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Fashion Startup Creates Ultra Comfy Work Clothes

By Nancy Dahlberg Miami Herald

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Do you ever wish you could simply wear your pajamas to work? Ok, well, maybe not your pajamas but something just as comfortable? Two female entrepreneurs in Florida are trying to make that a reality with their new fashion line called "Bammies."

MIAMI

Who wouldn't want to go to work in clothing as comfortable as pajamas?

Founded by Rosario Chozas and Julia Ford-Carther, the made-in-South Florida brand Bammies embodies a fashion solution for busy women.

After transitioning from a creative to a corporate environment, Chozas, who has a background in fashion, developed the brand concept, which allowed her to dress appropriately yet comfortably and without sacrificing style that was authentically her.

"People would always say, 'Rosario you look so comfortable,' and I would say, 'These are my business jammies,'" Chozas said.

Chozas met Ford-Carther through her former work with technology conference eMerge Americas, developing its track and events for women, called WIT. Ford-Carther at the time was senior editor of Ocean Drive magazine, a Miami fashion and lifestyle publication. They hit it off instantly and decided to partner up on Bammies (business plus jammies). They incorporated Bammies in July 2015 and launched the first collection in January. Over the summer they added, after getting many requests, plus sizes.

The founders say their mission behind Bammies is two-fold: to minimize morning decision fatigue for women who need to quickly and aptly dress for the various appointments they have in a day, and to help women use fashion to feel comfortable in their own skin.

The Bammies line features tank tops, dresses, blazers and pants that are woven from natural fibers and polyester blends, and all of them can be paired and accessorized with items women already have in their closets. The recently launched Bammies Collection 02 adds new fabrics and colors such as navy, burgundy and grays. Items range from $80 to $170. "It's the way you've always wanted to dress," said Ford-Carther, who has a background in media and marketing.

The founders are also working on a video series about how to style and accessorize their clothing using color theory. The videos would also generate suggested options for a job interview, a baby shower or a wedding, for instance.

So will men get Bammies, too? "We get so many requests for that, you have no idea," Chozas said.

So, comfort-seeking men, stay tuned. ___ Company name: Bammies

Headquarters: Miami Beach, Fla.

Concept: Bammies is a core collection of comfortable-chic fashion staples that elevates comfort and minimizes decision

fatigue: With two collections released per year, each Bammies season includes classic, creative styles designed for ease of use, quick and stylish dressing, and comfort.

Website: www.bammies.life

Launched to market: January 2016

Management team: Co-founders Julia Ford-Carther, CEO, and Rosario Chozas, creative director

Financing: Self-funded and raised $5,000 in friends and family funding and $3,500 through an Indiegogo crowd-funding campaign. Currently not seeking funding.

Recent milestones reached: Launched an extended-size run this summer to become a size-inclusive brand, offering the equivalent of XS to 4X. Accepted into the inaugural class of Babson College's WIN Lab Miami accelerator program for female founders. Launched Collection 02 on Sept. 26 on www.bammies.life.

Biggest startup challenge: Building and marketing a bootstrapped business that focuses heavily on digital strategy.

Next step: Building a platform for the brand. "We're taking cues from both personal and consumer brands to create a hybridized approach to platform building," Ford-Carther said. "Because customers these days have less time ... they like to have a one-stop-shop destination. ... We're marketing a lifestyle and we are becoming spokespeople ourselves, not just about our brand but about how to live the Bammies lifestyle."

Adviser's view: Rebecca Fishman-Lipsey, founder of Radical Partners and a member of Bammies' advisory board, was attracted to the passionate, "magnetic" founders and the product itself.

"Their product resonates with so many people. They've been extremely lean, they've found local ways to grow, and they've responded to the voices of their customer base," Fishman-Lipsey said. "Thousands upon thousands of people are sharing and liking ... and the question now is how to translate the love of the brand into massive sales. We've learned a lot from seeing how magnetic Julia and Rosario are on camera. People are captivated by them and their story. They're bringing more of themselves into their brand as a result."

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