Production Journey

Back to the Drawing Board by Sabria McElroy

It’s been awhile since the last Born To Be update. Things have been moving more slowly than I’d like, but still moving forward towards a 2016 launch!

Since my last update, I received the first Born To Be sample of the play dress!  This was very exciting, except for one setback – the perfect fabric that I had spent several months searching for wasn’t perfect for my design. 

The fabric that I wanted to use was a beautiful, American-grown, ultra soft organic cotton interlock.  (If you don’t know what exactly what cotton interlock means, you are not alone!  Before I started this process, I had no idea about the differences among various types of cotton). 

But that beautiful fabric proved to be too thick and stretchy for some of the design details that I want to include. 

So, I had to go back to sourcing fabric.  This involves calling and emailing suppliers and asking for samples to try to find the perfect one that’s also available in colors that will work – something soft, sustainable, light-weight but not too thin, with give but not too stretchy, etc.  

Some of the fabric swatches I've received over the last few weeks.

Some of the fabric swatches I've received over the last few weeks.

This can be a frustrating process.  There’s a lot of waiting involved – waiting for suppliers to respond to emails, waiting for suppliers to return calls, and waiting for samples to arrive in the mail.  Sometimes suppliers don’t call back, or they don’t want to deal with unestablished business, or they promise to send samples that never arrive.   

But, I think I’m finally close to finding my new, perfect fabric.   I've received several swatch options that I like. 

This time around, I’ve learned to take the swatches to my sample-maker to test first before I order several yards for the sample-making process.  That way, if it doesn’t work out, I won’t have several yards of soft, beautiful fabric sitting in my closet that I have no idea what to do with.      

If the fabric swatch that I want to use works out, I’ll have a new sample in a few weeks to share with you all! 

In the meantime, I need to figure out what to do with the eight extra yards of my old perfect fabric. 







Beginnings by Sabria McElroy

Shortly after my daughter, Leila, was born, Born To Be was, well, also born.  

My daughter at four months, around the time that the idea for Born To Be started to form.  

My daughter at four months, around the time that the idea for Born To Be started to form.  

The idea – like many ideas – started when I wanted something I couldn’t find.  When I went shopping for my daughter, I found lots of baby girl onesies that said “princess” or “adorable” or that were decorated with flowers, hearts, and bows.   But what I wanted was an adorable, creative onesie for my daughter that featured an engineering theme or a girl astronaut or said something like “P is President (not just princess).”    

I thought, how cool would it be if my daughter stood out with some sort of cute, girl power themed outfit. I wanted to make a statement about the endless potential I saw in my baby girl.  People would comment on how she was going to grow up to be a scientist or the president and refrain from calling her “princess.”     

There's no shortage of onesies like these!

There's no shortage of onesies like these!

I also felt it was important.  Even though Leila was an infant at the time and didn’t care what she was wearing, I knew that gender stereotypes influence how adults interact with babies and that, in turn, influences babies’ development.  I thought that greater diversity in clothing for baby girls might remind people to focus on and support girls’ curiosity and intelligence. 

So I decided to start a clothing company that would make the kind of clothes that I wanted to buy for my daughter. 

I came up with a name (which has since changed) and a concept that I really liked – each clothing item in my line would center around a “born to” theme.  For instance, a “Born to Discover” shirt would feature a science-themed design.   

But I was a new mom who had recently returned to my full-time job as an attorney.  I didn’t really know where to begin to start a clothing company and more than a year passed before Born To Be really began to develop.

By this point, I had learned a lot about the fashion industry and I knew that I wanted to create a product that was manufactured in the U.S. and that used eco-friendly fabrics and inks.  And I finally started taking concrete steps to make it happen (more about that in future posts!). 

After talking to other parents about Born To Be, I also decided to expand my product line beyond baby and toddler sizes to include little girls' sizes as well.  I realized that there was still a need and desire for empowering and beautiful clothing lines for little girls like Born To Be. 

Recently, my daughter has made me see this even more clearly.  Since turning two a month ago, she has begun insisting on picking out her own clothes.  She strongly prefers clothes that have graphics and prints over anything plain because they reflect the things she’s interested in and loves.  If she had her way (and she usually does), her clothing rotation would consist of shirts and dresses featuring Minnie Mouse, trains, the moon and stars, fish, and flowers.  (You can probably guess which items from the rotation were made for boys.)  

Like kids everywhere, Leila is starting to use clothes as a form of self-expression.  I want to make sure that her options aren’t limited by gender stereotypes and that she’s able to express a wide range of interests, from planets to computers to dancing. 

That’s why I can’t wait to add the first Born To Be designs to her wardrobe.  She told me that she likes the mock-ups.  (Her exact words were, “Nice!”).  Fingers-crossed that they make it into the rotation!