Tell us about your business.We started Iladora Apparel out of need as every day bike commuters. We ride every day in San Francisco, from work to a Saturday night out. Our staple clothing wasn't able to stand up to the daily ride, our jeans were splitting at the seams! We couldn't find apparel that combined durability and fashion, so decided to make it. Following a successful IndieGoGo campaign raising over $15,000 we produced our first run of The Iladora Apparel Perfect Bike Pant locally in San Francisco. Since then we've released a spring line and continue to expand with small releases through 2014. Ilana is the talented apparel designer and production master while Meghan manages the business, marketing, and retail partnerships. Our goal is to create a line of durable, sustainable, locally made fashion that inspires women to bike beautiful.
Tell us about your workspace, shop, or studio.We work out of a shared space near the design district in San Francisco. Our studio mate is an artist who mixes pigments and in a connected space are a variety of artists from painters to metal sculptors and woodworkers. The Iladora studio is a place where we can design, sew prototypes, do pattern making, fulfillment and still host customers for events or for shopping. It's our first official Iladora space. We started by working from home, Ilana sewing and pattern making out of her back room while Meghan stored supplies and inventory in her spare bedroom - sometimes boxes spilling into the living room. We’re excited to continue to grow - we can't seem to buy enough shelving!
What inspires you?The women who rode their bicycles in the 1890's despite public ridicule and perceived personal defamation, in the end winning freedom. Those same women who drove a revolution through fashion with Bloomers alongside The Suffragettes. The women across the Middle East who are fighting to find their personal freedom through bicycles. Fashion designers who are fearless, and use their art to make the world see differently, from Coco Chanel to Alexander McQueen. Our friends and family, who support us as we become entrepreneurs and build a company we can believe in.
What makes your business stand out?Our goal is to create fashion that empowers women to feel beautiful with room to break a sweat. With a focus on sustainability, our fabric is sourced from a Bluesign Certified mill and we keep all production local. We're filling a gap in the market, as women adopt cycling across the world and are increasingly choosing two wheels as a main mode of transportation. These women should have the choice to purchase American Made apparel that combines performance and style. Founded by two women, we both moved to San Francisco and became fast friends on a shared love of cycling. Five years later we're pursuing our dream in building a company around something we're truly passionate about.
What advice would you give an aspiring creative entrepreneur?Take the leap and follow your passion - when you run into challenges you will find support within your family, friends and the greater community. Be genuine - believe in what you are creating and focus on the elements that are authentically an extension of yourself. Remember to have fun - celebrate the wins but always look forward and keep pushing.
What does American Made mean to you?American Made goes beyond producing goods in the USA. It's an investment in our community by creating jobs and contributing to the local economy. It's a commitment to sustainability by using local resources and cutting down on excess environmental impact. It's remembering and re-learning the craft, while establishing a way for a new generation to learn it too.
Mark Your Calendar
WINNERS ANNOUNCEDOct. 17, 2014
2014 Award Winner and Audience Choice Winner announced.See past Award Winners
AMERICAN MADE MEETUPNov. 7, 2014
Join Martha at the American Made Summit kickoff cocktail party.Buy Tickets Now
AMERICAN MADE SUMMITNov. 8, 2014
Don’t miss our networking event and maker lecture series in New York City.Buy Tickets Now
RENEGADE CRAFT FAIRNov. 15 - 16, 2014
Shop for holiday gifts at the Martha Stewart American Made Pavilion.Learn More