Funded! This project was successfully funded on December 22, 2011.

Update #11

The Versalette is Back!

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(You can read the original update from Kristin here, on the {r} blog.)

Months ago, I wrote about my latest project, Seamly.co -- a new company using deadstock fabric to create limited edition apparel, here in Colorado.

At the time, Shannon and I still hadn’t sold {r}evolution apparel, or the Versalette design. (We didn’t find any buyers who were a cultural fit, or had the capital to make it happen.)

But we knew the Versalette needed to live on. We had already spent tons of time re-designing it, sourcing fabrics, and connecting with a new (amazing) factory in Portland, OR. 

Even though I was gearing up for production here in Colorado, and Shannon had launched a new consulting business (sustainability for designers and apparel companies) it didn’t seem right to let the Versalette go.

So we decided that I’d take on production, and we’d give it a new home under the Seamly.co brand. We kept it all under wraps, until now...

Today, Seamly.co is officially launching. The Versalette is available for sale, alongside some basics I’ve been working on at Seamly.co.

I hope you’ll check it out -- my biggest goal is to build community around the design + production process. Followers will be voting on new styles + colorways, and then be able to watch the entire manufacturing process unfold. If you like what we're up to, please share!

As always, thanks for your support. Shannon and I are both incredibly grateful for our time at {r}evolution apparel, and it’s beyond exciting to see a little piece of it live on.

With love and gratitude,

Kristin

(AND THE BIG QUESTION: WHAT'S DIFFERENT ABOUT THE NEW VERSALETTE? )

First, the fabric: It’s light, sleek, and drapes closer to the body than the original Versalette fabric. The drawstrings are stretchy, and stay snug on the body. The pockets are bigger, as are the armholes. There's no visible logo on the outside of the Versalette (inside only). And, we’ve removed the buttons in favor of an armhole that can be worn as either a tank top or a cap sleeve! We're also working with a new factory, and are super-happy with the sewing and fabric quality. [ BROWSE + SHOP ]

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Update #10

Our Final Shipping Update

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It’s been almost a year since our Kickstarter campaign. For those of you who have stuck with us, you know how long the process has been with lots of highs and lows.

This month will be one of our highest highs because, drumroll please… We will officially complete the shipping of all existing Versalette orders!

For everyone who is still waiting for their charcoal Versalette, here are the dates we’re looking at:

OCT 12 – Shipping to all remaining Kickstarter backers.

OCT 19 – Shipping to everyone who ordered between January 2012 – April 2012.

OCT 26 – Sending out payment re-authorizations via e-mail to everyone who reserved a charcoal Versalette during and after May 2012. We’ll be shipping on a first-paid, first-served basis over the course of two weeks. All reservations should be shipped by November 2.

For those of you still waiting to order a Versalette, we’ll put charcoal (and a limited number of sage) on sale in November – once all existing orders are fulfilled. Those will be available for immediate shipping (with plenty of time before the holidays).

Kristin is looking forward to getting her bedroom back, which is currently covered in mailers, packing tape, handtags and Versalettes.

We can’t wait to hear everyone’s feedback, and don’t forget to share your favorite looks with us on our Tumblr page! Signing off with (hopefully) the last time we’ll thank you for your unbelievable patience : ) {r}

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Update #9

An Update on Versalette Shipping!

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As we're nearing the end of summer, we’re well aware of what’s on everyone’s mind:

WHEN AM I GOING TO GET MY VERSALETTE?!

We are continuing to send out small shipments (about 60-70 people) every week. With almost 1,400 orders placed, that’s a lot of small shipments.

Kickstarter backers are receiving their Versalettes first, then winter pre-sales customers, and then spring reservation-holders.

We have the majority of the sage shipped, almost all of the indigo (after this week), a quarter of the charcoal, and none of the cherry (the sew shop will start on those next week!).

Below are estimated dates of when we expect to ship out the remaining colors:

August 30 – September 7: INDIGO
September 14 – 28: CHERRY
October 6 – November 30: CHARCOAL

If you had told us at the end of our Kickstarter campaign that it would take almost a year to fulfill these orders, we wouldn’t have believed you. But as we’ve learned, setbacks, delays, and poor time estimation are part of the territory we entered when we set off to do something that hasn’t been done before.

We’ve been getting some incredible feedback from those customers who have already received their Versalettes, and we look forward to hearing from the rest of you in the coming months.

Signing off with our one-millionth “thank you,”

Shannon & Kristin


Update #8

Production Update: What Happened in North Carolina?

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When we booked my flight to Charlotte on Friday we were stressed, unsure, and frustrated.

We couldn’t reason why production was taking so much longer than originally estimated, and why there were so many recurring issues. We wondered if we should start looking for a completely different manufacturer — even this late in the game.

I pulled up to our sew shop early Tuesday morning with a pit in my stomach. It wasn’t the confrontation that I was nervous about, but the feeling of this is it. We’re either going to figure this out — or the whole project is going to go up in flames. (Dramatic? Maybe.)

My anxiety grew as I waited for Ellen, the manager of the sew shop, and looked over the box of “unshippable” Versalettes we had sent back for repairs.

But as the hours went by, and as I spent time with Ellen and her team, the anxiety started to subside. They walked me through the entire line of making one Versalette and it was far more clear why production is taking so long.

This is a slow, down-home, hand-sewn process. And — it’s the South. Things just take a little more time to “cook” in these parts. Sure, we were promised a deadline (a few times, actually) but unforeseen issues have come up as the women get deeper into the sewing.

There are three main things slowing the project down.

1.) The recycled fabric. It’s a difficult material to work with. For one, it curls — making it more challenging to sew a straight seam. Second, it grows, which means it stretches and retracts in different ways when handled. They have to go slow through the sewing machine, and there’s no way to control the way the fabric “behaves.”

2.) The pockets. Because of the growing and curling of the fabric, it’s very difficult to evenly place the pockets. While I was there, we worked on creating a different template for measuring and marking, and they’re now putting the pockets on last — after the seam and hems have been sewn.

3.) The hem. Some of the Versalettes we sent back to the sew shop had messy, jagged edges. Ellen and Carol came up with a different solution to the hem — and although it will add to production cost and take a little more time — it will look a lot cleaner.

We have four people working on our line: Mr. Bobby who cuts the fabric, Beverly who sews the drawstrings into the seams, Dee who sews the hem, and Amy who measures and marks the pockets.

When I said goodbye to everyone yesterday I felt good. I had a new appreciation for the process and a better understanding of the delays.

We could have taken our business overseas and had twice as many Versalettes a long time ago — but that isn’t what this is about. We — and you — are providing jobs to Americans, who can make a living wage and go home to their kids at 4pm. That feeling sunk in even more after this trip.

Our team is working hard. They’re outputting 15 Versalettes a day with the goal of 30 as they get more practice. And they’re being patient with the difficult task we’ve given them.

We’ll try to be patient, too. {r}

The sew shop is sending another batch of sage Versalettes today. Kristin’s parents will ship them out next week, and we’ll be sending an email to the remaining customers of that batch!

{A special thanks to my dad for the moral support, and to Kristin for holding down Portland with the interns.}

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Update #7

From PDX to CLT: Shannon’s Impromptu Visit to the Sew Shop

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There are things we haven’t talked about.

Two weeks ago, we wrote about our “unorthodox” shipping methods (my parents basement, some OCD organization, and a thousand labeled biodegradable mailers).

Soon after, we got our first small shipment of sage Versalettes from the sew shop. It was FREAKING EXCITING and my parents sent us photos as they opened the boxes. For the most part, we were thrilled.

But as they started putting Versalettes into envelopes and looking over each one, they noticed a few looked a little too hand-sewn. So we pulled those out and shipped the rest.

We figured that each batch would be a little more consistent. But then the second shipment came in, and last week the third.

On Friday morning, my mom called and said, “I don’t know what’s normal for a sew shop in North Carolina versus a factory in China, but I don’t think these are being inspected properly…” She sent a few pictures. We had a minor panic attack.

For the past six months, we’ve been hounding our sew shop for timelines and pricing; e-mailing, calling, or texting almost every day. We did everything we could to stick to the plan.

But on Friday, we decided it was time to take the next step. We called a few mentors and within hours, booked Shannon a flight to Charlotte.

I drove her to the Portland airport yesterday, and she’s spending all of today in the shop to figure out where the weak spots are and to make sure that we’re getting the quality control, inspection, and service that we (and you) deserve.

We want the best. If even one Versalette isn’t up-to-par, then we don't want to send it to you. It’s been so long in the making — and, you all know, we’ve encountered setbacks at every turn.

But there’s a bottom line. It’s not about time, and it’s never been about money — it’s about producing the best garment possible. Shannon will be writing about her visit on Thursday, and we’ll know more about what’s going on and how we’re going to move forward.

On a much more awesome note, we’re starting to get feedback from our backers who did receive Versalettes, and we’re hearing good things. There is nothing (nothing!) like reading a comment like this, and we’re looking forward to feedback from everyone as we work out these final kinks. {r}

Much Love,

K&S


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