In honor of Women's History Month, we're hosting a series of pop-up events at the store every Saturday in March to showcase some of Richmond’s tremendous women makers.
Handyma'am Goods create durable, versatile garments that are built to last, ensure maximum mobility, and celebrate hard working women across all fields. We chatted with founder Bella Weinstein to learn more of the story behind her workwear brand.
Come by the store on Saturday, March 19th to shop Handyma'am Goods in person!
1. Handyma'am Goods was born because you couldn't find the goods that served your needs best. What workwear item did you design first, and how did you go about the design and production process at that early stage?
I was pretty naive at the start, I had no experience in clothing production and no idea what went into developing a pattern which explains why I thought it was a good idea to start with our Heavy Weight Coveralls... A long sleeve coverall takes into account every single measurement on a woman's body, not to mention women’s proportions vary. On top of that, the fabric is a super heavy duty cotton with no give so we couldn’t lean on stretch to solve a fit problem. At the company's start, I was living in New York City so I had access to the garment district and wasn’t afraid to look for answers. I read books, paired up with a pattern maker, went to workshops and trade shows, and asked questions to whoever would listen. The Heavyweights have gone through many renditions since their launch in 2014 but I am extremely proud of where they landed and wouldn’t have it any other way. They were a real crash course!
2. How do you design workwear that is versatile enough to be an ideal clothing option for so many different scenarios? How have your designs evolved and changed over the years?
Style + Utility have always been our two main cornerstones when designing. As long as those two qualities are there, I think versatility is a given. If something is made well and fits great, it’s going to work in a variety of workplaces and scenarios. We choose our materials carefully and put a lot of weight on how they are made, hoping they become long standing staples. Then of course pockets and other features are designed with different situations and trades in mind. Who doesn’t get excited about pockets!?
As for how they have evolved, I have gotten smarter about designing and using fabric more efficiently. I also have a better understanding of production and pricing so unfortunately some pieces have died at the design phase because I am more realistic about the cost of things and what the market will bear.
3. Your clothes empower women to feel confident and capable while doing whatever it is they do. Could you talk about your commitment to uplifting women and building community?
The community aspect is definitely what keeps us engaged and motivated. As much as I enjoy the design process there is nothing better than seeing women feeling empowered in our clothes. I love using our platform to share other peoples stories and talents. A lot of our features are also women who have supported us, so it’s an opportunity to return the love. When you strip it all down, Handyma’am is about representation. It’s about saying to women, we see you and all the different spaces you fill and we are making this product special for YOU.
Photos by Ethan Hickerson, Drake Harthun, Ben Wentzel, and Farrah Fox for Handyma'am