Monday, April 21, 2014

On FiSF: 5 Reasons Why it's Great to be a Designer in Residence

If you've been following me on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, you already know that I was accepted to the Fashion Incubator Program at Macy's in San Francisco. I started working on HCH from downtown SF in March. The transition from business-from-home to working in a full-on office and workroom has been a really exciting one, and one that has filled my days to the brim lately. Needless to say, I haven't been blogging much! That said, I did write a post for the FiSF blog last week about what it's like to be in the program. Read on!

So what's so special about being a Designer in Residence at FiSF?

Stephanie_Bodnar_Fashion_Incubator_San_Francisco
  1. SPACE – I started Honey Cooler Handmade from my kitchen table. A dedicated space at the Incubator means that I not only have my own work table for pattern making, but I also have an industrial sewing machine that never has to be put away, a huge cutting table that allows me to cut multiple pieces at once instead of just one, and an office that I can close up at the end of the day with my work inside. When I hop the bus back to the Mission at night, I can truly be home and eat dinner (and NOT sew) at my kitchen table!
  2. EXPERTISE – The Incubator operates under the direction of an executive board with tons of industry experience, and that board regularly brings in the best of the best to help us navigate the complicated world of fashion production. From dealing with factories or figuring out effective branding, the thought of facing the myriad challenges unsupported is stressful beyond measure, but FiSF ensures that we are never alone in our endeavors.
  3. IDEAS – Jeanne Allen, FiSF’s executive director, has had decades of experience in the fashion industry. Her advice and support come from an innovative mindset coupled with an intimate knowledge of how production truly works for a San Francisco brand. Her husband Marc is our resident design expert and is a wonderful resource when it comes to working through design puzzles. Not only do we have access to the this amazing and experienced executive board, but each of the FiSF designers comes from varied backgrounds, all with very different, yet firmly established perspectives.
  4. CAMARADERIE – Honey Cooler Handmade started as a series of lingerie pieces where each garment was made individually, out of different fabric, using deadstock vintage laces. Needless to say, larger scale production is a huge leap for me. Luckily, each of the Designers in Residence is going through the same complicated process of producing their lines. The ability to share the triumphs and frustrations of doing so with the rest of the FiSF class is one of the most valuable facets of working from our amazing space. My initial fear was that working alongside such talent would leave me feeling totally inadequate, but the truth is that we all struggle with the universal self-doubt that all artists deal with. We are a united force and we each want the whole group to succeed.
  5. VALIDATION – The Bay Area is full of talented designers, so gaining acceptance to the FiSF program is no easy feat. Learning I was accepted was probably one of my happiest moments – to have an entire board of industry professionals believe in Honey Cooler Handmade and my abilities enough to admit me to the Incubator program was a truly validating moment. Admission to the program is a big step for any line; For me, it means that Honey Cooler Handmade has serious potential as a marketable, profitable lingerie line and I’m very excited to see what’s next.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

One-of-a-Kind Knickers Restocked

Adapting HCH into a fully reproducible line has been a really amazing experience thus far, but as many of you have probably noticed, my one-of-a-kind pieces have taken a bit of a backseat lately.


I had a little extra time this week, so I stitched up seven new pairs for the shop, each totally unique and using vintage insertion lace. Each is a different size and color, and all are available on Etsy now. Snap up your favorites soon - these always sell quickly.



Find the full range of one-of-a-kind bottoms here - which is your favorite pair of Papillon Knickers?

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Three 'Grams: Sharing the Love

I can't believe that Valentine's Day is almost upon us and I'm proud to say that I've been busier than ever filling out my stock for the year's most romantic holiday. I threw a big party with Rue Magazine and Zelma Rose just over a week ago, plus two Valentine's Day trunk shows, one at Dark Garden and one at A La Folie. While the in-person events are over for the moment, that doesn't mean that the HCH Etsy and BigCartel shops aren't fully stocked and ready to fulfill your most frou frou of Valentine's Day dreams. Make sure to scope out what I've got in stock, and remember - use code VDAY2014 until February 14th in either shop for free domestic (US) shipping on your order of ready-to-ship items.

I hope your Valentine's Day is a magnificent one! Following me on Instagram yet? Find me here - when I get to 1000 followers, I'll be giving away a big-ticket HCH item!

My trunk show with A La Folie.

My favorite SF landmark, the Palace of Fine Arts.

My Deco Bralette, Dixie Ribbon Corset and Tammy Knickers shot by November Light.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Bralettes & Bow Ties: A Valentine's Day Party with Zelma Rose and Rue Magazine

Valentine's Day is a lingerie designer's time to amp things up a bit and with the launch of the new collection, I really wanted this year to be a special one. When HCH PR maven Camille and I started brainstorming party ideas way back before the holidays, we had only an inkling of how awesome the final outcome would be. Lucky for me, Lisa of Zelma Rose was totally on board to team up as my co-headliner for Bralettes & Bow Ties! Lisa's handmade bow ties and pocket squares are pretty incredible and undeniably dapper - not to mention she makes bright, beautiful and expertly handcrafted cross-stitch jewelryRue Magazine co-hosted Bralettes & Bow Ties and a week after our special night, I'm still delighted with the outcome.


Bralettes & Bow Ties was the perfect opportunity for me to sew up a full size run in all the new pieces from my Deco and Cotillion collections, get a bunch of friends and colleagues together, talk shop, try some lingerie and bow ties and drink some cocktails. Photographers Sarah from Portraits to the People and Cristal Veronica really elevated the whole experience with their gorgeous shots. Thanks a million to the dashing Borden Ornelaz for his expertly crafted cocktails, Rebecca Taff for hair and makeup, Camille Schmidt for her PR know-how, Marianne and Richelle for modeling my lingerie and Morgan for being the evening's go-to girl. For more images, be sure to check out both photographers' galleries here and here.


Sad you missed it? Not to worry - many more HCH events are in the cards for the year, so stay tuned to Instagram, Facebook and Twitter to be the first to know about them.







Friday, January 31, 2014

TOMORROW! Honey Cooler Handmade & Pop Antique at Dark Garden!

That's right, the corsetry atelier famous for cinching the ravishing Dita Von Teese among other beauties of burlesque is hosting a Valentine's Day trunk show tomorrow (Saturday Feb. 1st) featuring lingerie by yours truly and the beautiful millinery of Pop Antique. This is the first public event in which I'll have a wide range of sizes and styles from my new Deco and Cotillion Collections available for purchase!


Scope out the full details and RSVP on the Facebook page - we would love to dress you up and make this year's Valentine's Day a truly elegant one!

Join us for champagne punch and prettiness from 4 - 8pm at Dark Garden, 321 Linden Street in Hayes Valley. See you there!

Ready-to-Ship for Your Valentine's Day Gifting Pleasure!

I've been a busy bee - working diligently to have more pieces ready to ship for Valentine's Day than I've ever had before. I'm proud to say that almost everything from the first official HCH collection is ready to ship in all sizes, so if you've been eyeing anything particular, now's the time to snap it up for yourself or your sweetie. If you missed my last roundup of ready-to-ship pieces, check it out here!

Make sure to double-check item listings carefully, because stock availability changes quickly during the V-Day season - each of these items is available on Etsy and BigCartel.

(Photography by Her Lovely Bones)