I started designing and planning for Allison Izu in 2006, it took me awhile to find the right manufacturer and partner to get my line out there. I decided to focus on petites because I am petite and I could relate and understand the difficulties petites go through to find clothes that fit.
My first manufacturing experience was overseas. We had a family friend who was manufacturing in China and I jumped at the opportunity to take my dream from paper to denim. It was a tough experience for me, where I worked for over a year sampling, and everything looked great. Then the shipment of 2100 pairs of jeans came in, and it was all-wrong, the quality was terrible and I wasn’t going to release my first line of sub-par jeans to the public. So I started over and went to LA to find a manufacturer. Although I was in America, I encountered the same problems of low quality, miscommunication, etc.
Well besides my manufacturing life lessons, I would say the biggest challenge is to listen to yourself and phase out people’s opinions. I “stumbled” so much listening to other people and trying to appease people. I now know to listen to my customers and myself, because these are the people I want to be happy with the Allison Izu jeans.
Yes, I have forced myself to integrate social media into my brand and daily life. (it is tough with a one year old) But I definitely think it helps. I have been able to take my online store and make it sustainable without having to do advertising because of bloggers (like yourself) who are willing to support me and talk about the brand to their followers.
I don’t think we will ever lose stretch in denim, but now they are doing so many other blends to keep the color, to keep the stretch – we are not only seeing cotton/spandex in denim anymore. Now they put small amounts of rayon or polyester for durability, to keep the vibrancy of colors, and anti-wrinkle. It also helps the fabrics to stretch out but also bounce back to its original shape.
Right now, only online at www.allisonizu.com. I am working to get some events planned around town and work with some boutiques too.
A huge mahalo to Allison for taking the time to be interviewed for MauiShopGirl. I’ve followed Allison since her upcycled line REINCARNATION and was so excited when she launched Allison Izu. I have a pair of her cropped dark denim jeans with the original back pocket embroidery and am seriously eyeing the sunset sweat pant jean pictured above.
Allison Izu is featured in this month’s O Magazine’s, “Jeans that make you look 10 lbs thinner” feature!
All images courtesy of Allison Izu.
Update…since publishing this post, I’ve ordered the grey sweat style pictured above and love it! Great light material with a really flattering fit.