It has been said that necessity is the mother of invention, and for this Milwaukee-based momtrepreneur, necessity has also been a muse. Amy Fallucca is the CEO of Bravent, the Human Resources firm she launched in 2016 when she discovered her corporate job would not accommodate her need for a flexible work schedule after the birth of her first child. She has again found business inspiration from her own life.
The avid runner was frustrated with the sports bras and tanks that filled her dresser drawers. Regardless of how much she spent on her athletic wear, the garments always came with bra cups that would shift, bunch up in the laundry, get lost, or find countless other ways to be a nuisance to the athletes wearing them.
After years of fighting with removable bra cups, she’d had enough, but she could not find a product with supportive, fixed cups on the market. For her, the solution seemed clear: she’d make the product she needed herself.
Born of necessity, Comfyist was founded on April 30, 2021, when Fallucca decided to solve this problem for female athletes and the growing market of those who are turning to athleisure wear for their everyday apparel. The straight-sized clothing line will focus on luxury fabrics and high-end trims in a quest to take its customers from a workout to a night out on the town. She is ready to take on the powerhouses in the athleisure wear market, like lululemon and Athleta, but she plans to do it on her own terms. The 40 Under 40 alum has decided to launch her company without the support of investors or venture capital.
“I might try to avoid it,” she said. “It’s an area I’m not as familiar with. I’ve done a lot of work with private equity on companies, but venture capital, seed capital, not as much. I certainly asked around for advice regarding that, and the advice that I’ve gotten is, if you can do it on your own, do it on your own. I’m a bootstrap kind of girl. (Which is) not to say that in the future, if I’m approached by someone with something that makes sense, that I consider it. But it’s not something I’ve actively pursued yet.”
The innovative garment is being created with Minnesota-based Clothier Design Source, a manufacturer that specializes in supporting new designers from the idea stage to completion of the product. Using the program Apparel Mentor, Clothier Design Source teaches designers about the garment industry while developing their product. She hopes to manufacture camisoles in the U.S.
“That’s my hope,” she said. “I’ve just heard such horrible stories about factories overseas, (and their) labor practices, and I try to live my life in a more ethical consumer way as I become more aware of those practices. I really would love to produce them in the United States. I think it’s also great to be able to go visit the factory and meet the people that you’re working with. I think one of my challenges is just going to be the cost. I initially, with no information, had assumed it would be, maybe two or three times as much to produce in the United States. And some of the initial range (estimates), if it ends up on the higher end of that range. It’s more like 10 times more expensive.”
Like much of manufacturing, supply chain issues and the labor shortage have impacted Comfyist’s roll out. Initially, Fallucca planned for a December 2021 roll out. But it is likely the camisole, which is still in the prototype stage, won’t hit shelves until sometime in 2022.
MKEStartUp.News will follow this journey through the Pattern Grading stage, and into the manufacturing of Comfyist Camisoles. Join us as we check in with Fallucca in a few weeks when she receives the second of the anticipated four prototypes of her garment. We’ll learn just what it takes to create and produce a new piece of clothing.