The best entrepreneurs are those that see something missing in the market and work towards filling it. That’s exactly what UK born, Hannah Ross did when she saw a significant lack of inclusivity in the fashion industry and wanted to do something about it.
Currently residing in Toronto, Canada, this soon to be entrepreneur, decided that she could wait no longer for the fashion industry to be more accommodating – and so, Size 13 was born! A brand focused on providing the world with ethically sourced clothing for anyone regardless of gender, accessibility, sexuality, or race.
Why did you decide to start your own company?
Throughout my life, I’ve worn between a size 12 and 14, and would often jest about the necessity of a size 13.
I found that my access to materials and inspiration were quelled while living in the UK. Being in a city like Toronto really encouraged me to look outside the confines of my own ideas. In starting a company of my own I wanted to create capsule pieces that could withstand wear and tear without promoting waste in an already wasteful industry. I also wanted to accommodate needs across the spectrum of accessibility, gender, size, fit, and comfort.
How did you come up with the idea for your business?
It was a sort of a snap-of-the-fingers moment, but also just a long-awaited answer to a very annoying set of questions that my friends and I had over the years. Frequent lamentations over the trials and tribulations of buying clothing – between gendered clothing options, sizing discrimination, and lack of quality, as well as insipid and uninspired designs…. it just overbearingly became something I wanted to see on the market.
It was too much to wait around any longer to see someone else do it. A person who meets any of the criteria that I’ve mentioned… they’re not some niche to “conquer”. They’re an ignored and often mislabeled corner of a marketplace that should be a circle in the first place. They’re just people who want clothes. That’s it.
What’s been the biggest struggle you’ve faced thus far in regards to starting your own business?
I think honing in on what I want the brand itself to be, and to represent. There are so many exciting avenues to go down, in terms of what to offer and express. I found, really early on, that offering x and y and z, as well as a, b, and c, was just too much too fast. Having to pace myself with what pillar to climb up, without wanting to just… Spiderman from one to the next in aggressive succession was a challenge.
I don’t want to burn out and end up compromising on one to do the other – which would defeat the entire point of the brand in the first place – so having to measure myself was absolutely an integral uphill battle.
Why did you decide to design your own logo instead of hiring a designer?
It’s probably pretty clear, but I like to get things done so that I don’t have to wait around. I didn’t like the idea of having to sift through portfolios, reels, etc., to find someone who could do what I was asking for. Because to be utterly honest, I had no idea what I wanted to ask for. What I did know was that I didn’t want to make any concessions on what makes the first impressions to anyone encountering my brand.
I’m not exactly a poet when it comes to explaining a visual concept – and am about as gifted with illustration as a fish is with walking – and so using an interface that allows for complete adaptability to an utter novice was such a dream. I was able to be as frustratingly fastidious as I wanted, and no one else had to suffer through it! Designing it myself meant a lack of arduous back and forth, no lengthy email threads, and no “sorry for the delay in getting back to you”. A very complete one-stop-shop!
Talk a little bit about your logo design. What makes your company unique, and how is that portrayed in your logo?
I wanted a minimal logo that spoke quietly about the very loud things I want to accomplish with this brand. A busy visual, with a plentiful color palette or typography, could be misconstrued or misinterpreted in a plethora of ways. I wanted to avoid that.
Without mincing my words, the logo brings me joy (see what I did there? ah, the days of yore). The bolded sewing machine on the left and the 13 on the right pull the eye across from the start to finish. The number 13 is historically lampooned as a controversial topic, and stands out uniquely from most, despite the fact that it doesn’t need to. I wanted to lean into that.
The logo is easy on the eyes, and from a practical standpoint, can be mounted on a variety of different mediums (be they a business card, a hat, a t-shirt, what have you) without discrepancy of quality.
If you had one tip for people looking to start a company, what would that tip be?
My gut instinct is, well and truly, my ride-or-die. She is the bread to my soup, the bastion to my fortress, and has never led me astray. Questioning my gut led me to make mistakes that could have been avoided. It’s responsible and logical to question decisions that one is making, but sometimes, your instinct will really shine through in a way that nothing else can.
If you could go back and do one thing differently, what would that be?
If I could do anything differently, it would be to stop being stubborn and ask for help. Seeking advice from trusted individuals in your corner can really open your eyes to so much – often things that you don’t even think to consider in the first place. Be patient, and don’t rush to do it all at once, despite the fact that it’s ridiculously exciting.
What made you choose Looka to design your own logo?
Adaptability, accessibility, simplicity. It was so utterly user friendly and didn’t make me feel inadequate by using fancy jargon that would have made me not want to use the service. I felt like I was in complete control, despite the fact that the UI was incredibly intuitive, and frequently suggested fonts, color palettes, and symbols to use. Any time I had a question, the chat feature was right there to help.
Thank you! Any other comments about your business, entrepreneurship, or experience creating your own brand?
The upcoming collection of masks are a body of work that I’m elated to release. They’re vibrant, ethically produced, and help give back – all while keeping you that extra bit safer.
Right now, it’s impossible to ignore the current climate regarding racial injustice and police brutality. Given the commitment to community support, the next collection released will see 100% of the profits directed solely to the #BlackLivesMatter movement to help efforts with bailout funds for those wrongfully arrested and incarcerated.