Today we’d like to introduce you to Patricia Williams.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Patricia. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
After having my second child, I realized the need for an affordable, edgy infant and toddler basics line. I wanted basics that featured all the details I liked in my own clothes like black, soft vintage washes, frayed edges, cut out necklines, curled edges and a looser fit.
The baby clothes I did find with these features were incredibly expensive and I couldn’t justify paying for something that was going to spit up on, ripped or grown out of in 6 months. I was determined to design this line myself, so I borrowed a friends sewing machine and started cutting and sewing my own patterns. My goal was to create a children’s line that was affordable, edgy, and made in LA.
Almost 4 years later (and two more children), I now use a manufacturing company here in Los Angeles and have expanded into women’s clothing as well.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
I have 4 boys ages 13, 5, 3 and 5 months…anything I try to do aside from raising my boys is a challenge. Parenting and being actively involved in my boys’ lives is still most important to me. I work throughout the day while they are in school, and try my best to keep my evenings and weekends free for family time.
Fortunately, I am now to a point where I no longer have to pull all-nighters sewing and sacrificing my sleep. I have never gone to fashion school or have had any professional training. I am self-taught and still sew my samples on a $200 sewing machine, store all my stock in storage bins, and handle all of my own shipping. I have survived by lots of coffee, watching countless hours of youtube tutorials and asking friends for guidance and help.
Please tell us about BLACK i BOYS.
When I started my line, I made a promise to keep everything at a price point that all of my friends could afford. I’ve been compared to “Target” and “Zara” prices, however, my clothing is all designed, cut, and sewn here in Los Angeles, not overseas. Manufacturing in the US was important to me so when I finally hit a point in my business that I could no longer keep up with the demand, I reached out to my close friend Luddivina Bowes, CEO of Rich Honey.
With her help and guidance, her company began manufacturing for me, working closely with my needs in order to keep my price point affordable. By producing with Rich Honey, I am able to visit often throughout the production process and see who is making my garments. I still design my own patterns and cut and sew my own samples, trying them on various kids before approving them for manufacturing. I also sew on all my custom patches and add all the snaps by hand to my rompers, because the artist in me still enjoys having a creative hand in the process.
All of my fabrics are sourced from deadstock warehouses in LA, which has been a huge benefit of living in LA, and in keeping my price point low. Deadstock is surplus fabric originally purchased by other fashion brands, that has been unused and resold. There are many warehouses that carry thousands and thousands of deadstock fabrics. Some of my most popular pieces were made out of fabric that was dated over 20 years ago. By using deadstock, I’m reducing waste production which ultimately helps keep sustain our earth for future generations.
With the most recent increase in minimum wage in California, supplies and manufacturing has gone up. In an effort to keep my costs low and maintain my quality and standards, I began going very minimal with my packaging. I no longer include hang tags, business cards and receipts with each order. By doing so, I have been able to pass on these savings to my customers, help save a tree, and maintain my promise to keep my clothing line affordable.
If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
- Children’s Rompers start at $24
- Children’s Drop Shorts – $16
- Children’s Muscle Tanks start at – $14
- Website: www.blackiboys.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @blackiboys
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/blackiboys/
Jamie Arrigo, Cameron Jordan