I began nurturing the idea for Bata in February of 2020 and I'm now preparing to launch my website this month. Bata NYC is a clothing and lifestyle label with creativity, inclusivity, social responsibility at its core. I was inspired to start my own label when I was on the search for a particular style of pants only to find how difficult it was to find stylish and high-quality options that actually fit my body type.
Thankfully, I was able to use the skills I learned from my CAD class at LIM to use Illustrator to create my logo and start sketching ideas. Doing this in the beginning and having these skills made me feel like I could really make this a reality. I was interning at Area Studio in SoHo at the time, working with the Production Manager to liaise with factories and oversee the production of their SS20 collection. This experience provided so much insight into what it actually takes to produce a collection and revealed to me that I can do it too. Because the cost of production through a NYC based factory can be expensive, I decided to hold off production of my designs and start small with some fabrics I had already acquired and produce my first capsule of recycled leather tops that I made by hand in Brooklyn.
I spent much of quarantine hand cutting and grommeting a total of 13 tops, and spent last Tuesday in a studio with a group of lovely people who came out to photograph the collection. I would say the most challenging part of this process was working through my nerves and all the doubts about “What if nobody likes what I make?” and “How will this be successful?” I realized that so long as I am being true to myself and making things with love and intention, people who connect with that message will always be drawn towards it.
I kept a lot of my ideas to myself until I was ready, mainly out of fear of judgement, only to find an overwhelming amount of support and interest as I began unveiling my business. I have been having so much fun building this idea, and I feel like I have in many ways liberated myself in finding this space for expression and sharing that I created for myself that could go on to create generational wealth for myself and my community.
My advice to anyone with a passion or an idea for a business is to allow yourself to indulge and start the process. For me, creating a mock-up of how my website would look and what it would say, using the website-builder Squarespace, is what made my idea feel more tangible. Figure out what's best for you, what you want to put out into the world, and start the process! I am very passionate about uplifting others and sharing knowledge and have dedicated a highlight reel on the Bata NYC (@bata.nyc) Instagram page to share more about the steps I take behind the scenes to build and protect my business.