Made to Measure Blouses, Meet Careste
One of the highlights of founding a company is that I get to meet many inspiring women entrepreneurs. There is an understated, ‘we are in this together’ feeling among most women who I meet, because if you are in business for yourself, some days can be harder than others. Recently I had the pleasure of meeting two of the founders behind Careste, a new made to measure brand that is shaking things up in the fashion world by answering a question to the following dilemma. Have you ever purchased a blouse off the rack and there is just a spot or two that you wish could be tailored to you? For example, the buttons maybe pop out ever so slightly around your bust area or the sleeves are too long. Well, Careste is fixing this with their 100% silk blouses. I caught up with one of the three co-founders, Celeste Markey who is the CEO and Co-Founder of the brand to see how it works, their philanthropic initiatives and what is next for the brand.
The Careste concept creates versatile and stylish made-to-measure silk blouses. How did the idea for the company come to fruition?
We wanted to find a solution to the challenges faced by nearly every woman of finding tops that fit their unique body and the enormous waste caused by large scale production. Except for the very few, who are willing to pay thousands of dollars for salon made garments, women have been forced to choose from mass produced, predetermined sizes. Tops that don’t fit are not only frustrating and time-consuming, they contribute to feelings of personal body negativity. In addition, mass production leads to excess inventory from unwanted styles, sizes, fabrics and other materials. When a woman wears a meticulously crafted, made-to-measure Careste garment, it feels chic and luxurious, fits precisely, and lasts a lifetime.
In a world of mass produced clothing, it is very unique and refreshing to see a brand creating a bespoke garment. How does the process work?
The process is surprisingly simple. Customers follow our quick and easy-to-use self measuring fit tutorial. We collect 8 measurement points that are converted by our proprietary algorithm into a form that enables our factory to create and digitally store an exclusive pattern for each customer. When desired, customers can speak with our fit concierge, who will walk them through the measurement and order process. Each garment is custom made in 8 days and delivered to its destination 2-3 days later.
There are three founders that work across the brand. How did you all meet and how do you divide and conquer to run the company?
Elizabeth and I were introduced by a mutual fashion industry friend. Hilary and I had been working together on a separate project. The three of us hit it off immediately and so we dove into concepting. We are an extremely collaborative team, and we thrive off of the banter and team energy. Even after 12 hour work days, we will still text each other into the night! Truly we love working together and working on Careste. As for dividing and conquering, Hilary manages all things digital marketing, Elizabeth is our creative director and I am the CEO, or chief cook and bottle washer. Really we all wear a million hats, especially at this early stage.
You have all founded businesses in the past (amazing!), what have you learned about running a business that has helped you grow your newest endeavor?
The power of a great team. You can have the best idea in the world but if you have internal disharmony it is going to make achieving milestones and driving a business difficult. With the right team aligned behind an awesome vision you can move mountains and you can do so quickly.
The brand creates capsule collections where proceeds given to women and wildlife organizations. Why was this so important for the company right out of the gate?
We strongly believe in supporting and empowering women on their creative and professional journeys. Not everyone has the opportunity or know-how to start a business or further their career. It is important to us to help bridge that gap and provide necessary resources, whether emotionally or financially, to women in need. Additionally, we are constantly bombarded by negative climate change news as well as distressing statistics about habitat destruction. We are a California based brand, we care deeply about our environment environment, and feel compelled to do our part to support conservation and nature in whatever way we can.
There are a few silhouettes to choose, which have been the most popular?
What’s next for the brand? Will there be additional ready to wear items available down the pipeline?
Yes, absolutely! We have plans to not only increase our measurement offering but also expand into dresses and coordinated separates down the road.
Careste in a few words…
Careste is the first to bring the world of made-to-measure, luxury couture within the reach of every woman.
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Images courtesy of brand