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Monday, September 28, 2015

Let's Get Local - Brass Clothing

I am always looking for new brands to freshen up my wardrobe with and since I am always drawn to classic designs that will last more then one season I find myself gravitating towards solids with simple silhouettes. So when I stumbled upon Brass Clothing I was instantly intrigued. Not only is this new to me company ran by two gals that are Boston based but they also believe in great design, fit, style and quality. Something I can totally get behind. So I reached out to the lovely ladies that make this brand happen and was so happy that they agreed to do a "let's get local" feature on them and their company. So get your morning cup of joe and get comfy because today is a good one!

 Tell us a little about Katie & Jay, the gals behind the fashion brand. What do you like to do in your free time, personal style in fashion or interior designs, guilty pleasures, travel etc. 

Jay and I are pretty normal, down to earth gals.  We’re probably not what you think of when you think of women in the fashion industry.  We’re not jetting off to fashion week or shopping in Paris.  Jay and I believe we’re a lot like our customers: hard working women who want to lead a full life.  We want our relationships with friends and family to come first.  We want to have great careers and a successful business.  We want to look great, but we don’t want to spend a lot of time in front of the mirror. 
Our lives outside of the Brass walls are pretty jam packed.  I spend a lot of time with my fiancĂ©, Chris, and our families in the area.  I'm so excited fall is in the air. Soon I'll spend my free time watching football, cooking comfort food and drinking delicious New England brews. 
When it comes to personal style, I try to keep it simple.  I clean out my closet a few times a year because I don’t like any clutter and because I don’t like to have a lot of stuff, I tend to shop for basic styles that can be dressed up or down. As for guilty pleasures: cleaning my bathroom, drinking wine, cleaning my bathroom while drinking wine, and hot dogs.   

Jay is knee-deep in production work for our next line, so I’m going to take a shot at her answers.  I’m putting our 15 years of friendship to the test here!

Time Outside of Work:  Jay was just recently married.  She and her husband, Trevor, spend a lot time with their many friends and family.  Jay is an amazing (like seriously amazing) self-taught cook.  These days she spends her time setting up her new home in JP and putting all those wedding presents to good use in the kitchen.  As far as personal style, she loves textiles and looks for high-quality, beautiful fabric.  Her style idol is Stevie Nicks.  I know she has her eye on a fringe jacket for fall.
Oh and as far as guilty pleasures, photoshopping her face into random photos as you will see below.

Jay and I at our Kickstarter launch party in April of this year.

Just at typical day at the office!

Jay surprised me with this right before our trip to China.  Disappointingly, we never made it to the great wall. 

What made you want to start your own business and do you have any advice for someone else about to venture down the same path?

Jay and I have always shared a passion for business. Before we started Brass, we’d chat about our respective work, bounce around ideas, practice presentations and talk design. Our idea for Brass came at the beginning of 2014. Jay was working in manufacturing, and was inspired after a visit to a potential partner factory in China. The factory (who we're now working with) just blew her away. They make clothes for designer brands like Tory Burch and Theory. She was amazed at the beautiful garments they produced and was shocked at how much these garments actually cost before brand markup. She came home and told me all about this factory. We quickly started to talk about starting our own brand. We wanted to offer women the same high-quality garments you get from designers without the price tag. With my background in fashion e-commerce, we put our skills together. Six months, $25,000 (money from me, Jay and our 3rd business partner John) and a trip to China later we launched Brass.
I would advise anyone who’s interested in the apparel business to find a great factory and focus on building a lasting relationship with them.  Jay’s experience with manufacturing in China was a pivotal to launching on time with a high-quality product.  We wouldn’t be where we are today without it.
Our colleague, Abby, working with two incredible ladies from our knit factory, Lilly and Betty. 

Jay at our knit factory in China.

 How would you describe your design aesthetic when it comes to executing a garment or line of clothing?

Brass dresses are designed with two things in mind: a neutral palette and an effortless silhouette. High-quality construction, beautiful fabrics, and versatility are our brand’s mainstays.  We want to create the go-to dress in your closet – the dress you come back to over and over again because it makes you look and feel amazing.  Our goal is to make getting dressed in the morning easy: grab a dress, slip it on and feel great and put-together so you can get on with your day.  Our customers are doing big things!  They need to feel confident and beautiful with relatively little effort. 
Additionally, we’ve found our customer is choosing her clothing more carefully.  She’s done with fast fashion – she doesn’t see a point in buying crappy clothes that fall apart after one wash.  She is looking for quality over quantity and sees Brass as the place to find quality staple pieces she can easily accessorize up or down.

 {p.s. - just purchased this dress, so excited to get in the mail}
What inspires you both when it comes to your designs?

The most important part of our design process is the survey we send customers at the beginning of the season.  We pick eight-ten silhouettes and ask customers which they love most.  We determine the dresses we’re going to produce based on the survey results.  We also ask about colors and texture and new product offerings like T-Shirts or bags.  The best part of this process is that the customer survey feedback usually mirrors sales, so we know going into production the popular dresses on the survey will be our best sellers.

We asked customers if they wanted to see the Sweater Dress in camel or gray.  Gray was the unanimous winner!

 Since you call New England your home, what are some of your favorite places to shop, dine or visit in the area? 

There is so much I love about New England. In order to help narrow down my answers, I thought about the 5 places I’d take our Chinese colleague Abby to visit if she were to come to Boston. Abby is amazing; she manages communication with our factories. She is always a wonderful host when Jay and I visit China, we’d have to show her an equally outstanding time.

Fenway Park – It doesn’t get much more American than taking in a baseball game on a beautiful summer day. 

Dinner at Row 34 – My favorite place for great seafood and lovely ambience in Boston. Their lobster rolls are out of this world!

Boat cruise through Boston Harbor – One of my favorite ways to hear, see and experience the history of the city. 

Day trip to Newburyport and beach at Plum Island – Our favorite way to explore Newburyport is by bike. 

A long weekend in Acadia National Park – Some of the most beautiful landscape New England offers. 

And then we’d make her watch The Departed ;)

Abby and I at a park in Shanghai. 

Jay and I riding bikes in Newburyport. 

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