10 Minutes with Petite Entrepreneur Carolina Alvo (Q&A)

Posted August 26, 2014 by in Career

Psst, ladies. Did you know that half the population of women in the U.S. qualify as “petite” at 5’4” or under? Are you in disbelief? Is that because you’re thinking to yourself that if that were true, why do so many stores stock only “regular sizes” with petite departments being the afterthought, if there is one at all?

Petite entrepreneur and game-changer Carolina Alvo caught herself wondering the same thing, after time and time again spent purchasing items that weren’t made to fit her and having to trudge them to the tailor and pay for alterations. All 4’9” of her, along with hundreds of thousands of her fellow petites knew that petite is powerful, and that it was time to take some action.

So she founded her eponymous clothing line, Carolina Alvo, and started a “Petite is Powerful” movement. Her first move? The Kathleen Dress, a fit-and-flare beauty that’s perfect for day and night, is specifically designed to fit a petite frame perfectly.

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Made in New York with the highest-quality fabrics and available in two lengths, the Kathleen Dress is going to revolutionize the petite retail world and bring awareness to this often neglected group of women, all of whom deserve to look and feel as beautiful as the other 50%.

Since we were so interested in Carolina’s mission, we decided we wanted to know more. If you interested in the “Petite is Powerful” movement, or what it’s like to work in fashion, read on.

*If you’re interested in a work-friendly clothing line that’s perfect for your petite frame, then support Carolina on Kickstarter

Q&A with Carolina Alvo

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All of your clothes are made in NYC! What made you want to do that? Was it hard to find a manufacturing company in the city?

The thought of going outside of New York, let alone overseas was too scary for a first-timer. It is my first time manufacturing anything so it was important for me to feel like I had as much control over the process as possible.

I worked with a production company in the Garment District to help develop the line and he has relationships with various factories in New York, so it was through him that we were able to find a factory that was right for us.

As a petite, clothes shopping has been difficult for most of your life. But has being petite affected you at work? At school?

When I was in school I was endlessly teased for my height. Most of the time it was harmless, but when you’re a young teenager you just want to be like everyone else, so it definitely becomes one more thing to be self-conscious about.

By the time I was in the workplace I wasn’t teased, but I was surrounded by mostly men and somehow I only ever had male bosses that were at least a foot taller than me. So being much smaller just exacerbated my feelings of insecurity early on in my career.

Your background isn’t originally in fashion. What/who gave you the confidence to enter this intense industry?

I just knew the opportunity was so big (half the female population is petite) and I knew no one was doing a good job solving it. Plus it was a very personal pain point, so I was passionate about getting it right – all together that gave me the confidence to look past the fact that I have no experience in fashion and just try to figure out how to solve this big problem!

What advice would you give to the girl who’s interested in a career in fashion?

Educate yourself on the industry, surround yourself with good mentors/advisors and go for it! If it’s your passion, you won’t regret it!

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Also fantastic: Carolina Alvo will be donating 1% of all of their profits to Girl Rising, a global action campaign that helps young girls get into and stay in school.

Who else would you like us to interview for Broke & Chic’s newly launched career section? Let us know in the comments below!