Woodley + Lowe

I am excited to share with you a conversation with friends that recently started a new direct-to-consumer-retail company, Woodley + Lowe. It is a loungewear fashion company directed for the younger generation that is smart, interesting, as well as comfy, cozy, and fashionable. It is just the beginning! Check out the questions and answers with the founders and check out Woodley + Lowe!

 

Who is your target customer? Who are they? Where do they live? What do they like to do?

 

Basic but not so basic.

 

This question turned out to be harder to answer than you might expect.  I know, from a business and marketing perspective, having a very specific image of your “target customer” is important, but so much of what our brand is about is accepting that our fans don’t fit just one “type”.  She might be athletic, she might be artsy, she might be social, she might be shy—she might even be all of the above.  (We even recognize that, while we use the she/her pronouns, we would love to see non-binary or cis-male fans in our clothes as well!). That said, generally speaking, she’s high school or college aged, passionate, authentic, and connected to her community.  She’s tired of having to choose between inexpensive fast-fashion that doesn’t last and popular women’s brands that are too expensive or don’t quite fit her style.  She’s looking for a brand that speaks specifically to her, and not her mom or her younger sister.

 

What makes you different / sets you apart from competitors?

Size chart. Looks like a complex scientific graph.

 

 

Our biggest differentiator is our approach to size.  We were frustrated with the “one size fits all” approach and message of other brands, and we wanted to create something that addressed more sizes and shapes.  Especially for teen girls, who are growing in all different ways and rates, we wanted to create a brand that everyone in a friend group could wear.  Having more sizes presented a challenge from a cost and logistics perspective, but it was really important to us.  We currently cover sizes from about 12/14 kids’ to size 10 women’s.  Our A-B-C-D-E system (and pants come in 2 lengths for each size) gives us the ability to add where we see demand—which brings me to our other differentiator….

 

We are all about listening to our fans and delivering what they want and need.  We want them to collaborate and co-create with us.  That’s why we’ve incorporated a lot of space on our website for photos of real girls in our clothes.  We love to see how they style them—everyone has a different take.  We also love to poll our followers on Instagram about new colors and designs they want to see.  It’s a win-win: they get to be involved in what we deliver, and we build an enthusiastic fan base.

 

What are your key items and what makes them special?

Current selection of items.

 

We wanted to launch with a really tight assortment—we’ll have 12 different styles to start—so picking one favorite is hard!  The key driver of our brand are the comfortable fabrics we selected across all pieces.  We feel really good about our Sweats category.  We began developing it even before that’s what everyone was living in.  Our Cozy Cloud Fleece, which is the base for all of it, is the softest blend of cotton, rayon, and recycled poly.  It literally feels like wearing a cloud (but warmer and dryer.) Once you put on our Comfy Crush Hoodie and Dream Joggers, you won’t want to take them off.

 

But we wanted to be more than just another Sweats brand.  We’re also really excited about our Elevated Essentials.  We used the same comfort-driven approach to create a few pieces for when you need something a little nicer than the just-off-the-couch look.  For example, we have a ruffled mini skirt and cropped rugby made from a soft and smooth modal fleece.  One of our Ambassadors joked “I could sleep in this and save time in the morning before school!”  Lastly, we’re rounding out our collection of essentials with a few Base Body Wear pieces: a bralette, a cami with built-in shelf bra, and, of course, some leggings.  Once again, we went for the comfort approach, so our fabric is not too tech-y, but equally wearable all day in class or out for a run.

 

Color palette — what’s the background on it and how did you decide?

Soft, pastel color palette.

 

Our color palette came about by polling our fans.  We found that what they really wanted were clothes in colors that they loved and make them feel good, and not necessarily tied to seasons.  So our launch collection is heavy on pastels, even though we knew we were launching for fall, because that’s what everyone was gravitating to.  Then we added some more neutral colors to help ground it—olive, vanilla, and our marine blue (which is like denim), and threw in orchid as a pop color.  We’re excited to get more active with our community in getting their feedback on colors, through our Instagram account and on Pinterest as well.

What is the meaning of your name? And how you started.

Logo

 

Just like much of our other decision making, our name came about through polls.  Before we even launched Woodley + Lowe, we set up an Instagram group of about 150 high school girls (mostly in NY, but some across the country), to help us with branding and other initial design decisions.  We brainstormed a number of different words and names that reminded us of high school/college (for example, Woodley is the road that my high school is on in Washington, DC), and then we polled our Instagram group.  Turns out they loved the idea of pairing two names together, and we did too.  It’s come to represent to us, as a brand, the yin and yang of everyone’s personality—sometimes you’re playful, sometimes you’re serious; some days you might want to dress up and go out with your friends, and other days you just want to sit in bed and watch Netflix.

 

What’s next with your collection? What can we see in the future?

What’s to come

 

We’re already well into development of our Spring drops.  Even though our pieces are meant to be worn year round, we know it’s important to infuse some newness. We’ll definitely carry over what we expect to be the most popular styles, and add some fun colors.  We’re also excited about some more summery pieces that have a kind of retro-summer-camp vibe. Mainly, we’re just excited to continue growing our collection of comfortable essentials to endlessly mix & match with each other or your other favorite pieces.

 

Where are the clothes created and made?

Fashion.

All our clothes are designed in NY and hand made in LA.  To be honest, being new to the fashion industry, I never really stopped to think about what really went into that.  Now I realize, when I see something cut a little off, or a label that’s not quite centered, I think about the fact that there was a real person cutting this fabric and sitting down to a sewing machine, and I find that really endearing.  It also helped me understand the prices that many good fashion brands charge, as it forced me to think about the fact that someone who is skilled at this craft took time to hand make what I’m wearing, and that person’s time and skill is worth something.

 

Ambassadors — tell me about them!

 

Ambassadors

 

We took a different marketing approach than most other direct-to-consumer start ups, who seemed to turn on a website with cool branding and then pour a bunch of money into Facebook and Instagram ads and watch people come to their site.  But we think the Gen Z consumer is savvier, and most of their purchase decisions come from “what are my friends wearing.”  So we decided to create an Ambassador program—real girls, not paid influencers—to sing our praises to their friends.  Ambassadors can apply through our website, and they’ll be emailed a few questions to answer about themselves.  We accept anyone who’s interested, as long as they’re 14 and older.  (If we get to a point where, logistically, we can’t handle the numbers, we may institute a waiting list, but everyone will eventually be accepted!) In exchange, they get a discount code and other perks, and we ask them to refer friends to shop and send us pictures for our website and social media.  So far we’ve loved getting to know this enthusiastic group!

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Thank you, Woodley + Lowe! I am inspired by female entrepreneurs that have a mission and accomplish what they set out to do! I can’t wait to get my hands on one of your hoodies!

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Teressa Foglia Hats

Late Spring, I went on a mad search for the perfect summer hat — I wanted something practical, comfortable, chic, and unique. It was way harder than expected as I didn’t just want a simple straw hat. I wanted something with a little more flair, personality, and character. So when I came across Teressa Foglia — I instantly fell head over heels. The first one has some embroidery details, straps, cowboy vibe. I loved it so much that when I was in LA, I made an effort to go to her Malibu store and fell in love with Teressa (holy cow, chic and beautiful as ever) and ALL OF HER HATS. I walked away creating another summer straw hat — with some leather, flower ribbons, and more of a hipster attitude. After weeks of wearing both hats daily, I purchased TWO MORE straw and basic hats that the kids and I have been using on all of our hikes, bikes, river, water adventures.

 

This is my first hat — but most recent picture (yesterday at Crater Lake). It has a cowboy look but I love the detailing and the straps.

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Friendship Beaded Pins

Going back old school — friendship beaded pins! When I realized that we were going to be at home for a loooooooong time, I realized I needed more activities that would interest both me and the kids. So I bought a ton of friendship bracelet embroidery thread as well as friendship glass beads to put on pins. It is simple and super easy but also fun and retro.

 

Big box of beautiful glass beads!

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Madewell x Warm Jean Shorts

One of my favorite clothing lines is Warm. Not only is it my favorite store in NYC (it carries all different lines not just Warm) but I am also friends with the designer, Winnie, who I love, respect, and adore. Everything Winnie does is GOLD and her style is impeccable. When she launched a collaboration with Madewell, I knew that I would love everything. Sure enough, I do. But especially the high rise denim shorts. LOVE oh love! They are so comfortable and the perfect fit. It comes with a belt that you can tie, but I prefer it without…. If you are looking to support small businesses, smart people, and a good look, then these are the shorts for you!

 

Shorts. Perfect color and fit.

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Josie Natori FW20 RTW

Last Thursday, Josie Natori presented Fall/Winter 2020 Ready To Wear. Unlike previous seasons, my mother in law decided to do a show/ presentation at her home versus renting out a space. The most fun and chaotic part about it is that the models were housed in our apartment to get dressed, hair and make up done. From 10 in the morning until 7 pm at night, our house transformed into a backstage of a photo shoot and runway show. In addition to the show itself, the highlight was having my son and his friends come over in the afternoon to get ready for their dancing school amidst a flood of models, hair and make-up artists, and show staff.

It looks calm at this very moment, but there were 40+ people there. Hair, make up, people who ironed, photographers, etc…

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Other Stories Socks

Currently, I am trying to dress more out of my comfort zone and take more risks. Like wearing ankle socks with skirts and pants, but showing off the socks. So in my attempt to be BRAVE, I searched high and low where to find the PERFECT ankle sock. And if you can believe it, it is way harder than one would expect! But thanks to the internet, Other Stories socks are the perfect ankle sock with pizazz, color, and fit!

 

And of course, I couldn’t just buy one, I had to get 4! And I cant wait to buy more….#hoarder

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Reebok Club C 85 Vintage

For the past several years, my go-to-sneakers have been the checkered slip on vans. And although I still love them (and believe they are a classic), I also don’t love the fact that EVERYONE and their mother wears them….so I have been searching for a new sneaker to wear. When I was in Paris this past summer, I noticed that white sneakers were having a big moment. The big fat ugly dad sneakers. And as cool as I think I am, I am not sure I can pull off that look. So I decided to go old school and bought the classic Reebok Club C 85 Vintage. And I have to tell you, I love them.

 

So 90s, so in love!

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Leopard Print Midi Skirt

I am a sucker for anything leopard print. I have always loved anything leopard but when it recently became on trend, I couldn’t help but buy anything and everything leopard. Over the past several years, I have collected a rather large assortment of leopard items. So when I read the article in the NYTimes about the Leopard Print Midi Skirt being a must have, and since it was the ONE item that I didn’t own in leopard, I knew that I had to join the trend (in this case, yes a follower). It arrived earlier this week and I am IN LOVE. LOVE oh so much. And by the way, I scoured the internet searching for the perfect leopard midi skirt, and ended up on the first one the NY Times recommended. I LOVE IT.

 

It is silk, comfortable, easy to wear.

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La Ligne Meredith Top

A lover of tank tops (and anything summer), I was thrilled when I came across this fun, easy, flirty top by La Ligne. The top is a ruched bodice (I love the ruched look — my wedding dress top was all ruched lace) and easy to pair with any high waisted pants, shorts, or skirts. I also love the subtle floral pattern and the girliness of it. I tend to not wear tight tops, and although this top is tight, it doesn’t feel revealing.

 

The shape is really simple — literally just a rectangle. But the ruching is what makes it hard to recreate….

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Painted Leather Jacket: Scarlett Cussell

And what do you know — summer is now upon us. It has been an insanely busy week with school ending and all the packing and planning and HOW DID TIME FLY feelings. So much to do, so little time. So instead of focusing on everything that needs to get done between now and Sunday when we depart NYC for the whole summer, here is my new favorite addition to my wardrobe! A leather jacket — and not just any leather jacket — a PAINTED leather jacket with so much symbolism and personal touches that it makes me cry out of happiness.

 

My jacket.

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CFDA Awards 2019

Every first Monday in June, I attend the CFDA Awards with my mother-in-law. It is a fun evening of wild fashion, mega celebrities, and creative fashion designers. Although no one cares about a stay-at-home-mom-math-tutor-lady, I thoroughly enjoy people watching and taking in all the fashion. Here are pictures of last night’s event! And to see all the professional shots of the evening, go here.

 

Getting ready is no joke! But of course, as it is the end of the year, I still have massive amounts of tutoring and family obligations to attend to….so I had my hair done in my tutoring session.

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Tusia Photo Shoot

Our next door neighbors run fashion house, Oscar de la Renta, and so when they approached us to see if Tusia would like to shoot for their kids ad campaign, we couldn’t say no. Although I am not a fan of the modeling business (what kind of message does it send the child? Is beauty more important than school? etc….), I felt that this was a once in a lifetime experience that we couldn’t pass up — not many people can say that their first and only photo shoot was for Oscar de la Renta. Last Friday was definitely a learning experience for the two of us — surrounded by new things and processes…  I am not sure I love any of it — regardless, I am so happy that we did it. And absolutely everyone involved in the photo shoot was kind, loving, and thoughtful. Take a look at the behind the scene pics — and as soon as we get the final photos (if she doesn’t get cut — you never know!), I will share!

 

First, we had a fitting two days before the shoot. During this fitting, it was also a try out for the other models. The other four models were professional and hired children models — a very dark and weird place (IMHO).

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Arizona Love Tevas

Last summer, I splurged on Chanel Tevas — and I wore them all day every day. They made me so happy because they were the perfect mixture of how I see myself: half city girl, half hippy chick. That said, I never wanted to hike in them because although they are technically tevas, they still are Chanel and are not hiking worthy. So last month when a friend introduced me to Arizona Love tevas, I fell in love AGAIN and knew I had to buy two pairs immediately. Arizona Love tevas are a true combination of uniqueness and practicality. A little bit of flair and a whole lot of comfort. LOVE LOVE LOVE them.

 

My issue was that I couldn’t decide on just one, so I had to buy two. But knowing me and my summer lifestyle, I will get  use out of both of them.

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Braided Hair

As a gift for my birthday this past Saturday, I was sent a hair stylist and make up artist by the CEO of Glamsquad. She is the mother of one of my students and insisted that she was sending the best of the best to make me feel special on my special day. I don’t love getting my hair and make up done, but this time, I told them I was open to them doing whatever they wanted (more flexibility when you turn 40?!?!?). And holy smokes, I was so happy with the result. I loooooooooove my hair and now if I get my hair done, I am going to show them pictures of this because I loved it so much.

 

I told the stylist that I loved braids but could do a crown braid myself, so to do something different and unique. The top portion is a normal inside out braid and then it goes in to a fish tail braid.

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Down Leg Warmers

I know, I know, I included these down leg warmers in a post last month, but they are so good that I needed to create a post devoted solely to them. As I mentioned before, a good friend gave them to me saying that “they were so me.” And she was so right — they are so me — anything that shimmer and shines I love (metallic, sparkle, sequin) AND they are practical and useful (I am one of those devoted sneaker wearers because heels are not practical). Since New York is freezing cold in the winter and I continue to run outside in the winter months, these leg warmers are a game changer. This past week, in 22 degrees (where it actually felt more like 13 degrees), these leg warmers kept me toasty warm. I never feel cold when I am wearing them! So if anyone is a runner in the cold weather and wants to be warmer — these are a must. A MUST.

 

Yep, down leg warmers. They literally make your (almost) naked legs feel so toasty and warm!

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Natori Botanica PJ

Last week, Ken came home from work to find me and the kids lying in our pajamas reading books. Not that this was an unusual sight at all, but I was in brand new Natori pajamas and he didn’t blink an eye. When I asked him what he thought of my new pajamas, he said that he thought I was wearing a new outfit (vs new pajamas). One of the many reasons I love my husband is that he is oblivious to my crazy patterned clothes and outfits — to him, this set of pajamas was a new outfit. I do have to give him credit though, because the pajama outfit is a current trend and more and more people are dressing in beautiful silky looking pajamas for a night look. See this article from two weeks ago in US Weekly of “Celebrities are Rocking Pajamas Like Streetwear.”

 

These are NOT the new pajamas — this was me at a store trying on a pajama STREETWEAR look. I was intrigued by the idea, but then didn’t end up buying it….

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CFDA Awards 2018 Recap

On Monday, I attended the CFDA Awards with my mother-in-law. Held at the Brooklyn Museum, it was a night full of glamour, fashion, celebrities, and celebration. It is always fun to go with my mother-in-law as she is part of the fashion scene, whereas, I am in fact not.  This awards ceremony was even more glamorous than usual, making it an even more fun than usual.

 

Going to these awards ceremonies also means that I need to dress the part. Which in my case, means getting out of my sweats or jeans, and putting on a dress and heels. My shoes for the night. And yes, they feel as tall and uncomfortable as they look. After years of exclusively wearing sneakers and sandals, these were a MOTHER difficult choice of a footwear.

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CFDA 2018 Prep

Tonight is the CFDA awards; the Oscars for fashion designers (and “the biggest night in Fashion you have probably never heard of“). And for the fourth year in a row, I have the privilege of attending. Although I am a big nobody at these award shows, it is still fun to get all dressed up and see all these celebrities up close and personal.  While I’m not overly excited about Kim Kardashian, I am SUPER excited that my girl crush Busy Phillips will be there — who I love with all my heart. I am going to make it a mission to seek her out and tell her how much I love her….I hope it’s not awkward. BUT I LOVE HER.

 

CFDA 2017. Me and my hubba hubba date, Ken Natori.

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Sabyasachi Indian Designer

While in India for a friend’s wedding, I had the privilege of wearing the most beautiful Sabyasachi sari. Before our trip, a friend lent it to me saying that it was by “the biggest Indian designer” and that everyone would know what it was one when they saw it. TRUTH! As soon as I was dressed for the night of the ceremony, everyone approached me asking how an ignorant white American girl got her hands on one. Literally, everyone knew.

 

The sari is a three piece ordeal: a top (bra like), a skirt, and then the wrap over it all.

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Indian Wedding – Part 1

Hello from India!  Ken and I have had a whirlwind week, flying to India to celebrate the wedding of our friends.  For a number of reasons, (spotty wi-fi, severe jet lag, a packed schedule, #DelhiBelly), I won’t be able to post in detail until I get back to New York on Saturday (solo.. eeks… Ken is meeting with potential suppliers here and then flying on to Manila), but here are some quick pics of our wedding outfits in the meantime.. Enjoy!

 

There were a lot of parties. This was the first party on Day 1. Some people were in Indian outfits, others were in dresses. I decided to wear a top and skirt that looked both Indian and American — I love the color and the fit.

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Interview with Sold Out Founders

On Monday, I highlighted Sold Out NYC, my new collection of sweatshirts that I wear every. single. day… — they are just so easy, comfortable, and good looking! Today, we meet the gorgeous, smart, and talented co-founders Kiane and Kate. Take a look, and thank you Kiane and Kate — you are such empowering and inspirational women!!!

 

Kate and Kiane — and can we talk about how cool, hip, stylish and gorgeous they are? DAMN.

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Greats Royale Shoes

Earlier this Fall, I saw one of my besties with the perfect shoe on, and so….I bought them for myself! They are the perfect luxe, high-end sneaker, with great Italian leather, but at an accessible price point. The brand is Greats, and great indeed they are. They are basic and subtle, but made with the most perfect quality material.

 

Biffle got the blush perforated version of the shoe.

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