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Meet Shannon Ashford of Tom Foolery in Pasadena

Today we’d like to introduce you to Shannon Ashford.

Shannon, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
The idea for a drop seat jumpsuit began one night out in college when my friends and I were griping about having to strip naked just to use the bathroom (because you know ladies can never pee alone). I decided then that I was going to figure out a solution. A couple of years later, I was working at a local art gallery watching other artists pursue their passion and decided that at 23 I had nothing to lose, so I’d better go for it now.

I spent the next couple months sewing prototypes of the drop seat, researching how on earth you incorporate a company, designing a website, and finding quality fabric to work with. The first collection was made from 100% Cotton made in the US because producing here seemed to be an appealing concept for customers. I started researching more about the impact of the fashion industry on the environment as well as the hardworking hands producing garments.

Realizing this was a much greater responsibility than I initially thought, I completely rewrote my mission statement. I found Thread International who provided our fabric made from recycled plastic bottles collected in Haiti. They have an incredible goal of eradicating poverty in Haiti through job creation. After a year of sewing all jumpsuits myself in my parent’s garage, I have begun working with Indie Source, a manufacturing company here in Los Angeles that employs locals and pays them a fair wage along with benefits.

Tom Foolery started with the simple idea of creating jumpsuits that fit women’s needs, and I will continue to make problem-solving clothing as the company grows. However, our mission is to inspire integrity and complete transparency within fashion brands. By using recycled material and ethically employing skilled sewers, we want to set an example of a clothing brand that positively benefits its employees, it’s customers, as well as the environment.

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?
Not in the slightest! I have no background in fashion, just a joy for sewing because a lovely neighbor taught me as a girl. Having little to no understanding of what I was getting myself into, it has been a constant process of trial and error.

Google has been my saving grace. One of the biggest struggles has been marketing on a small budget. It takes patience and a lot of cleverness. But I’ve found that some of the best methods don’t require a lot of money, just a lot of time.

For example, walking around crowded shopping centers on weekends in a jumpsuit with a stack of my business cards and a whole lot of gumption or posting flyers inside bathroom stalls all across Los Angeles with my website info and the simple query of, “is your jumpsuit around your ankles?”.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Tom Foolery story. Tell us more about the business.
Tom Foolery specializes in drop seat jumpsuits and rompers designed to spare ladies from ever going free bird on the porcelain. No other company has addressed this simple issue among women, and we are happy to do it ourselves!

We are most proud of our process and materials used. All products are made from recycled plastic bottles collected in Haiti. Every jumpsuit is made locally in Los Angeles under fair conditions. Producing locally cuts down carbon emissions by eliminating international transport.

Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
No role at all. I’ve gotten to this point in my own life and with Tom Foolery by sheer effort. I don’t believe luck has played a role, but a strong work ethic has. Sometimes we face circumstances beyond our control.

Sometimes they destroy us, sometimes they lift us up. But in everything life gives us, we get to choose how we react and how we move forward.

I’ve always felt that life is this sort of mutual relationship. If you treat it with care and respect, it will do the same to you. Luck hasn’t determined where I am today, and it won’t determine my future either.

Pricing:

  • All jumpsuits are $150 including sales tax and shipping so when you order, you pay $150 flat and not a penny more

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Shannon Ashford

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