Give us a little background as to how The Tapered Collection came about. What initially drove you to start your brand?
I started thinking about Tapered Collection about two years ago when I realized I couldn’t put on a simple tee and jeans and feel good about the way I looked. All of my tees were too sheer, lost shape, or too clingy around the waistline (where pants would hit). I began to play around with some fabric and worked out a pattern that solved for the flattering silhouette. I realized after speaking with friends and showing them my samples, that I am not alone with this issue and tees — and so I decided to make it a “real” brand.
It took forever to go from a home sewing tee to a true brand! I took many, many trips to NYC to meet with fabric suppliers and meet with manufactures. I wanted beautiful, substantial cotton - and that is a lot harder to find than you think! I also wanted to garment dye (dye after production) to keep inventory flexible and take 99% of the shrinkage out of tees. How annoying is it when you get a tee, wash it, and it becomes tiny-sized? I found a local production house in Fall River that worked with me to get all the details right and they are a great partner for Tapered Collection.
I wanted to start with tees first - because I figured if women would trust me to make a good tee, they would trust new silhouettes down the line. Now, this fall I have a 3/4 sleeve tee and a dress coming - all inspired by customers’ feedback.
When creating your products, where do you take inspiration from?
For the first tee, I found a lot of inspiration in work-out clothes! Many of the yoga silhouettes are more “forgiving” in the waistline. The flow and drape is especially inspiring, and I wanted to take those same principles and apply them to an everyday tee.
With the 3/4 sleeve, I asked customers what they liked best about their favorite tees. What I found, is most people did not want a full length tee. The sleeves got dirty, they got caught up in jackets, and they didn’t provide good laying options. So, I took the drape of the original tee, and added a dolman sleeve right past the elbow.
The dress for fall was inspired by a Farmers Market day! I thought, wouldn’t it be nice to have a wash and wear dress that you could take from the Farmers Market to dinner. You wouldn’t be worried about getting it dirty. It’s comfortable. You can dress it up later. It can be washed and dried!
For the spring, I really need to offer a longer short sleeve shirt - something that comes right above the elbow. Inspired by an oversized men’s tee perhaps - but without the boxy look. And I’m experimenting with some elastic waistlines for spring to incorporate in dresses. Overall, I’m inspired by simple, clean shapes that can be worn with ease, with an eye to flattering to a women’s waistline.
I love that you have shaped your business around being eco-friendly. Why is this important to you?
While I didn’t start Tapered Collection to be on the forefront of the eco-friendly world - it certainly is shaping up to be a small business that makes choices that work for our environment! I am trying hard to make good choices whenever I can along the way. It is definitely more expensive to make the more eco-friendly choices, but I am happy knowing that the clothing is produced in good environments. I recently watched The True Cost movie, which talks about fashion and its damage to the environment. Some of the small choices I have made to make sure that Tapered Collection is a responsible fashion company include keeping inventory low (small batches), designing closet staples, using local factories that have good standards, using eco-friendly shipping products, and keeping my retail footprint small.
What do you love to do in New England, when you aren't busy running your business?
We are an outdoors type of family! In the summer, we enjoy playing “tourist” in our city and taking advantage of all that Boston and the Northeast has to offer. We hike in the Blue Hills, go on walks at the Boston waterfront, visit museums (this summer Sturbridge was a hit!), and day trips like Sunapee (the amazing adventure park there) or Kimball farms. In winter, we try to do ski day trips to Wachusett or Pats Peak. It’s amazing to have such fun winter slopes within a two-hour drive. In fall, we try to get out and do the apple picking and pumpkin picking day trips and I love to go to the open markets available on a crisp fall day. Spring, well, spring is the one disappointing season for me as a California transplant. I have terrible allergies (as does one of my children) and usually pray for a short, sweet spring and a huge leap into summer!
You have certainly found some fantastic early success! Where do you see The Tapered Collection headed in the future?
Thank you for your kind words! I have found that local support (likes yours) has been crucial to growing the business. I hope that customers continue to shop and spread the word about Tapered Collection! My husband jokes that I make a great entrepreneur because I am so invested in how women look in the clothing. I am always stressed that customers are happy, and have a good experience - they are investing in the company when they buy this clothing and I truly appreciate that. I would love to continue to build the brand offering and move into some new fabrications (like stripes!) and a continued focus on everyday basics with flattering silhouettes.
Astrid and her team have kindly offered a tee for one lucky Prim and Propah reader! Would you like to give her brand a try (and trust me, you do)? The lucky winner will receive a Tapered tee in their size delivered right to her door! Enter on the rafflecopter below (Open to US residents) and be sure to check Tapered out ASAP!