We love style and substance. Since launching in 2017, Worthy Threads children’s clothes have been featured in Parents Magazine, Harper’s Bazaar, Marie Claire and The Today Show. They recently added adult pieces on one of my go-to sites – Shopbop, and are continuing to grow both their adult and children’s lines.Their tie dye garments (sweatshirts, t-shirts and joggers) are a favorite among influencers and celebrities (most recently seen on Andy Cohen). Today we’re talking to Jessica Chappel Kremen, Worthy Threads head designer and co-founder.
Thanks for speaking with us Jessica! Can you tell us about your background, what you did previously, and what led you to become a children’s fashion designer?
My background was in digital advertising where I worked on both the agency side and the publisher/portal side to create media plans and execute buys. I have no previous background in either the children or fashion space. In fact, my love of fashion came a little later in life. When I was in middle and high school, I just wanted to blend in. I would never have dreamed of making bold fashion choices. It wasn’t until I graduated college and began working and buying my own clothes did I realize my passion for fashion. I became very aware of personal style and how that could speak volumes about you. Once I had my daughter, I noticed how much thought I put into every one of her outfits. I remember feeling so flattered when we walked into baby class one morning and someone proclaimed that my daughter looked like she walked out of an Anthropologie catalog. I had a running list of independent clothing brands for her and would stalk their websites for new arrivals. It wasn’t until my son was born that I funneled my passion and excitement into designing specific pieces for them.
In your opinion, what’s a great outfit for a kid? What do you think having a sense of style can do for your confidence at an early age?
In my opinion, a great outfit for a kid is similar to one as an adult. It’s one you haven’t seen everywhere. It’s one that sparks joy and conversation. I used to be too nervous to wear ‘loud’ pieces or ones that aren’t necessarily in style at the moment, but now I strive to do just that. I think having a strong personal style does a lot for the imagination and one’s confidence. I know when I feel great in an outfit, I am more courageous and self-assured. I think the same goes for our children. My daughter is really shy, but she blossoms when she wears a Worthy piece people tell her how adorable she looks. She consistently chooses Worthy pieces to wear on her own because of how it makes her feels.
Why do you think we should invest in clothing for children (rather than “disposable” clothing)?
This is a great question! With all this fast fashion going on, we felt it was more important to create timeless designs with quality materials making them live up to their Worthy name. Given that all of our products are made in the USA, we are able to stay extremely involved in the manufacturing process and produce less waste. Our pieces are thoughtfully created making them built to last. They are those heirloom type pieces that people are hoping you will pass down for generations. Sustainability as a brand is something we are really focused on. We are constantly looking for new ways to leave the world a better place for our children. We are making an effort to be more conscious of the environment from recyclable packing materials to giving customers new ways to recycle our clothing, it’s a big initiative for us right now.
Can you give any words of advice for other STAMs who have an idea, or who want to start their own business? What are some of the trials you and Lily faced when getting started?
Just do it. I was so nervous about starting Worthy Threads. I was nervous people wouldn’t like the designs or discredit my abilities in fashion design, but mostly I was scared to fail. Once Lily and I teamed up, a lot of these nerves went away since I had someone who felt the same way I did. Once we teamed up, all I had left was my intense excitement for the amount of work we had ahead of us. I remember the uphill battle we had of finalizing our designs, manufacturing them (Lily initially did all of the manufacturing from her kitchen table), building a website (I had no previous skills here), marketing, trademarking, and so much more. One thing I am relieved we agreed on from the start was to outsource photography and accounting. We both strongly felt that good photography could make the brand feel so much legitimate from the beginning. (Thank you Jenny Lynn Photography!) When people came to our site and saw how amazing the photos were that it was just Lily and I working from home on the business. A great accountant came later, but it isn’t any less important. Our accountant makes sure our taxes are paid correctly and on time. Thank goodness for people like that! Bottom line is, the worst thing that could happen is your business doesn’t work out, but you gain so much experience and knowledge from getting it started. The bad significantly outweighs the good.
With Thanks to Jessica,
Once an Estée Lauder Marketing Executive, Michelle is now a Care Skincare Staff Writer and a big fan of their simple approach to skincare. She lives with her husband and two small children, who keep her busy 23/7.