Why We Do What We Do / by Sabria McElroy

We’re currently putting the finishing touches on our first dress sample and we’ll be ready to give you a sneak peek very soon! 
 
In the meantime, I wanted to take a moment to remind you why we’re doing this (and why we think it’s important).  
 
The idea for Born To Be came when my daughter was a baby. I was frustrated by the clothing options for baby girls, which were very limited in the way they portrayed little girls. I found plenty of princess themed options, of course. But I wanted to be able to dress my daughter in something that communicated and promoted girls’ interests in other areas like science, leadership, or sports.

Turns out, my daughter, who is now 4, is pretty into what people would call traditional girl stuff. She loves dolls, colorful dresses, cute bracelets, and she regularly begs me to let her paint her nails (which, when I finally gave in, she chose to do in alternating pink and gold sparkles). And, currently, her favorite cartoon is about two little girl genies aptly named Shimmer and Shine. 

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Often, people who know about Born To Be assume that I’m bothered by all of this. The truth is I’m not bothered by the fact that she’s into these things (except for perhaps the cartoon about the genies – that bothers me a little bit).  
 
I’m not bothered by these interests because I know it’s normal for preschoolers to experience a period of gender rigidity in which they act out and endorse gender norms. But I do worry sometimes that she could internalize harmful stereotypes about girls that could have a longer-term impact on her interests. 
 
So, I encourage my daughter to explore a variety of subject areas. (Currently, she’s also really into an afterschool STEM program she attends – especially the coding mouse!) And I try provide her with examples of girls and women in diverse fields so that she understands that gender doesn’t limit what girls can do. But it’s a challenge to do this when it comes to clothes. There is no reason that pink sparkles or colorful dresses and science or dinosaurs or sports should be mutually exclusive, but the vast majority of clothing for girls continues to send the message that they are.  
 
Although the options for girls clothing have improved somewhat in the time since my daughter was born, we think there’s still plenty of space for a company like Born To Be. 
 
For one, we are working hard to provide a range of clothes with empowering designs that are also beautiful, high-quality and made from sustainable fabrics using ethical practices.  
 
As I mentioned, we’re almost done with the sample for the first item in our line, which will be a play dress made from organic pima cotton. I won’t say a ton about the sustainability aspect right now, except to say that it’s something we believe in and we think it’s important. If we’re creating clothes for the next generation of girls, we want to do it in a way that is mindful of the need to protect the environment for this future generation. 
 
We’re also focused on ensuring that our clothes are inclusive. 
 
By inclusive, I mean that any of our graphic designs that depict girls do so in a way that doesn’t suggest that the girl is a particular race or ethnicity. We want all little girls to be able to see themselves in our designs. 
 
We already have a Born to Explore design that features a little girl astronaut and a Born to Innovate design with a coding theme. As we wait on our first sample to be made, we are also in the process of creating our next two graphic designs.  
 
Reply to this blog, or send us a message on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter and tell us which themes we should design next! We are all ears (: