Today we’d like to introduce you to Rema Abedkader.
Rema, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I started wearing hijab (headscarf) in college and back then, there were very few options on the market for women who wanted to dress modestly. I mean, other than gifts that were brought back by family from overseas. One year, I went to go visit my dad’s family and decided to stock up on everything and anything that I could find, whether it was my style or not.
On my way back, all of my luggage was lost! I didn’t have much left in my closet as I was planning to replace my wardrobe. I was frustrated with my lack of options, so I asked someone to teach me how to use a sewing machine. Prior to that I didn’t even know how to turn one on and after that, the options were endless. I started making clothing for myself and then friends wanted in and before I even knew it, I had a business. So, with a $100 investment in my living room, I made enough product to take to a pop-up event and from there, I built my customer base. When orders became too much for me to handle from my living room, I decided to manufacture, which has not been an easy journey. I have made mistakes along the way, some I’ve had to pay for, ‘literally’ and some I’ve turned into “opportunities” in product design that have become our USP, which is marketing talk for “niche products”. Now LeVoile has an online store, a showroom and we wholesale to boutiques in California and Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. My journey started with a void in the market and has turned into a business that makes space for people to stand tall and be comfortable in their modesty and So-Cal vibe. My main goal is to deliver a product that is high quality, ethically produced, and made in the US.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
It definitely isn’t easy pursuing your passion. I went from a stay at home mom with a degree in sociology to running a business dealing with large manufacturers. And particularly with a product-based business, you are always hoping people want what you are passionate about. If the people don’t, then your passion isn’t a business, it’s a hobby.
I’ve also learned that customers don’t always value the things I value. It’s important to me that the material be pre-washed so it doesn’t shrink. Customers don’t want shrinkage but they don’t necessarily want to pay for the labor of pre-washing. Finding ways to make things personal to customers is difficult but paramount to success.
So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the LeVoile Collection story. Tell us more about the business.
LeVoile is based on the idea that necessity is the mother of invention. In terms of running the business, it’s been a one women show until recently. Design, production management, negotiating, marketing and sourcing all by me. I’ve even been the model a few times. I’m most proud of all the obstacles LeVoile has overcome. The products almost sell themselves once people see, touch and feel them.
I want to be confident wearing my clothing and I can’t do that if I know that the person who made it was underpaid by any standard, much less ours here in the US. So, LeVoile is rooted in the concept of quality, from the materials to the wages paid for labor. I believe strongly in bringing manufacturing back to this country.
Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
I feel like “luck” exists outside of us humans. So, what I will say is that LeVoile has had good and bad moments, those that pulled us down and those that lifted us up. But always, there is something to learn and grow from each moment. My motto is, don’t make the same mistake twice. So, I try to be innovative, even with my mistakes.
- Scarf prices range from $25 – $45 and clothing from $58-98
- Address: 7710 Balboa Ave STE 218 C
- Website: www.levoilecollection.com
- Phone: 8582320318
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/levoilecollection/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/levoilecollection/