the same thing: they want something high-quality, responsibly produced, and ultimately affordable. I started Softwear the day after my mom’s successful surgery. Every job showed me the holes and errors in the companies I worked for and allowed me to hone in on exactly what I wanted to offer and what I wanted to bring into the market.
What do you think is the biggest obstacle for female founders? How can we overcome it?
Rarely are we taken seriously. I have had more meetings than I can count where the buyer (who is male) will speak to everyone but me. I’m often told I’m being ‘emotional’ or ‘girly’ when I speak up and demand what I want and believe in for my company. Ultimately the only way we can overcome it is to stand our ground and demand to be taken seriously. We can’t force others to see us differently but we can act in a way we want to be treated and accept nothing less.
How do you generate new ideas to stay relevant in the market? Is it important to innovate in your space?
I listen to the consumer and watch their behavior very closely. For years I heard clients tell me they had a need that the brands just weren’t satisfying. Often I am told softwear ‘needs more’ or is ‘too simple’ and I usually smile and politely walk away. Instagram and influencers make us think we want or need something new and different each day, but ultimately what do we reach for every day? Something cozy, comfy, and simple that we can wear anytime. More often than not I will reach for a plain black Tee or sweater versus the cut-out, mesh, screen-printed, overly designed garment I splurged on just for it to sit in my closet. We’re a different generation and demographic these days—more of a psychographic, really, because what binds us is our beliefs and ethics—and it’s time we start producing what people actually want.
What are some pros and cons of having (OR not having) entrepreneurial parents?
Growing up I watched my father start new businesses and run them the way he wanted. He came to America with $20 in his pocket and created a life for himself and our family. My mother was a housewife and gave up her studies and career to have three awesome kids. Watching my father create what he wanted to create was inspiring to me. He has always had a work ethic unlike any I have seen and he taught us all how to work hard and never give up. Watching my mother not have her own income and be dependent on a man made me want to be self-sufficient even more. I have always known, the only way to get it would to create it for myself, much like my father did.