Hello – I’m Tonya and I’m on a journey to build unique apparel brand for women who are self-styled, value quality over quantity, and who are confident in who they are. I invite you to come along with me and be part of this journey
Plenttiful is a lean startup project. My starting point is a lifetime of sketches and creative experiences like sewing, painting, millinery design, and jewelry-making.
There are many decisions that must be made between now and launch day and you’re welcome to follow me through the process of #CraftingACollection by following me on Instgram and YouTube.
A few steps along the journey will be:
- Should I produce apparel, sewing patterns from my designs, or both?
- Choosing which sizes to offer (mid sizes or plus size)? Which body styles to design for
- Choosing which types of fabrics & prints to use
- Designing the debut collection
- Determining the marketing strategy
- Finding talented & skilled patternmakers and sample makers
- Photographing the debut collection
- Finding the best production resource to make the garments
Every designer has a muse in mind for whom they are designing. A muse can be a person but in my case it’s a set of values that are embodied by the women who will find value in my clothing.
She is stylish and creates her own personal trends instead of following those set by others.
She invests in garments with an eye to sustainability. Choosing quality pieces for the long haul, remixing them each season.
She is confident in who she is and she adorns herself from this place of inner strength and not from an unrecognized need to convince others of her attractiveness, desirability, and worth.
She is plenttiful.
When I was a child I had one goal for my grown-up life…to be a fashion designer. My earliest memories are of being in my room sketching designs for glamourous clothing that I planned to wear for the fabulous I imagined for myself. Sketching later turned to sewing and I made all types of glamourous gowns for my muse who was my cousin.
My goal in high school was to attend F.I.T. in New York but I was discouraged from attending, being told “black folks don’t make any money as fashion designers.” I listened to this advice and settled in for 5.5 years of college in my next favorite thing – technology. I reasoned that I could always pursue my dream of being a fashion designer while using my sometimes steady paycheck to fund my dream.
For the last twenty years, I’ve been blessed to learn about the apparel manufacturing industry. I’ve sat in on classes at Parsons on visits to NYC and scoured the garment district in search of fabric jobbers. I’ve attended a fabric wholesale show at Jacob Javits Center and registered for the show of all show for wholesale clothing brands – MAGIC – although I never went. I’ve purchased almost every book ever made on patternmaking, sewing, surface design, crafting a portfolio, and anything else I could find. I’ve had some patterns drafted by Sally Beers and been part of Kathleen Fassanella’s mastermind group for startup brands – a long time ago now.
It’s 2021 and after launching several other ventures, I’m turning my eyes back toward my childhood dream of launching my own fashion line.
How I got here is kind funny. I’ve been working on losing the 50+ lbs. I’ve picked up in my 20+ years of sitting at a desk. I know what’s available off-the-shelf to me now as a +size woman. One day the idea popped in my head to surveying what my options would be if I got down to my perfect size 16. To my surprise, after checking stores and brands, I could find very little that really spoke to me. Everything was either too boring or too bodycon, too casual or too cutesy.
I have other ideas. This journey is about bringing those ideas to market in some way.
Thanks for joining me!