why I started harMonica
Posted on January 23 2018
I can't believe it'll soon be 3 years since harMonica launched! This is the story of how I got started..
Going way back, I learned how to sew when I was 15. It gave me freedom to create & express myself that way. Until that point I didn't know what I wanted to do with my life after high school, & it was my first inkling of something I enjoyed & wanted to pursue.
When I was in college at FIT I took intimate apparel classes, & used to make my own bikinis in college & repurpose old t-shirts into panties. I was really into snowboarding and wanted to design that kind of outerwear. But it wasn't offered as a focus, so I took intimates, for fun really, & my roommate was also taking it. This is when I started calling underwear 'panties'; we called it our 'panties' class & had fun learning the different techniques. I remember even back then I preferred to make soft, stretchy pieces rather than non-stretch, underwire bras.
Sometime during college I came up with the name harMonica, and had labels printed that I used to put into garments I created, whether it was for a school project or something I made for myself or a gift.
Fast forward to a few years after I graduated, in 2008 I was on the hunt for a job and still had lots of fabric left over from my college intimates days. So I thought, hey I can make panties & sell them! I made 20ish pairs, a good friend offered to host a panty party at her apartment so I could sell them. All the panties were hung on clothes-lines with little clothes pins, we made cocktails called ‘pink panty pull-down’s’.. & that was the first iteration of harMonica.
Shortly after, I landed another full-time job and panty-making became a side-business/ hobby for the next few years.. I sold at some local markets, made custom orders, even had a photo shoot. Up until this point everything was one-of-a-kind & I just made whatever I felt like, mixing prints & fabrics, dying lace by hand in my apartment.
Then in 2014 I left a job, one I was very unhappy at. So much that I didn’t even want to look for another job, the only thing that seemed to make sense was for me to do my own thing. Tired of only doing what other people wanted me to do, I wanted to do this for ME. (& of course for other women who wear undies & want to feel comfortable, and care about beautiful things & the earth!)
Every design job I’d had up until this point were in different specialties like outerwear, denim or kids. So intimates was basically like entering a different industry! I knew I wanted to do things my way, with my values & intentions. To create quality, high vibe clothing that could be bought & worn with intention. I spent a couple months researching & getting inspired, made some samples to test on myself, adding bralettes to go with the panties.. That’s when I decided to include bralettes for larger cup sizes, because traditional bralettes definitely would not fit on me, & of course I wanted to wear my own designs! At that time there were no bralettes for larger cup sizes or ones that were meant to be shown off. I had to put all my pre-existing thoughts of bralettes aside and make something that didn’t exist at the time. I just started. Which gave me a chance to get it out there, make tweaks & let it evolve. Of which it always will be. I look forward to the day of having every aspect & material be sustainable. Now I'm in the process of re-vamping to incorporate a way of giving back. I hope to keep empowering the women who wear or even encounter harMonica.
I started harMonica to empower women, not only by the beauty they see in the mirror, but how they feel when they wear it.