WONDERLAND - a new summer collection just dropped

Thread Talks

Youerhood of the Traveling Pants

Youerhood of the Traveling Pants

A few months back, we sent 6 pairs of pants out to 18 different stops around the USA to live life with you all. Here are their stories.

Remember the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants? Well, that was pretty darn unrealistic how every one of those gals fit into the same size pants. But the story was charming and such a millennial classic. So we decided to put our own twist on it. So we asked our community who would like to be part of a pants-pen-pal-experiment and nearly 100 of you signed up. We were overwhelmed by the response, but ultimately decided to send 6 pairs of pants (one of each in sizes XS-XXL) to 3 different stops around the country. 

Each box got packed up with a pair of pants in your size, a journal and a disposable camera for documenting your experience in the pants, and the instructions of 'wear them for a week, and share your life in them then send them off to the next stop'. After 2 months, all 6 pairs made it back to our Missoula Montana HQ and the results were magical and emotional. 

The pages of the notebooks were filled with stories and the photos were beautiful glimpses into the lives of those that wore the pants. Tucked inside the pages were recipes, leaves, chocolates, sketches and an abundance of stickers which made for a delightful unboxing back at HQ. 

 

 

"Went ice skating again today! sadly the ice on the street earlier was better than out In the 'wild'. It was pretty though. And cold. And apparently it snowed out there because we were skating through 3+ inches of snow. Again, it was not a graceful day on the skates but the pants did great, though I did have to wear insulated pants over them since it was only 10 degrees! But good to know they also make a good baselayer fabric - was nice & breathable."

-Pants in Alaska-

 

 

 

 

"we woke up to the first signs of winter, snow dusting the mountains. after a sunrise soak we make our way home. I now sit on the couch watching as the sun and wind dance across the golden leaves outside my window"

-Pants in Colorado-

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 "I spent the morning in front of my dad's woodstove with the cat. I slept so hard in my childhood bedroom and enjoyed having an extra day off. I gave my dad a tutorial on how to use his InReach satellite messenger we bought him. He's almost 70 and still goes on big solo mountain adventures and hunts. He only has 2 more summits until he finishes all of Colorado's 14ers!"

 

"I wore the pants today, mostly to show them to my mom. I always try to get her to get some Youer clothes but she thinks she might be too old for the bold prints. She's wrong! They're fun for any age! She's getting a pair of these pants for Hanukkah"

"I just moved to a new state and know no one in my new town, so I was a bit nervous about how I was going to get my pictures for this. After explaining the concept to the gal working at the gym, I think I made a new friend!"

 

Thanks to everyone who shared their lives with with this project, it was such a special way to engage with you all.

We'll be sharing more of this project in the coming weeks as we get ready to launch our spring colors in these pants, and we just might send out another batch for a trip around the country!  

 

We made these!

We made these!

The Youniverse has opened! A decade ago I bought a $100 sewing machine. And this month I bought $10,000 worth of sewing machines. Sarah put them all together and got them ready to sew, and Vicky has been behind the machines pumping out croptops as we try to accomplish an ambitious production goal - 30% of our spring/summer line made here which is nearly 2000 pieces of clothing. Here's how we're doing it.

Read more

a year of impossible things before breakfast

a year of impossible things before breakfast

Last night before bed, I was watching Alice In Wonderland when I was reminded of Lewis Carrolls’ whimsical words that mostly just feel like my life -  “sometimes I’ve believed as many as 6 impossible things before breakfast”

 

The turning over of a New Year means the whole world is thinking about elevating and challenging ourselves to do things we’ve never done before.

 

But in business we do this every day! We believe in impossible things, and most of those impossible things become possible when we try them.

 

Every day in entrepreneurship is like a New Year, at least most times it feels like it. Every day we try stuff we’ve never done before, challenge what we know and get inspired to push boundaries where we create new versions of ourselves, our employees and our companies. It’s the way we survive.

 

This year running Youer, I believed in many more than 6 impossible things. It seemed like each month we were climbing over some sort of obstacle and finding a way through. Every single month we launched new product which was an enormous effort for a team of 3. We all wore wayyyyy  more hats that we should have and managed to do the work of a 7 or 8 person team. Each launch campaign was a visual story and I personally directed, shot, and edited the photos and videos for 8 of those campaigns in addition to designing the product and prints for all 12 and handling 100% of digital marketing for the entire year.

 

January: 'let's start a warehouse' – We were a team of 2 (me and Alicia) and got let go by our 3PL – there was a lot of ‘firing’ this year. So, I rented the only available ‘warehouse’ on Craigslist (a 500 sq ft glorified garage), hired someone to ship and we figured it out together. That ‘someone’ is Olivia who became an absolutely integral member of the team over the last year. She shipped over 10,000 pieces of clothing across the world and managed the customer service involved in that among a long list of ‘other duties as assigned’.

 

February: 'Poshmark ain't got nothin' on Youer' – After seeing the appetite for our clothes at resale on Poshmark I thought “we gotta do our own resale!” and behold – Treet entered the scene. In partnership with Treet, we launched our own branded resale site where you can buy and sell your used Youer to other fans.

 

March: AK, not that far away – Alaska loves Youer and Youer LOVES Alaska! Anchorage is quickly outpacing our home city of Missoula in number of customers so I went to the source and brought a few suitcases of dresses for a pop-up at the Alpine Fit HQ. Within 2 hours, I was going home with empty suitcases and lots of new friends. The amount of Youer I saw in the wild (at tiny breweries in the mountains, at the grocery store in Homer) was incredible.

 

April: how about another factory? – After making the decision to move all production to one factory, Alicia and I took a trip to LA to visit and get things set up.

 

May: one million opinions – We started messing around on TikTok because it seemed like we needed to do that. I posted a story about my failed meeting with REI a couple years ago and overnight it went viral. Over a million people watched it and so many opportunities came from that video (spoiler, none of them from REI lol)

 

June: fired....again -  we got fired from our factory (the same factory that dropped us in 2020) in the middle of production on our shorts and croptops and had to remake a lot of them at the new factory. The owner of the factory said a lot of insulting stuff to me about how I run my business, then he went out of business a few months later. Karma? Hundreds of our croptops arrived missing a final stitch (to close up the hole that makes them reversible) so we had to sew every single one in-house.

 

July: roller skating pizza party – We teamed up with a rad group of roller skating babes for our launch photos (Olivia’s brilliant idea) and had a pizza-party-roller-skating summer evening on the roof of a parking garage. We made wayyyyyyy too many Gains Shorts, but these epic photos actually helped us sell a gazillion more pairs than we were expecting to.


August: the buzz – a TikTok video I made about how much it costs to make clothes went viral and Buzzfeed wrote an article about it. It was wild. We had 30k people go to our website over a weekend. We launched a beautiful collaboration with the Salmon Sisters that we were really excited about. And it hit a MAJOR bump (possibly a business-ending bump). Navigating that was really challenging and we all learned and listened an enormous amount.

 

September: Dresses on the menu -  We turned our mini warehouse into a Pizza Shop for the evening to launch our Treasure Dresses. Even though it was 90 degrees and we were selling fleece, locals showed up to see what was on the ‘menu’ and we played up the theme with team uniforms and a wheel of fortune.

 

October: a 500% upgrade with windows – After legitimately busting out of the mini warehouse, we moved a mile down the road to a new warehouse 5x the size. 4 of us and a couple UHaul loads and we were in. And just in time. Late October, we would part ways rather aggressively with our sorta new factory. It was VERY ugly, extortive, and not something I want to go through ever again. Now we have space to have more control over production.

 

November: let's do it all – Probably the busiest most wild exciting exhausting incredible month of business I’ve ever experienced. I saw a post about an all women’s ski movie premier on Instagram so I DM’d them and was like “can we show your films?”. They were all in, so we painted a projector screen on the wall, hung some posters around town, borrowed a projector and hoped people would show up. Nearly 100 of you showed up to the BYOC (bring your own chair) event and celebrated women in skiing. A couple weeks later, many of you showed up for yoga taught by  Kelsey and we proceeded to have a wild Women Led Wednesday Sale that took Olivia and me about 50 hours to ship all your orders. It was magical.

 

December: back to the beginning -  we went a little too HAM in November and were pretty exhausted, but dreamed up a fun collaboration with Sobba Cycle to launch our Chill Sets, then hosted a holiday pop-up in our new warehouse with a few vendors. That was pretty personally special to me because I started this business travelling around to events and sleeping in my truck. So, being able to open Youer’s own doors and have people come to us was a pinch-me moment for sure.

 

What’s up for next year? Well, we’re dreaming up those impossible things right now just like the rest of the world. But one BIG BIG thing that’s happening in the next couple of months is that we’ll be starting up our own machines and sewing.

 

In business, we might dream up the impossible. But it’s really all of YOU who make it possible. A dream is nothing without a community of people who also believe in it. This business started as a dream. I bought a $100 sewing machine on eBay and started sewing clothes for fun, hoping that some day I’d be able to do it all day every day. And over the last decade, thousands and thousands of you have joined the dream and it’s far far beyond any dream I could have dreamed on my own. So, as we take this time of year to reflect, I hope you give yourself permission to dream the impossible. Because this year has taught me that anything is possible.     

 

Cheers, and a giant hug to each one of you. THANK YOU for making this possible and keeping us going for yet another year!

 

Mallory Ottariano
founder, Chief Everything Officer @ Youer

 

One year ago....

One year ago....

 

We pressed ‘go live’ on our CSA – a Community Supported Apparel crowdfunding event where hundreds of you joined forces to raise $100k towards a down payment on a building. The home for the Youniverse – Youer’s headquarters and a place where we could start making some of our own products in our own factory.

 

It’s been a full year of real estate adventures, temporary solutions, and tiny rentals. And the right property still hasn’t presented itself. But we’re getting ready to settle into a less temporary space that will give us flexibility to grow while we continue to hunt for a place to buy.

 

For the last 6 months, we’ve been squished into a tiny windowless space that has decreased productivity and made it hard to interact with our local community in the way we want.

Our current teeny tiny warehouse

  

But we’re about to change that! Next week, we’ll be moving into a new warehouse space that we’re excited to make our own, thanks to the amazing power of community and the effort and love that you showed in helping us achieve this last year during our CSA. It’s gonna take some time to turn this place into the vibrant whimsical space of our dreams, but we’ll get there. And we can’t wait to have y’all over for a party when we do.

 

Shipping and communication will be delayed during this move (next week) as there will be just 2 of us making this whole thing happen, so thank you in advance for your patience and understanding as we go through this transition. But once we’re all set up, our speed and efficiency will go WAYYYYY up because we’ll have more space to move, and an office with WINDOWS! The warehouse portion doesn’t have much light, but our offices will! Over the last 7 years Youer has had 5 office/warehouse spaces and this will the THE FIRST with natural light. Wild.

 

Anyways, here’s the blank canvas that we’re about to turn into a magical colorful world of clothes. The fun begins!

A tale of two brands...

A tale of two brands...

I’ve always said the perfect collabs are simply making cool sh*t with cool people, and making this collection with Emma and Claire (The Salmon Sisters) has been exactly that. If I can fangirl for a moment, I have ALWAYS dreamed of making something beautiful with these two women, but thought Youer didn’t have the reach or audience to bring an equal partnership to the table. But last year, I decided to just try, and it’s a pretty wild story I think.

Read more