Let me introduce myself.
My name is Alexis, and recently I founded my own women’s lounge and athleisure-wear brand, Alexis Mera. We're based in Ditmas Park, Brooklyn and all manufacturing is done in New York City's Garment Center.
A little bit more about me. I was raised in Cortlandt Manor, NY — my parents divorced when I was 6, but my father moved to a house that was a 5 minute walk away. So, I’d say I was one of the luckier children of divorced parents. I was able to see my Dad basically when ever I wanted, and I spent everyweekend at his house. After graduating high school I went off to NYC and studied at The Fashion Institute of Technology. I initially signed up as an Interior Design Major, but that didn’t last very long. I quickly learned that it wasn’t really for me, and actually, I stopped going to classes… whoops! Soon enough my parents found out, when they received a notice after the first semester for my academic dismissal (meaning I could not return as a full time student for the second semester that year). My Mom was pretty calm (as usual), but my Dad was flipping out (as usual). I spent the winter living with my Dad and Step-Mom on the Upper West Side. After living on my own in the dorms for semester, living with my parents again felt like prison. Especially because my dad made a curfew for me, it was 12AM! That’s the time we all used to get ready to head out to the club! Long story short, I got my act together and decided to take a few Fashion Merchandising classes at FIT that Spring. It turned out I actually liked that major and I took more classes the next semester. Soon enough I had worked my GPA and attendance up and I was able to enroll again as a full time student in the Fashion Merchandising Management major. Soon after that, I was working part time, doing Internships, and getting back on track towards my career/life goals. I Interned at a small company called Elizabeth Cotton (a luxury women’s sleepwear brand) while I was in college and when I graduated she hired me as her assistant. I really have to thank Liz for introducing me to the Sleepwear world. That is basically where I spent the rest of my career up until now. Unfortunately in 2008 when the economy was in the gutter, Liz had to let me go. But, she recommended me for a position at Delta Galil, which turned out to be great. I was the Assistant Merchandiser to the Director of Merchandising and Product Development and I worked on Lucky Brand and Tommy Hilfiger Sleepwear Product Development. I loved the people I was working with and I really liked what I was doing. I was learning a lot, I was showing my strengths, and I felt like I was moving up. Until the day I had my review and I wasn’t offered any more pay. So, I started looking. After looking for a while I found a position in WWD (Women’s Wear Daily) at Peruvian Connection, a Women’s Apparel Business that sells via catalog as well as at their own Brick and Mortar shops. It was a great promotion (I was the Production Coordinator) and I was able to work in the New York Garment District. I built a relationship with one of the factories that we worked with and I work with them today for my line! Networking is key!
About 1.5 years in, I started to look for a new job. I missed the Sleepwear world. I wanted to go back and go to Market Week and do more Merchandising and Product Development. The position I had a Peruvian Connection was strictly production. To be honest, it got kind of boring. I was spending my days emailing people in China or in India who had emailed me the night before. I wasn’t interacting fact to face, and I wasn’t involved in the development of the products. I missed that. After looking for a while, I was offered a position as the Brand Manager for DKNY Sleepwear at Komar Brands. This was my big break (at least I thought it was!). The first two years were amazing. I was learning so much.
When the beginning of the third year rolled around, I was starting to get the itch. I wasn’t known for staying at a job for very long, and it was happening again! It was around May of 2014, I was recently engaged, I bought an apartment in Ditmas Park, Brooklyn, and I was feeling very accomplished, but also trying to figure out what was coming next. That’s when I really started thinking about opening up shop. My initial concept was totally different than what I am doing now actually. At first I was thinking I would start an online boutique that sells all things designed and/or made in Brooklyn. I’m so very glad this isn’t what happened, because again, I would not have been involved in developing or creating the product, and selling things online isnot easy! Then I decided I wanted to make graphic print tee’s with Brooklyn all over them and I would call myself Brooklyn Crafted. One day I was searching the web, and I noticed that a business name Brooklyn Crafted already existed, and what do you know, they sell all things designed/made in Brooklyn! There goes both of those ideas! Then I decided to combine my years of experience in Sleepwear and my personal style and started to develop the concept of Alexis Mera. It’s a new take on loungewear. The idea is that my pieces are comfortable enough to sleep in but luxurious and stylish enough to wear out. I like to call it sleep-to-street wear. So far everyone’s been picking up on that USP, so I think I’ve done well! I officially launched my line in Feb 2015, and I’m doing my first trade show in September (The Axis Show). Fingers crossed it goes well, because it cost me an arm and a leg!
Also during this time, I have gotten married, my husband and I purchased a new sofa, and we're staring to think about our honeymoon plans (any tips for trips to Asia?). There is a lot more that has happened since Feb 2015, but I’ll save that for another post.
So there you have it in a nutshell. Who I am, what I do, and why I’m here.
I hope that was interesting, if not super entertaining.