We had the good fortune of connecting with Susan Gomez and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Susan, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
As a petite woman, I have always struggled finding clothes that fit proportionately for my petite size. So, I thought that there may be many petite women out there going through the same struggles and I wanted to solve that problem. At the same time, I didn’t want to bring just a fashion line for petite women to the fashion industry, I wanted to do it meaningfully by contributing positively to the conservation of our planet.
Unfortunately the fashion industry is responsible for 10% of global Carbon dioxide emissions (CO2 ) and I didn’t want to contribute to it. I chose to work with a sustainable fabric that is made with post-consumer plastic bottles that keeps plastic away from landfills and oceans and instead re-purpose it into a beautiful dress. So far the first production of our signature piece “Tulip” is keeping 3,000 post-consumer plastic bottles out of landfills and oceans. We are now working on a second production that will keep another good number of post-consumer plastic bottles out of landfills and oceans and I’m excited to continue to grow these numbers. That’s why Sugopetite is the perfect fit for petite and for our planet!
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
Our mission is to create beautiful dresses specifically for petite women while contributing to a positive impact to our planet. I’m very proud to have made the decision to work with sustainable fabrics even though it is extremely challenging because the sustainable textile industry is very limited in terms of colors, textures and patterns. However, I love the challenge because it forces me to be more creative with the fabric options and designs so that we can make beautiful dresses for petite women to help them feel confident and beautiful wearing a dress that fits proportionately made for their petite size.
Sugopetite has been a work in progress and it has not been easy, we learn new things every day and overcome challenges regularly. Our biggest challenge has been sourcing sustainable fabrics and doing the logistics for manufacturing. Our beautiful dresses are made in Guatemala by a reliable manufacturer and organizing a production over there requires many pieces put together like; shipping, dealing with customs, scheduling to fit the manufactures calendar etc., but we have overcome these challenges with intensive planning.
One of the lessons I have learned along the way, is to focus on persistence. When something doesn’t go well, I don’t quit or give up, I find another way to do it and persist. I want the world to know that we can change the direction of the fashion industry by focusing on sustainability, however, I also want to solve the problem that we petite women have to find clothes that fit right for our petite size.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I love when my best friends visit, it is the time I really put work on the side and focus on enjoying time spent with them. I definitely would love to show them around Houston and take them to my favorite spots. We would start our days with morning walks at Buffalo Bayou Park and follow by brunch at The Kitchen at The Dunlavy. Later in the day I would take them to Downtown Houston Historic District for happy hour and dinner at Xochi.
I would also plan a short trip to the Hill Country Side. Our first stop would be Salt Lick Cellars for the Texas BBQ experience and local wines. Next I’ll drive them to Fredericksburg, TX to stroll down the historic main street to indulge in wine tastings or shop for souvenirs from the charming shops available there. A short visit to the beautiful town of Wimberley, TX would also be in the itinerary, I find that this town has a special connection with nature and that’s what I love about it. I wouldn’t be able to skip a visit to the Space Center Houston. I have been to this place so many times but it never gets old, it’s so fascinating to learn about science and space exploration + is such an iconic part of Houston.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
There are so many amazing people that have contributed to the success of Sugopetite, and I have dedicated a gratitude page on my online store to them because Sugopetite would not have been possible without the help and contribution of these incredible people.
I’ll start with Factory 45 for showing me the road map to launch a successful and sustainable fashion brand. StarUp Fashion for providing me with the resources to build a fashion line and to run it successfully day by day. Fireyoup for allowing me to be an ambassador of their amazing program which keeps the fire in me lighted up to continue with my mission of creating beautiful dresses for petite women while contributing to the conservation of our planet! The Female Entrepreneur Association for allowing me to be part of an inspirational and resourceful platform for women entrepreneurs.
Special thanks to my dearest best friend and business partner Courtney Sturniolo for her unconditional support editing, marketing and blogging for Sugopetite, and lastly to Voyage Houston Magazine for sharing my story and passion for sustainable fashion with you – the reader!
Anthem In Art Photography by Jenna Barrett PA Photography Houston By Perla Torres