I’m excited to continue my ethical shop highlight series with Haley of Only Child. I first found her on Instagram and instantly fell in love with the overall aesthetic of Haley’s shop. I really wanted to introduce you to her so I was thrilled when she agreed to answer some of my questions:
1. Tell us a little about yourself!
My name is Haley and if you hadn’t already guessed, I’m an only child! I grew up in San Diego and now live in Oakland with my boyfriend and our cat named Turtle. When I’m not designing or sewing I’m usually watching bad 90’s movies or exploring my neighborhood.
2. Why did you start Only Child?
I started Only Child after I got my first 9-5 job. I’m really not a morning person and always wake up as late as possible, I would be rushing to get ready and then get stuck on what to wear. I really wanted pieces that I could throw on and go while still looking unique and put together. That idea is something I consider when designing every piece, I love making basics that still look interesting with or without accessories.
3. What got you interested in Ethical Fashion?
Oddly enough, my interest in ethical fashion started after I worked for one of the biggest fast fashion companies in the world. It’s hard to imagine just how much clothing gets needlessly consumed until you see it with your own eyes. Every morning we would receive 30-40 giant crates filled to the brim with plastic wrapped clothes, all of them priced ridiculously low. I would watch the same styles roll out again and again but with varying prints, it all seemed so unnecessary.
I remember making my first shirt and getting furious right after because I had experienced how much time and energy went into it. There is so much that goes into making a single garment, to think about putting all of that work into something that could be sold for less than $10 is just crazy to me.
4. What inspires your creative process?
My biggest inspiration comes from seeing how people wear various trends in real life. There are so many creative people where I live in the Bay Area who don’t shy away from being bold with their outfits. I also pull a lot of inspiration from gaps in my own wardrobe. I had really been wanting a great denim dress but couldn’t find one in a simple, classic cut so I decided to make one for myself. That’s where the Willa Denim Dress came from.
5. What is it like being a female entrepreneur? What struggles or successes have you had?
Being an entrepreneur is an insane roller coaster ride but one that I am thrilled to be on. One day I feel completely unstoppable and the next day I’m wondering if I can handle it all. I do however feel very fortunate to have met so many other female business owners so far, it sort of feels like we are building a little tribe.
Building a brand can be very difficult. There are so many days where I feel like I’m shouting into a void, hoping that the right customers notice me. I’ve learned that I can’t compare myself to others who have been doing this for years, even though I feel ready I am constantly reminding myself that things take time. With that being said, successes are that much better because I know I’m entirely responsible for them. My biggest success thus far has been my acceptance into West Coast Craft for this June. I had been there a year before with my friend and thought, “one day I hope to be a part of this”, and now I am! That was a really exciting win for me.
6. What advice to have for other women hoping to start a shop?
Start building your audience now! People told me this but at the time I didn’t really understand what that meant. Get your social media going, start a blog or whatever you are most comfortable with and just talk about your interests, vision, and so on. I so wish I had started a style blog while I was still trying to put my brand together. It helps to have a community around you and you can start building that before you have an actual product to sell.
Thanks Haley! Make sure to check her out at Only Child.
Until next time,