Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Introduction and a little Background


Hello! My name is Kate Coxworth and almost a year ago (wow that was quick!) I started my very first company, Kate Boggiano. Kate Boggiano is a women’s fashion company that makes high quality, great fitting women’s shirts, tops, blouses, and the occasional shirt jacket. Lately, I have been receiving a lot of: “Do you know who you remind me of? Anne Fontaine” a very flattering comment I might add (for those of you who don’t know Anne Fontaine, she makes beautiful blouses for women, primarily in a white and black color palette and her average price point is about $400.00.)

I decided to start writing a blog because I have received a lot of questions and interest from my customers about what occurs at kate a daily basis. I figured a blog is a great way to explain a little more about our process as well as share some of the more interesting events that oftentimes occur surrounding our brand, Kate Boggiano.


Growing up, I always made things. From construction paper chains that I would use to decorate every room to making outlandish clothing for my dolls, I was always crafting and working with my hands. Unlike most fashion designers, don’t ask me to draw something first! I like to call myself a 3-D person with less than average 2-D skills. Ask my assistant designer, Katee, I’m a terrible drawer but ask me to draft a pattern for something that is 3-D and that’s no problem.

Anyways, I went to Indiana University for a bachelor’s degree in Biology/Pre-Med and walked away 4.5 years later (sorry mom and dad!) with a degree in fashion design. I never in a million years would have expected to major in fashion when I entered college. I was set on becoming a geneticist and spending my career finding solutions and cures to rare genetic illnesses. Well, that didn’t quite happen. Instead, I followed my dream, which until my junior year of college I had considered it a hobby, and switched majors to IU’s Independent Major Program with a concentration in Fashion Design. (Switching from something medical/science related is a fairly common theme among fashion designers. Little trivia for you….Vera Wang was actually a biology major! It is quite common!)

Taking the leap in college ended up panning out alright in the end. I graduated in December and by February, I had packed up all my earthly possessions in my car and drove out to New York City. After many trials, tribulations (including my car being stolen in East Orange, NJ), and joblessness in the beginning, I finally landed my first job in the fashion industry at Polo Ralph Lauren. I started at Polo as a technical designer for Women’s blue label. A technical designer is in charge of taking a sketch from a product designer (luckily, I didn’t have to draw it!) and translating it into a garment. This includes working with a patternmaker “making up” the garments specifications (exact measurements) before it is a garment. I was very good at this probably because of my math and science background, however, I grew very bored with it. My boss at the time, Sharon, and I would spend many hours getting a garment to fit perfectly only to find out that the merchants had only bought 5 units. To put it in perspective, when the merchants would buy only 5 units that would translate into the garment going into 2 out of our 1200 doors (doors=stores in merchandising). In real time this meant that approximately 300 people in somewhere, USA would be the only 300 people to see/buy this garment after Sharon and I had toiled for hours over aligning the belt loops with the pockets just right and shaving that last ¼ inch off the back rise. FRUSTRATION! So clearly, I decided after 1.5 years of that it would be a good idea to switch over to merchandising. So that’s what I did.

I started in Polo’s Men’s merchandising in order to make a difference in what happened with the “business” of Polo. What styles were getting out there in the biggest way (making it to ALL 1200 doors), while making sure to talk to the designers and technical designers to see what would fit the best and in the end, make the most sales. I really liked merchandising, but in August of 2006, Mayor Daley in Chicago announced the appointment of Melissa Turner to head up the City of Chicago’s efforts to create a fashion industry in Chicago, I knew it was my time to move home and start a business. (You can visit the city of Chicago’s website: to learn more about their efforts.)

In November of 2006 after moving back to Chicago from NYC, I marched into a local bank and showed them what I considered to be my brilliant business plan (which by the way, I told the bank that I would NEVER have ANY inventory-major mistake #1) and got my loan. By May 2007, was up, live, and we had product to start selling! YIPPEE! I had this grandiose idea that the as soon as we went live, the phones would ring, the orders would come pouring in and I’d show everyone that I knew exactly how to build a business and make money my first year. Boy was I ever wrong!

Find out more about my trials and tribulation being and American Fashion Designer by checking back to this blog. In the interim, check us out at:

Have specific questions you would like me to address? Please respond to this article and I will include your question in the next posting.

Stay tuned for the official launch of CREATE YOUR OWN SHIRT! CYO to be launched online Monday, April 7th at 9am EST. Make sure to check it out-it will change the fashion industry as we know it forever.

Live in the Chicagoland area? Tune in to ABC 7 at 11am on Monday, April 7th as Kate Coxworth will announce the official launch of CYO shirt/blouse live.

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