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Meet Hanna Baror-Padilla of Sotela in Covina

Today we’d like to introduce you to Hanna Baror-Padilla.

Hanna, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
The idea for Sotela came to me in 2016 after months of frustration with my body and closet. For almost a year, I dealt with a hormone imbalance that left me chronically bloated. The clothing I wore on a regular basis no longer fit and only made me feel insecure and uncomfortable.

Those feelings made me wonder how often other women may experience the same frustrating routine of trying to buy something that fits. Women’s bodies change all the time— we get bloated, pregnant, lose weight, gain weight— but the fit of our clothes doesn’t often reflect that physical reality.

This is why I created Sotela. I believe women should reach into their closets and have multiple pieces that will always fit, and better yet, make them feel beautiful. Designed for women by women, Sotela’s main goal is to empower you to develop a positive relationship with your clothing.

Since our Kickstarter launch in 2016, we have launched four different collections. Our pieces have evolved to feature more versatile elements for women such as nursing-friendly pieces. In 2019, we will expand our size offering to be more size inclusive. By next spring, we will hopefully move into a studio so that everything from design to production is made under one roof.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Not necessarily. We’ve been fortunate enough not to experience major catastrophes, but there have definitely been bumps along the way. We’ve ordered the wrong fabric, had production issues, and have botched orders.

When it comes to production, it is rare to have a smooth process because there are so many players involved. We have fabric suppliers, pattern makers, sample makers, pattern graders, and seamstresses. Communication is key, and sometimes we don’t always get it right.

Please tell us about Sotela.
Sotela is known for being a body-positive clothing brand for women. We specialize in clothing for women in all stages of life.

I’m most proud of how far we’ve come especially since I had zero fashion experience before starting Sotela. Our growth has been completely organic because I do my best to keep communication open with customers.

I think that’s what sets me apart from other brands. I consistently update customers about their orders and even share the ups and downs behind the scenes.

Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
My favorite memory from childhood is going to my dad’s store and working there on weekends. Both of my parents were entrepreneurs, and my dad had a boot store on Melrose. I used to make leather dolls and bracelets with scraps I found around his store.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:

Grey & Elle, Marisa Vitale Photography, Daniela Rey of Mamaniela

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