As someone who is still struggling to build my shop, I have adopted a very strong “pay it forward attitude” toward other small businesses, and when my friend Patricia of Bolero put me in touch with P.D. Roche and her brainchild “Hot Women Clothing,” I was not only intrigued by the concept but also wanted to help P.D. gain exposure for her brand. Like many people living in the south, especially those suffering from the dreaded hot flashes, P.D. tried everything to beat the heat but felt the heavy use of synthetic fabrics, particularly in lounge and nightwear, were at odds with keeping her cool. She wanted to upgrade her favorite worn in tee shirt into something just as breathable and relaxed but with a little more color and style. When I spoke with P.D., I thought the products were a natural fit for our store, not only for menopausal women but for anyone needing cotton sleepwear. Furthermore, many of our lounge pieces, even the cotton ones, are only available in Small to X-Large, with a max size range of 0 to 14. Our wonderful inbetweenies and plus-size customers felt neglected, but Hot Women Clothing specifically caters to fuller-figures. Don’t let the use of Medium to X-Large terminology confuse you. All of the Hot Women Clothing pieces are over-sized, meaning her mediums cater to size 12-18 depending on how relaxed you prefer her fit. In fact, the gorgeous zebra robe has a 60″ circumference to accommodate a range of sizes. Finally, Hot Women Clothing is another “Made in the USA” product, and we all know how I feel about that! We are currently stocking an assortment in the shop right now and will be adding them to the online portal soon. All her products are made from 100% cotton (and not that cheap thin stuff you can see through either), and are priced between $52 and $65. Enough of my gabbing, let’s talk with P.D.!
Hot Women Clothing
Founder/Designer- Ms. P.D. Roché
P.D., tell me a little bit about how Hot Women Clothing started?
My ad-man husband and I moved from Sausalito, CA. to play on the beautiful, tropical beaches in South Florida. Then menopause hit and hot flashes became unbearable. The only time I felt comfortable was inside, under the AC and buck-naked under an old, oversized t-shirt, but I would have to run for a robe to answer the door. When I couldn’t find fun and affordable cotton frocks, I decided to use my previous fashion experience and have a few easy-breezy house dresses made. Neighborhood ladies asked me to make some for them to wear to the pool, word got out, and other hot flashing women commiserated that they too were having a hard time finding breathable cotton clothing. After some research and finding that approximately 3 billion women worldwide are experiencing some form of menopause and hot flashes being a part of it, my hubby and I decided to bite-the-bullet and create Hot Women Clothing company.
What makes your company stand out from the crowd?
Hot Women Clothing is one of the few garment lines made from 100% Cotton fabric, Made in America and expressly created to “comfortably drape the body and still look cute” for women experiencing hot flashes.
What do you hope to accomplish with the business?
#1 An income. #2 To feel creative and productive by providing sustainable and popular choices of breathable clothing. #3 Employ people and help mentor aspiring entrepreneurs.
Are you making progress with your goals?
Yes. Slowly but surely. We are now in the largest lingerie store in Palm Beach County, building relationships with more and more buyers, but most affirming and encouraging is having people like Patricia-Bolero Beachwear and you show a genuine interest in us.
Patricia is such an amazing friend, I have to say. It’s good to hear you are making progress, but have you had any issues? Have you made any mistakes?
Yes, creating too many styles too fast before we have orders. (As my Grandmother would say- “you have a habit of putting the cart before the horse.”)
What kind of future plans do you have?
Post new fabrics, designs, behind the scenes pics on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, show more buyers what and who we are, and keep producing more styles! (I can hear my grandmother saying “You can’t change spots on a dog” right now.)
What advise do you have for other entrepreneurs?
Try not to put the cart before the horse and don’t lose your sense of humor! Find your comfort zone, aka passion/experience and a gap in the market. In our case it was: six months of researching the risks which obviously didn’t stop us. (“Come on- Retail and Manufacturing? How risky can you get? This is also my third company attempt and more potential for feeling like a failure, once again?!) Although, when your best girlfriend gives you $5 grand and says “just do it” we got serious. We bought a used PC and iPad, sketched out 3 styles, found fabric, paid 8 supposed, professional pattern makers/Sewers to make samples, and when that failed we frantically scoured every nook and cranny for a sewing contractor to produce our first few styles, did a photo shoot ourselves, used our friend/investor as a fit and photo model, got a supposed, easy to manage website and then paid a website designer to re-do it! Then business cards, banners, and a mannequin for trade show.
That’s a good point about how business costs add up. Whenever I get asked for advice by people wanting to open a lingerie store, my first response is “Whatever you think your budget is, double it. Minimum.” There’s a lot of hidden costs you don’t factor into the equation. Now that you have some products to sell, what’s your personal favorite?
While working in the house-office I live in our Zebra Strappy Gown and Kimono Wrap Robe. Perfectly acceptable attire for when the UPS or FedX guys knock. I’m excited also about our new gauzy tunics that are almost done too.
Have you received any negative feedback at all?
I hear “I wouldn’t pay more than $10 for your Nightie.” My response is “May I ask where you buy 100% cotton nighties currently for $10? And do you care if your clothes are made in the U.S.?” I relish all comments pertaining to our products, good or bad. I beg everyone for feedback!
Entrepreneurship has a strong burnout component. Have the setbacks made you feel like giving up at all?
No, that’s not going to happen anytime soon. I truly love fabrics, “the touch, the feels of cotton”, the challenge of producing clothing that FEELS comfortable, LOOKS attractive and is in that AFFORDABLE zone keeps me motivated, and more women are telling me daily they are coping with hot flashes and looking for relief also.
Has there been anyone who inspired you or helped pave the way for you? Perhaps gave you inspiration?
In the 70’s-early 90’s I modeled for hundreds of designers and the Missonis were the most inspiring. Ty, the patriarch, now deceased, was sketching his infamous designs in a notebook one day in the showroom and told me that to know your passion you will breathe it, taste it, and dream about it. Then there was Jane Keel, Fashion Coordinator for Marshal Fields that said I had potential in the fashion industry.
That must have been wonderful!
Yes, and then I had a fabulous and former N.Y. hi-end Pattern Maker contact us and say she wanted to come back to work for us. Makes me smile when paths cross and people find each other, and I think most everyone wants to feel connected with people. Helping one another shows hope.
Do you feel there is anything that needs to change in your industry?
I’d like ALL American garment designers and producers to stop using off-shore sewers, synthetic (petroleum based, unnatural, non sustainable fabrics) and pay a decent wage. Yes, there will be less profit margin, and yes, we will all pay more. That’s the hard truth-but the beautiful part is we will proudly help resurrect-MADE IN THE U.S.A., employ more Americans and wear quality clothing.
I’d love to see a Made in the USA resurrection! I’d rather pay for quality clothing but have less of us it, but I know it’s not always sustainable for businesses right now to adopt a Made in the USA model or for people to pay the added costs. It’ll be interesting to see whether any changes will be made which give Americans this opportunity. Outside of trying to promote Made in American prodcuts, what do you think has had one of the biggest impacts for your business?
On the positive, more and more women reaching menopause and looking for breathable clothing. On the negative, some ladies have worn synthetic clothing most of their lives, which can be washed and dried over night and tossed in a drawer. Breathable cotton takes a little more care although we are finding some new woven cottons that are pretty effortless. Example: I love Eileen Fisher’s woven cotton pieces.
Okay enough business. Let’s have some fun. Favorite recipe. Go!
BBQ Fish Sauce everyone raves about! In a small saucepan, sauté 1-2 T. Garlic until golden brown in 1/2 stick o’ Butter. Add 1-2 T. Green Onion and or Scallions, 1 C. Soy Sauce, 1 T. Worstershire Sauce, 1 T. Sugar, 1/2 tsp. Liquid Smoke (in regular grocery stores by specialty condiments) and finally 1-2 T fresh Lemon. Simmer on low for 10-15 mins. Use right away or Cool, Cover and keep in fridge for weeks! Freezes well also.
Do you have any secret talents?
I compost really well.
Buy anything amazing lately? Disliked anything?
Love an Eileen Fisher cotton top I found in a consignment store at half her retail price! Hate the usually super comfortable and hand-made in Italy Donald Pliner sandals that I bought online which claimed they were crafted in Italy but turned out not to be and feel like it to boot. (Pun intended)
Talking to Orca Whales at 6 years old and thinking they spoke back.
How do you unwind?
Walk away from computers, phones, TV and walk outside or go to the beach. (No matter the temperature! Remember, South Florida! Beautiful but can get steamy.)
Favorite guilty pleasure?
Favorite time of history?
Right now, the present.
Favorite Historical Person?
Secret to happiness?
A sense of humor and learning to Listen.
Well, that’s all for now. We hope you enjoyed another entry in our Saturday Spotlight!