Ever go to the fabric district in NY, or even Philadelphia? If you have, you'll remember the stores you encountered with 1000s of fabrics of every print, texture, color -- enough to make you get chills & come up with a million ideas in one afternoon. Most of these stores are actually selling you the last yards from a designer or Mill called End Runs. This means that you are seeing the last 20/50--even 300 yards from a much larger run they are no longer using. In 2009 I spent countless hours in these stores, learning about materials and testing/trying what worked-- what inspired me.
In 2011 & 2012 I launched a line in Old City Philadelphia under my first name --Kendra. We sold direct to customers from a pop-up shop I opened in my neighborhood, which I worked nights & weekends after work. The crew that helped was excellent but were custom ateliers, not manufacturing-industry people. Our line did well locally, but fit was inconsistent and I cringed every time we ran a production of goods, not knowing their chance for good fit or sell through.
We ran one more production in 2014, which was a beautiful collection of cashmere tunics -- but again, fit was inconsistent and I finally made a decision: it was time I learn the basics of pattern making, fit and how to develop a line, so I did. The pain of running beautiful garments in quantity seemed wasteful and was frankly painful for my capital supply.
I shut down my LLC and took a step back for about a year, then I started again. I spent weekends alone for almost 18 months teaching myself pattern-making, took some weekend courses with a professor, and attempted to make samples after about 14 months of self-teaching. I even made one dress 11 times before I started to get it right.
By 2017 I was ready to begin putting the pieces together of what is now CHAR-COAL. As a business person & creative, I thought about what works and what I want: I want the joy of creating each piece from an inspired fabric. I don't want to waste ANY MORE by running large inventories -- which wastes my capital resources & contributes further to this vast wastefulness I was seeing.
So began our business model, and my purpose.LIMITED RUNS
From above you now know I see opportunity in hurdles or obstacles. The same is true for our fabrics. Where some may see that they can only access limited yardage of a fabric, I see it like cool artwork. Each textile is destined to become a particular garment, and so we offer only 10 or 20 (for now). The End Runs market is large, and we can access more as we grow, but for now -- we stay small.
So, we use Designer End Runs to create a LIMITED RUN of each garment.LIMITING WASTE - #GFNR
If you've read above, you know that we agree. The fashion industry is inherently wasteful and is thankfully trending toward sustainability. However, in starting CHAR-COAL I wanted to think about how this translates for me personally. I'm happy to say that we are now finally able to execute a mini-mission that I always envisioned -- Encouraging Others through our End Cuts.
We have kept almost every quality End Cut from our production (all the way back from the Kendra line). Yes - I have rice bags of End Cuts. We decided to use them to do a 'different kind of good.' Remember the days when you were having a hard time, and someone sent you a personal note? Handwritten words like: hope you're doing okay, thinking of you, you've got this! We're bringing that back.
With each ONLINE ORDER, you have the option to send a GIFT FOR NO REASON (#GFNR) made from End Cuts to a friend, a sister, co-worker, ... whomever you choose.
We'll package and send it to her and we'll enclose a note -- just like sending flowers. Moreover, we will NOT market to her, we are genuinely trying to Encourage Others, Rise Tides...
Click here for more information about this Seasons #GFNR.