In episode 21, Xi Chen, the founder and designer of Sonderlier, shares how she started her fashion brand on the idea that comfortable clothes should still be cute. She’s not alone in that belief as shown by the Kickstarter campaign for her first collection that reached 212% funding.
Xi Chen is the Founder and Designer of Sonderlier, a sustainable clothing brand offering women camera-ready clothing they could sleep in. Even though Xi dreamed of fashion design since she was a little girl, she initially pursued a “more practical” career as a professor in engineering. After struggling for years to find clothes that would allow her to be comfortable yet still feel inspired and put-together, Xi discovered that many other women had the same problem. In 2019, she decided to fill this gap and finally pursue her designer dream.
Xi has found that her background provides a unique perspective in her design. She enjoys combining her love for fashion with a focus on functionality that allows the pieces to fit seamlessly into everyday life. In March 2021, Xi launched Sonderlier’s first collection on Kickstarter, which was successfully funded in under 24 hours. She has also been featured on Nasdaq as a woman founder disrupting her industry.
Through Sonderlier, Xi hopes to create clothing that serves women’s everyday wellbeing so that they feel beautiful and inspired whether it’s a special event or a regular Tuesday.
In this episode, you’ll learn:
- The first steps Xi took to turn her fashion idea into a brand
- What Xi thought a fashion designer’s job was versus what she learned a designer really does
- Why versatile clothing that can change shape is important to Xi
- What Xi did during the three months that her product development was delayed due to covid
- The freedoms and challenges that come with being a one person business
- Xi’s advice on building a community and audience before even having a finished product
- What contributed to Sonderlier’s successful Kickstarter campaign reaching 212% funded
- The new skills Xi has learned as an entrepreneur
- What Xi wished she knew when she first started Sonderlier
People and resources mentioned in this episode:
- Sonderlier website
- Sonderlier email
- Sonderlier on Instagram
- Sonderlier on Facebook
- Xi on LinkedIn
- DG Expo sourcing trade show
- Fashion Group International
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