We love seeing American Made blossom, and it’s all thanks to the strength of relationships between factories and brands. This week we sat down with Marina Barnes to hear how she is using Maker’s Row to launch her business.
The Beginning Of Racysuits
Racysuits is a New York City-based clothing company offering premium bodysuits and catsuits fitting for sports or leisure. Marina Barnes, the founder, was inspired to create the young company after rediscovering the fashion of her grandfather. In the 1980’s, Marina’s grandfather Bob Bernard was a professional ski-racer who became fascinated by the work of Norma Lausmann. Norma Lausmann handcrafted flashy body suits, and Bob was determined to have one of her signature suits.
In 2009, Marina started wearing the bodysuits again at festivals and other events. The responses and reactions that she received convinced her that “there was something more” and these have to get to more people. She started small, “I ordered a sewing machine on Amazon, getting old samples from Norma shipped to me and trying to hire someone to come to my house to sew the samples. But my tech job was the main daily focus and everything was happening at a glacial pace. I decided to save for a few months and I switched to full-time Racysuits in June 2015.” So in September 2015 Racysuits launched its website. Ready to offer quality body suits.
Once Marina was ready to take on Racysuits full-time she hired a technical designer to help her with grading, sampling, and pattern-making. She said she “got lucky” because she was able to find someone who could do all those things without using any references. Once samples and prototypes were done, Marina was ready to take it to the next level and manufacture her first small batch of bodysuits.
In August 2015, while attending a General Assembly class on e-commerce product to concept, she became very overwhelmed by researching factories. She describes her frustration as “google search was too broad and I didn’t know if I could trust those companies.” So she reached out to her General Assembly instructor, Chad Rubin, who recommended Maker’s Row.
After reaching out to a few factories, Marina decided to partner with American Spandex to produce her small batch. While visiting American Spandex in Long Island, Marina met with Raymond Mora. When asked why she chose that factory, Marina said “You just go with your gut. Raymond spent 2.5 hours with me and gave me a lot of direction. I can call him and he picks up. I can text him. That played a big role in my decision.”
Working with experienced makers made the process enjoyable and comforting. To provide warmth, bodysuits require thick layers of fabric. Raymond was able to give his expertise advise on efficient ways to produce the product. Marina really appreciated Raymond’s partnership in the development of the product because “each order involves a lot of fabric and quality is worth it.”
Currently, Racysuits can be spotted at the latest ski and surf events. Marina shares “Now that I am giving it my full attention we are picking up momentum. Also, I love running Racysuits, it is incredibly rewarding to spend all your time doing something you love!” Marina is looking forward to her first order being completed and ready for Spring Launch. As the company continues to grow, Marina said she will continue to look for experienced professionals on Maker’s Row because “you’re never done finding the perfect fabric. There is always room for improvement.”
When asked what she loves about Maker’s Row, Marina highlighted the online community. “Coming from a corporate ad tech background and transitioning to small business/e-commerce, I realized I needed online resources the most. I love that I can be very scrappy, and living in NYC I can even walk into the garment district alone….There is a lot of information about how to start a business, and what to look out for. A year ago I didn’t think that was possible.” Marina suggests Maker’s Row for not only finding a factory, but also for being a part of a strong community that inspires and equips aspiring entrepreneur to take the leap and start their business.
Check out the fun and funky Racysuits for more!
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