By Robert Digitale The Press Democrat, Santa Rosa, Calif.
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) When it comes to women entrepreneurship....Amy Miraflor is an inspiration. I Love the story of this stay-at-home mom who started sewing back in 2007. With lessons from her mother-in-law, she eventually dressed up three hoodies from her closet for an extended family gathering at Disney World. That led to buying and embellishing hoodies for three nieces which she posted on her blog. Women saw the photos and asked whether they could buy one of her creations. She put up a PayPal link and sold 15 hoodies in 30 minutes. Flash-Forward to Today.....The six year old business sold nearly $3 million in hoodies and related apparel last year.
From the window of their second-floor office, Amy and Brandon Miraflor watched as a worker at a table on the shipping floor below carefully creased tissue paper before wrapping it around a hoodie.
The wrapping was held in place by a high-gloss sticker branded with the name of the company, Evy's Tree, a luxury hoodie business in Santa Rosa. The garment then was placed in a cardboard box as part of shipments sent around the world.
"I want every piece to feel like it's a present," said Brandon Miraflor who, with his wife, Amy, own the six-year-old business. He noted that each package contains a 10-percent discount for the next purchase, a perk that can be shared with a friend.
Evy's Tree sold nearly $3 million in hoodies and related apparel last year, the Miraflors said. The vast majority of sales are transacted online, often by customers who pre-order the latest style before it leaves an overseas garment factory and shows up at the company's warehouse and small retail space on Industrial Drive.
The company's most popular hoodie is "the Sophie," which features a baby-doll-dress cut and empire waist. It sells for $120.
Women, the couple said, want comfortable clothing without sacrificing fashion.
"They want everyday clothes that make them look amazing," Amy Miraflor said.
She spent most of her school-age years in Sonoma County before moving back here from Stockton five years ago. As such, she knows how locals often keep an extra layer of clothing on hand even in summer, when warm days can turn downright chilly once the sun goes down.
"I'm from Santa Rosa," she said, "and we're hoodie people."
Amy Miraflor was a public school teacher and her husband a youth pastor in Stockton when she quit her job in 2007 and became a stay-at-home mom for the couple's two young children.
In those days, when money was tight, she one day "had this random desire to start sewing." With lessons from her mother-in-law, she eventually dressed up three hoodies from her closet for an extended family gathering at Disney World.
That led to buying and embellishing hoodies for three nieces, with photos of those presents posted on her blog. Women saw the photos and asked whether they could buy one of her creations. She put up a PayPal link and sold 15 hoodies in 30 minutes.
Amy Miraflor has no formal design experience, but since 2010 she has learned many details of the fashion business.
A major break came in 2013 when clothing company Sharon Young Inc. of Dallas agreed to help produce Evy's Tree garments.
Another milestone came last fall, when the company obtained a line of credit from the Santa Rosa-based Exchange Bank.
Evy's Tree today employs 27 mostly part-time workers.
Last year, it sold about 50 different items in various colors and styles. With popular pieces, the 1,000-plus garments in a typical first run can be sold out during pre-order, the Miraflors said.
Next up, the couple hope this fall to come out with clothing lines for men and children.
Evy's Tree customers have an average income of over $70,000. By age, the largest group is women aged 30-45.
Customers, said Amy Miraflor, want to be "comfortable and beautiful."