It’s sneak peek time!
I’m thrilled to finally show you what I’ve been working on behind the scenes…
It’s your favorite pants, updated in ways that I think you will really love!
First: the main details: These Pleated Pants are made from a silky soft blend of Pima Cotton and Modal, with a hint of stretch for durability and recovery. They are so incredibly comfortable, and the drape is lovely!
Based on your feedback, I made a few changes: I added a soft, stretchy drawstring, and removed the elastic from the waistband for a more comfortable and flattering fit. I also tightened the cuffs a bit, meaning that these can be pushed up to your calves for a cropped look.
There’s also one other BIG change that I think will be a happy surprise. You spoke, and I listened: Over the past couple years, I’ve heard a common refrain: “I love these pants so much, but they’re just not in my price range…” I took this feedback seriously, and have been working quietly behind the scenes to figure out a way to offer this style at a more accessible price.
Although it’s taken some time, I’m really happy that Farbrook Studio’s first new style will be something that meets the most requested wish I’ve heard since launching my business. The main reason it’s taken me awhile to address this challenge is because… it actually involved moving production to Peru!
Here’s how it happened, and why…
When I launched my business, it was very important to me to manufacture locally, in the USA. Specifically, my first collection was cut and sewn right nearby in Brooklyn, NY. I wanted to contribute to the local garment industry and to support the economy I am a part of on a day-to-day basis. It was also convenient to be able to stop by the factory and communicate directly with the people making my clothes.
Of course, USA-made, small batch production has one very noticeable outcome: high prices. It is very expensive to manufacture domestically, meaning that the retail price is significantly higher than for clothing made abroad.
For a style like the Organic Pleated Pants, which involves a lot of handwork, the price rises exponentially. Did you know that my original design had 40 pleats, but I removed 4 simply to keep the cost within a somewhat realistic price point?
At the same time as I was hearing my customers’ feedback about pricing, I began to notice something interesting while shopping… I always look at tags and labels, and love to examine how clothing is finished. I saw that a lot of the most beautiful loungewear was made in Peru. I didn’t know why, but I filed this away, and didn’t think too much about it until…
I found myself in conversation with another Brooklyn-based designer, and expressed curiosity about how she had figured out how to manage production in another country. She told me about an industry trade show in Lima, and long story short, I found myself on a plane to Peru in April of 2018.
My first trip to Lima was mainly a research experience: I learned about the rich agricultural traditions of the country, and the amazing quality of textiles like pima cotton and alpaca that are available there. I discovered that the Peruvian approach to garment production is typically a vertically integrated, full package delivery. This appealed to me because it meant that instead of individually sourcing everything (labels, packaging, fabric, pattern making, dyeing, cut and sew…), I would only need to work with one company, thus freeing up a great deal of time and energy…
I was also happy to see that the concepts of ethical production and eco-friendly manufacturing are much more widely embraced than what I found here in the USA. When I expressed these issues as integral to my business, the factories I spoke with needed no extra explanation; they were already on the same page.
Finally, I discovered that I could significantly lower my prices by manufacturing with a Peruvian partner. And the cherry on top? I found the factory that makes some of the most beautiful luxury loungewear, and knew that it would be possible to emulate the level of quality I dreamed of. From where I stood, it seemed like a win in every direction!
I came back from that trip not knowing exactly how to move forward, but feeling confident that a good solution to my main challenge was somehow within reach.
At the same time as I was opening up to the idea of working with partners abroad, a lot was changing within my business. I realized that I needed to change the name from PonyBabe to something more mature. I was learning about my customers by doing lots of pop-ups, and it was becoming clear that the clothing was a hit, but the pricing was causing some real road bumps…
So, as 2018 passed, I crept closer to taking a huge leap. As 2019 began, I decided to go back to Lima, to attend the trade show with the express purpose of finding a production partner. I interviewed about a dozen potential factories, and finally chose the one I sort of knew I would go with from the start… they produce for the brands I’d been eyeing over the years, and it felt really exciting to know I’d be able to provide the same level of quality that I admire so much.
I’ve learned that running a small business involves so many ongoing decisions… In the beginning, PonyBabe was a fun idea but I really had no idea what I was getting into… I figured things out one step at a time without knowing where they would lead. Since I didn’t yet know who my customer really is and what she wants, I didn’t know how challenging a luxury price point would be for a brand without a marketing budget… when I realized I wanted to take my business further, it began to make sense to recalibrate, and find a way to offer what my customers want, which is beautiful, comfortable, ethically made clothing at the same price point they typically shop.
So, to Peru we go! I’m happy to finally share what I’v been up to, and to launch the first new style made with my Peruvian partners. The Pima/Modal Pleated Pants are lovely, and will be ready for you very soon…
Stay cozy til then,