There are few things that I love more than a good tee – but I’m picky. I want my shirts to last, and to fit well, and maintain their shape. And while I’ve spend exorbitant amounts of money on them before, I obviously prefer not to do that. Recently I connected with Kate D’Arcy, the founder and CEO of TOGGERY, and got the chance to try out some of their tees – they are pretty great and I’m excited to have a new option in my closet.
Read on for an interview with Kate and more on TOGGERY!
TELL ME A LITTLE BIT ABOUT TOGGERY:
TOGGERY is a synonym for clothing. The word choice struck me as a stylish way to capture what we are trying to do which is to provide everyday knitwear to our customers at an attractive price. Our brand is all about blending precision-cut styles with ultra-soft, high quality fabrics in order to provide a superior look and feel for modern women as they go about their lives. As far back as I can remember I was always taking basic knitwear tees and dressing them up, so I was always attracted to accessible fashion. My background however is in business operations. My parents owned and operated their Harley Davidson dealership for almost 40 years through good times and bad. I worked there through college and 6 days a week after I first graduated. I know it’s a little odd moving from motorcycles to women’s knitwear, but I learned important lessons about maintaining a profitable business and asserting yourself as a leader while I was there. There are similarities in running any company like the importance picking a distinctive niche in the marketplace which is why we are made in the USA and we utilize higher quality fabrics than you usually see in the basics category. The most important thing I learned is that there are really no “off days” as a business owner. Everything from a delay in production to a glitch on the website will eventually come to your attention, so you have to tend to every aspect of marketing, operations, finance, manufacturing, distribution, etc. with long hours.
I dove into the fashion business in spring 2006 with an original line of knit dresses, named Kathryn Jessica. I produced and sold those dresses on my own in open-air markets and small specialty stores (along with helpful personal orders from friends and family). That line helped me learn the overall business model and how other companies in the fashion industry worked (though you are never done learning in this industry, and plenty of mistakes will be made). Eventually it rolled into TOGGERY in 2007 where I had an opportunity to expand offerings into tops, bottoms and dresses and sell garments through wholesale channels. I’m now TOGGERY’s CEO and Creative Director, and my partner, Alison Latta, is the Chief Financial Officer. I believe great companies are never the work of just one person, so you need a partner that complements your strengths. Alison worked in accounting and has a finance background. She is an extremely hard worker (most important!), so she has been a perfect fit for my creative and operational strengths. I design the collection each season and serve as Brand ambassador managing all aspects of the business. We work hard alongside TOGGERY’s showroom, marketing and manufacturing partners who are so critical to our success.
WHAT DRIVES YOU?
I’m driven by the opportunity to build a business and wake up every day motivated and passionate about my work.
WHAT IS NEXT?
We are so excited to offer TOGGERY online at toggerybrand.com! The line is still sold through our department and specialty store partners, but we always wanted to be accessible online in order to reach more people with TOGGERY’s quality, precision cut garments and our American-made story. We look at our e-commerce site as our storefront. I’m on the website everyday checking around to see if there is anything we can improve or posting pictures from my life in TOGGERY onto the blog. We are eager to hear from your readers so if you have any questions, comments or concerns about the website or you just want to share your experience with TOGGERY, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
WHAT ARE YOUR STYLE ESSENTIALS?
Moisturizer, preferably Kiehls, a smile and confidence.
WHERE DO YOU DESIGN, WORK, AND PRODUCE?
• Marketing, branding, PR is out of our NYC offices
• Sampling & production are worked on out of our Philadelphia office/ manufacturing facility
• Design is worked on in both cities, we typically start the process in NY when we are in the inspiration/sketch phase and then at the factory in Philadelphia once we are cutting/sewing samples and making changes from there.
I typically work between both locations so my work week is split between Philadelphia and NYC
WHERE DO YOU SHOP?
If I have time to shop(I love to shop) it’s typically in the midst of a work day so I’m usually in Philly or NYC and my favorite stores are:
• Philly – Knit Wit, Barneys, Third Street Habit
• NY – I love shopping in Brooklyn, my favorite shops are Poppy in Park Slope, Alter in Greenpoint, and Catbird for dainty jewelry in Williamsburg.
WHY DO YOU MANUFACTURE IN AMERICA?
Producing abroad is not in the best interest of our business model. Our industry is one where we need to get product to the market quickly while maintaining the quality that TOGGERY is known for. “Made in the USA” is a key differentiator for us, and our production facility is a mile from my home in Philadelphia which makes it much easier to monitor. We love the vendors we work with, they support what we are trying to build and they help us problem solve when we encounter an issue. And we do it all in-person for the most part.
Images c/o TOGGERY.