We've Listened To The Wrong People
When we started this journey of starting a clothing line, almost every person told us there were no skilled workers in producing a button-up shirt in Minnesota and no one had the right machines to do so. Unfortunately, we listened to them. We went all over the states from Texas to Michigan and eventually, Massachusetts. What did I learn? No one cares about your product as much as you do.
The process is easy, right? Find a manufacturer, tell them what you want, and they deliver. Everyone does their part and you have a business! Wrong. They send your first sample and you second guess your decision to start a clothing line. Finally, you get the quality of fabric right but now you have to wait another month because it abrupts their production schedule. Oh wait, you forgot the buttons, trims, and labels. What about packaging? How do we ship this thing? What does shipping cost!
Taking A Pause
For a moment, we were spiraling out of control. I, Souphak, felt the need to go fast and partly because money was running out. I guess when your mentors tell you this will be a long journey, this is what they meant. A-long-dragged-out journey where the thrill gets sucked out of you once you're told to slow down. To be frank, it was rather hard for me to fully understand what slowing down meant. I was accustomed to constantly 'do'. As I was told from my counselor, if it feels rushed, don't act. It might be time to take a pause. Jamie, the other co-founder, was better at this than I was.
What do I really mean by taking a pause? Here's how I did mine. I started to open my weekly schedule, did fewer meetings, less future planning, and more playtime. I started to listen more and be present. I was having full emotions and opening myself up to be vulnerable. This time, I felt joy and this time, I was in love with myself again.
Bloom Where You Are Planted
After months of pausing and more playtime, we are coming out stronger than before. With all the knowledge gained and after working with multiple manufacturers, we are deciding to start producing in the heart of Minneapolis and bloom where we're planted.
Coincidentally, through the relationships we have built since we started this journey, Jamie and I were referred to a promising mentor in Ely, MN who has over 30+ years of experience in designing quality clothing and gear that was originally made for the very first expedition to the North Pole. Since then, they've explored just about every cold place on the planet, from Greenland to the Russian Arctic – all with their own gear and serious field-testing.
We are more than excited to possibly be mentored by a fellow Minnesotan and with such incredible talent. Stay tuned! There's more to come.
Souphak Kienitz, Co-Founder of Jay Victoria
Currently seeking women, non-binary and trans folks. If you would like to join us in our beta or focus group, please sign up here.