Today we’d like to introduce you to Alexis Rheinwald-Jones.
Alexis, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
The Source launched as an ethical clothing brand offering size-inclusive luxe basics in July 2019. Prior to that, I worked on developing the line for about a year and a half. As a small company just getting started, it was very challenging to find the right people and contractors who would work with me to make the clothing in the way that I felt good about. That took some time! In the garment industry, cutting corners is the norm. Exploiting people and abusing the environment are common practices, and sometimes it was very difficult to communicate to potential contractors what my standards are around those issues. They’re so used to companies wanting to just do things the quickest way. They would look at me like I was speaking a different language. Those things were very important to me, though! Prior to my career in fashion, I was a nurse practitioner. Working with my patients closely to solve their health issues, I saw in a very real way how environmental pollution affects human health. I also saw how the way people are treated in their work has such a huge impact on their quality of life. When I transitioned to a career in fashion, I knew I had to do everything I could to avoid contributing more to these problems. I’m doing this because I love fashion, but I’m also doing this because I want to be part of changing the industry!
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Starting this business is an exercise in humility every day. I am constantly being faced with what I don’t know: how to solve a new problem, whom to ask for help, what the future will bring. Most recently, since we’ve launched, I’m navigating the challenge of learning how to connect with an audience who shares the values of my company. Each challenge presents valuable opportunities, though. Doing what I’m doing brings up situations that force me to look at myself and choose to become better. Some of my tougher struggles are when I have to speak up for myself to someone who doesn’t necessarily have my best interests in mind, or I have to face some of my deeper insecurities around areas where I’m not particularly talented or experienced, or I have to embrace the inherent risk involved in betting on myself as I build this company. It’s a strange mix of loving my work and resenting how much it makes me work on myself and being grateful for the opportunity to grow as a person.
So let’s switch gears a bit and go into The Source Apparel story. Tell us more about the business.
The Source offers well-made, versatile, upscale basics in sizes XS-3X. Our initial line of 8 items is designed to be full interchangeable–any of the items goes with any of the others to make a no-fuss outfit, and each piece also easily matches with a ton of other things you already have in your closet. I’m very proud of what we’re able to do in this space. Our products are sourced and manufactured here in LA. Our fabrics are eco-friendly and our dye processes are low-impact. The items are made to stand to the test of time. Plus, we take good care of our employees in terms of pay and benefits. We’re able to do all this for prices very similar to other higher-end athleisure and basics companies that don’t have nearly as high of standards as we do. I feel very proud that we’re able to offer a really nice product at an accessible price, made ethically! We also sell products in our online shop from a select handful of other women-owned companies who share our values. I think it’s important to promote community among people who are trying to accomplish similar goals in their businesses.
Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
I’ve had extraordinary luck in finding really exceptional people to work with. My first stroke of luck was finding Maria Groezinger, my godsend of a production coordinator/consultant/industry guru. Having only had a couple of years of experience in the industry when I started on this journey, knowing that I had her insight, expertise, and good heart in my corner made all the difference. I think I would have given up without her! And our meeting was kismet. I found her card in a stack in my desk drawer, but for the life of us, neither of us can figure out how it got into my hands!
Another huge stroke of luck was finding my second-in-command, Aja. She is awe-inspiring not only in her willingness to be flexible and just jump in wherever she’s needed but also in her sheer variety of talent. I didn’t even know how much I needed her when I hired her. She fills in so many gaps in my skillset; it really is a more ideal match than I could have imagined.
- Items range from $58-98
- Website: www.wethesource.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/wethesource/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/wethesource/
Katelyn Schiller, Rick Andreoli