A Maker’s Row Success Story: Nula

We hope that with longer-lasting styles, we are making sustainable, USA-made kids clothes more accessible for parents. – Erica Murphy

We were happy to find out that, with the help of Maker’s Row, Nula was able to find obscure materials they had been looking for from US suppliers for their new children’s clothing line and launch their Kickstarter campaign. Erica Murphy and Ashlie Kodsy have been friends since middle-school and have been working towards starting their own business since they both attended college in NYC.  In college Ashlie studied fashion design and Erica studied business management.  After college, they got jobs in design, production, and business operations to gain experience.  Over time, they saw how purchases affect our health, our country, our planet and our future.  Being among the local, fair-trade, organic enthusiasts, they started to shift toward quality products over quantity. It was only natural for Erica and Ashlie to start making long-lasting cloths from sustainable materials to manufacture in the US.  Here is our interview with one of the founders, Erica Murphy:

Can you tell us about Nula and how it all got started?

We talked for years about combining our backgrounds in business and children’s wear to start Nula. The time was finally right last year to begin working on it. We were frustrated with extremely low quality clothes and lack of transparency around how things are made in this industry, and so at that point we knew we wanted to make better quality, eco-friendly clothes in the US.

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We started by talking to parents about it. Many said they liked the idea of buying these products, but found it difficult to pay higher prices for things that would be outgrown quickly. Our plans evolved from there, and we eventually created this line of kids styles where every style fits for three years. We hope that with longer-lasting styles, we are making sustainable, USA-made kids clothes more accessible for parents.

Why did you choose to produce in the USA?

Our goal was to start Nula without contributing to the problems common to this industry – exploitation of workers, destruction of the environment, decline of US manufacturing. So from the start, we knew we wanted to keep production in the US; we have stricter labor and environmental regulations here, and American manufacturers are in need of support.

Also, we wanted to make high-quality clothes, rather than cheap, disposable clothes. So it made sense to keep production in Los Angeles, where Ashlie can closely monitor every step of the process. It’s also easier to coordinate with local factories and more feasible to produce small quantities.

How were you searching for manufacturers before you discovered Maker’s Row?

We searched online and in the yellow pages. We didn’t have much luck, especially finding US suppliers for things like buttons and elastic. Many of the US manufacturers that are easy to find and contact are big companies that require large orders. Smaller factories that are able to work with new brands can be harder to get in touch with.

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How long did it take after using Maker’s Row to find a factory?

Maker’s Row changed everything. We found several manufacturing leads right away. The search features helped us find some of the more obscure materials we had been looking for from US suppliers, as well.

If you were to give one piece of advice to a new designer producing in the US, what would it be?

Be persistent. Keep reaching out, asking questions, learning, and evolving your ideas until you come up with a plan that works. Try not to get discouraged by the process, and don’t get too attached to an arbitrary timeline.

Can you tell us about your Kickstarter campaign?

We decided to create a Kickstarter campaign to see if there is demand for our products and to help cover the cost of our first production run. We’re pre-selling our first collection for girls – we plan to add boys styles down the road if our campaign is successful. We hope parents are excited about kids clothes that last and are made responsibly.

Nula website: http://www.nulakids.com/

Follow Nula on Twitter: @NulaKids

Kickstarter campaign: http://kck.st/17g9VUV

See more Maker’s Row success stories here: makersrow.com/stories