Meet Our Vendor: Ivalieu Pettipants
We are thrilled to introduce you to this new vendor, Ivalieu Pettipants! Perfect gear for the summer commute!
Who are you and what do you do?
I make modern, performance bloomers! They’re designed to be worn under your favorite skirts and dresses to liberate you from the discomfort of thigh chafing and risk of inadvertently flashing others. They perform like a slip-short so that you can bike, jump, cartwheel, kick, sit with your knees splayed, or do whatever else your heart desires, whether you’re wearing a mini-skirt or a maxi-dress.
I also introduced a skort last fall for when you want the convenience of a 2-for-1. This Sport-Skirt is perfect for yoga, running, tennis, lacrosse, dragon boat racing, roller derby, you name it.
All Ivalieu are are designed and sewn in Portland, Oregon, are available in sizes XS through 3X, and feature:
— Original print designs created by local artists.
— A wide yoke of a waistband that smooths but doesn’t try to squeeze you like you’re a sausage. It’s a waistband that respects you.
— Three unique silhouettes to fit your different clothing- and life-styles: the fitted Sport, the versatile Savvy, and the deliriously fun Rococo.
— An inner panel so there’s no seam running up in your business.
— Performance fabrics that stretch, wick, dry quickly, and still behave like a slip (no clothes clinging, thank you very much). Not only are the materials we offer durable and comfortable, you can go from work to workout without a wardrobe change.
What’s the latest thing you’ve been working on?
New colors for the summer. I’ve got a jewel tone polygon print in the works and it’s seriously fun.
What was your first memory of making something?
Hmmm, my most vivid memory of really making something was when I started a cookie business in fifth or sixth grade that I named, “Ye Olde Cookie Shoppe.” I convinced my friend to be a co-founder. We picked recipes from Betty Crocker’s Cooky Book, made samples, artfully arranged them on a paper plate with the prices handwritten next to each item, and had my mom drive us around to the homes of family friends (this was in the country, no one was within walking distance). With all the charm we could muster (which probably involved naming the cookies and then standing awkwardly in silence), my friend and I persuaded people to order dozens of cookies. We fulfilled those orders and then shuttered our business (I remember the price of butter being a factor in our decision). It was a delicious, albeit brief, run.
What is your favorite new product for 2017?
I’m working on a neckerchief/bandanna (aka neck bling), using our original art prints. and an ooh la la, sophisticated fabric. Coming to UCU this June!
How far will you be traveling to come to UCU?
Approximately 175 miles (Portland, Oregon)
What do you love most about craft show vending?
Meeting people; customers and other vendors. People are there to enjoy themselves and discover local makers. What’s not to like?
How did you get started in your business?
Like so many others, I was annoyed there wasn’t something better on the market. After my second child I realized that I had been avoiding wearing skirts and dresses, especially so during the summer. It was too bad, I mused, as a skirt or dress instantly makes me feel more pulled together and attractive and those can be elusive feelings when you’ve got wee ones. But, alas, I thought, they simply were not practical with all the bending down to pick things up, the repeatedly getting up and off the floor with your babies, toddlers toddling along lifting up your skirt, not to mention bike commuting for work.
Then one day I was reading a blog post about what to pack when traveling and the female author said she takes several skirts and a pair of bike shorts to wear underneath to deal with the ol’ sticky thighs issue. What? I had had enough. We can put a rover on the planet Mars but the only options for women who are active but also want to wear a skirt or dress is to wear tight, compression undergarments or sweaty bike shorts? And don’t get me started on those nylon slip-shorts made with a thin elastic waistband and pleats. Ack! I decided there must be a better way.
I figured my great, great grandmothers knew a few things about living active lives and remaining modest. After all, you can’t exactly climb into a wagon or milk a cow while wearing a dress and not risk flashing a few folks. In the old days they called these undergarments pantalettes, bloomers, knickers, or pettipants. I took this old idea and made it anew with performance fabrics and thoughtful design details.
Now, I would like to mention the fact that in the time it took me to go from concept to market, my youngest went from toddler to kindergartner. I’m a geographer by training and have spent my career in the nonprofit sector. Without any prior experience in the apparel world, I’ve plowed through by sheer determination and asking for help at every turn. Fortunately, I’ve met many talented, professional, smart, and helpful people. Some dispensed advice in exchange for food and wine, and others have grown their business during our working relationship, making it possible for me to make Ivalieu in Oregon (no way I can sew them all!). All the challenges I’ve faced as an outsider to the fashion industry combined with all the support of friends and family make me that much prouder of Ivalieu.
Three cheers for old-fashioned sensibilities made modern!
Is this a full-time business for you?
No, I’m a director in the environmental nonprofit sector by day. I love mission-driven work and I also have a drive to create and run my own business. For now, I’m happy to juggle both.
Who’s your biggest fan?
My friends : )
What’s something you’ve learned through running your business in the past 12 months?
Most recently I learned the value of having proper formation documents for your business. I thought the template versions of your articles of incorporation and ancillary documents were sufficient but it’s good business to have a lawyer review and sign off on them (particularly if seeking bank financing).
What’s your favorite item that you sell?
The Rococo silhouette. Oh, they make me happy whenever I pull on a pair. Handmade ruffles line the bottom and I make it with a luscious fabric that I sourced from Italy. It’s fun, feminine, bold, silky, and sassy.; a delightfully satisfying combination.
What do your customers love most about your product(s)?
What’s the best experience you’ve ever had with one of your customers?
I’ve had a lot of lovely experiences with customers but I suppose my proudest moment is when my toughest customer – my big sis – said that she really liked them. She wore a pair of the Sports silhouette to work and at the end of the day she told me, “I actually forgot I was wearing them” (that’s the equivalent of Gert Boyle of Columbia giving her thumbs up). Ivalieu for the win!
Be sure you are following us on Instagram for your chance to win Sport pettipants in “I Like Bike” original art print!