Friday, March 14, 2014

Fitness-inspring giveaway!

We can't wait to shake off our winter hibernation and get our bodies moving again.

To celebrate warmer days ahead, and in honor of our exercise-inspiring pillows, we are dedicating this month to getting fit.

Join us to inspire breaking a sweat by sharing your favorite part of your workout.  Maybe it is watching the sunrise on your morning jog, looking awesome in your favorite jeans, or conquering a new milestone on the treadmill - we want  share in that endorphin rush, and maybe even use it to get others to do the same.  Simply post your comments and photos to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and tag with #makeyourselfproud.

We will choose our favorite, and one lucky winner will receive a special "Go to the gym" gift basket stuffed with 3 of our exercise pillows, a makeup case and our medium travel bag (value $349).  Winner will be announced on May 1, 2014 on our Facebook page.  Please note giveaway only open to US residents 18 years or older.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Gift Guide for the men in your life

Guys can be the hardest people to shop for.

Women?  We're so easy!  (hehe) From hobbies and crafts, fashion clothing and accessories to jewelry or gadgets - I rarely hear someone say that their mom, wife, sister, or (female) best friend are the difficult people on their lists.

But fathers?  Brothers?  Even the occasional husband?  We barely got through last year, is it time to do it again already?!

Well, lo and behold, we've got a slew of styles that I constantly see men magnetized to.  So fret no more.  I got you on this one.

Below, see my "men-approved" picks for this holiday season.  Shop online by clicking the captions below each image, or go straight to our mens gift guide on our website here.
(Remember, we are currently running a promo code for free shipping using coupon FREESHIP at checkout.)

Simple phrase for a simple guy.
This is actually my boyfriend's favorite phrase.  He and his friends say it all the time.  Chances are, your guy does too. 

One of our most popular styles - this classic in steely black & charcoal makes sure his space is clearly defined.

For the kid at heart, comic book fan or someone who just is a hero, even if he is just your hero, this pillow is sure to make your guy feel loved.

You'd be surprised (or maybe not?)
For boyfriends and husbands, you'd be hard pressed to get any pushback on this one.

One of our best sellers amongst men and women alike - this pillow (and the one below) are super popular for couples to give to each other, and sure to get some chuckles...

Probably two of the hardest words to say, and yet what many people just long to hear.  Promise this one will warm the heart of your guy - and who knows?  You might even train him to return the favor.

I like to call this one "the gift that keeps on giving."  One of our all time best sellers for moms to give to their offspring.
Shop our "Men's Gift Guide" on our website by clicking this link.
Happy holidays!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Introducing our new makeup cases!

We've had our new makeup cases in production for the last couple weeks, and wow!  They are simply adorable.  I can't tell you my delight watching these colorful little jewels pile up on our shipping table as they started making their way to some of our favorite retailers last week.  They were everything I wanted them to be when I first decided to design them.

And starting today, they are available for $29 each on our website:!

Here is everything you might want to know about them:

We have used our signature applique technique to cut out letters from 100% recycled felt, and stitched them down one by one.  Then we punched it up with bold color blocking, using a contrasting zipper and re-inforced bottom panel.  Designs include, "XOXO," "LOVE," "OMG," "WTF," "LUXE," "HOT," and "GO."

The cases are made in our factory in Brooklyn from 100% organic cotton canvas.  We've used our signature 100% recycled felt (from plastic bottles) for the letters and the re-inforced base.  And they are fully lined in acetate.  And don't worry - you don't have to worry if your foundation bottle has a leak or you forget to put the cap on a pen - the cases are machine washable!  Just set the machine on cold water on the delicates cycle, and line dry.  If you must iron, make sure to keep the heat setting low or you risk melting the felt.

They measure 11" wide, 6" high and 2" deep at the bottom.  It's the perfect size to throw in your tote bag.  We originally thought the cases would be perfect for makeup, but have been testing them out for everything I need to carry around.  On a recent trip, I've used one case to keep my portable electronics chargers, and another case to organize my toiletries such as toothbrush and travel size shampoo (soft construction means they squish really well into suitcase nooks and crannies!).  School kids can use them for pencil cases, and crafters can keep all sorts of tools such as scissors and small tape dispensers.  Let us know - what will YOU use them for?!

And yes - you probably want to watch this space for further brand extensions in the upcoming months...(Did someone say tote bag?!).  But in the meantime, we'd love to get your feedback!  If you have any questions about the cases, or would like to tell us what you think, please send us an email at

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

{Factory Girl} Month 2

I've always thought of myself as a factory girl.  When I worked in the fashion industry in New York in my twenties, I worked with local factories in the garment center of Manhattan to have salesman samples made.  Then I took the helm of our in-house sample room and managed teams of patternmakers, cutters and sewers.  Eventually my career took me to China, where I spent up to 4 months out of the year working with some of the largest factories in southeast Asia.  Nothing thrills me more than heavy machinery, the sound of productivity, and a beautifully constructed product.

As some of you who follow us on our Facebook page know, on July 23 2013 I got my very own factory.  Our new 4,000 sq ft space on the waterfront in Brooklyn was, literally, a dream come true.

Until that point, my company, alexandra ferguson, had been based in New Rochelle in Westchester County, a suburb of New York City where I grew up.  The first pillows I ever made in the first few months after launching our Etsy shop in January 2009 were in my living room of my loft apartment.  There was a photo of me sewing in my living room with my sunglasses on, late afternoon sun streaming through the windows with probably CNN running on the television in the background.  I can't to find it, which is a bummer.

By spring of that first year, we moved all the bolts of fabric and supplies to my mom's garage and set up shop.  Talk about *big time.*  Now, in fairness, this wasn't your typical garage space.  My mom had hand stenciled the floors, and together we had painted the walls with folk art inspired trees over white washed wood paneling.  The only heat source was an old fashioned wood burning stove (which kicked some serious heat) and double glass sliding doors opened up to the garden.  For a year and a half, I toiled away with a small team in this lovely little space.  When I worked evening shifts, my mom would pop her head in to announce dinner was ready.  Life was good.

By the summer of 2011, we were bursting out of the space.  Thankfully when the weather was nice, we spilled our packaging into the lawn and prayed it wouldn't rain before the UPS truck showed up.

Fortunately my loft apartment about a mile away was zoned as a work/live space.  So I personally moved out, and the company moved in.  Heat that could be turned on with a button, my own private office and a sprawling 800 square foot work room felt truly luxurious.

One of our online retailers,, came in and shot this super fun 2 minute video where we demonstrate our process.  You can watch it here.  This was definitely the only day (dare I say, hour) that the space looked this clean and tidy.  We had designated areas for cutting base panels, sewing machines and packaging.  We learned to pile boxes 4 high, make tables serve double and triple duty, and organize our supply chain to ship us exactly what we needed when we needed it.  By the holidays of 2012, we were storing our inventory of shipping boxes in the kitchen with only enough room to crack the fridge door open to grab a soda can.  It was a great exercise in efficiency.

Shortly after the company turned 4, it had become clear that it was time to move again.  There were some important criteria: the new space would be in the outer boroughs of New York so that we could tap into a larger talent pool to build our team.  It had to be light and airy, close to public transportation and in a safe neighborhood.  And it had to fit our budget.

The search took 3 months, and in the end we decided on a raw industrial loft space in Industry City.  It was perfect.  Sweeping views from the 6th floor of New York Harbor, including downtown manhattan and the Statue of Liberty.  Wall to wall wrap around windows.  And over 4x the space we were currently in.  Manual operated freight elevators and loading docks felt like a luxury that I couldn't wait to indulge in.

On Tuesday July 23rd, the moving truck came.   On wednesday, our sewing machines were delivered. By Friday, the sweet sound of needle and thread joining fabric together could be heard echoing in the space.  For all I knew, it sounded like Mozart.  How we pulled off manufacturing within 3 days of the move is a miracle in human determination that I will never fully understand.  But boy, I do know that I've never worked so hard in my life as I did this summer.

 Custom steel 10' high aqua colored shelving running the length of our 120' long wall was one of my most delightful purchases.

So here we are!  2 months in to our new space.  Besides real estate, what's different?

-We've grown our team to 8 full time employees (and still hiring!)

-we've consolidated all of our manufacturing under one roof

-due to efficiencies of scale, we were able to lower our prices 15%

-we introduced a brand new category of personal accessories.  This week we did our first production run of candy colored makeup cases!  Look for them in stores and on the web within about a week.

-we have "greened up" our shipping by installing a custom built pillow "compressor" which will dramatically slash shipping costs, packaging materials as well as our carbon footprint. (go, team, go!)

Our custom built pillow compressor

-we have teamed up with our neighbors: our latest batch of hangtags were printed on the 3rd floor.  Our makeup case panels were cut in a cutting room on the 5th floor.  And we will start working with a silkscreen printer across the courtyard later this week.  My landlord has officially become my sourcing agent, simply by recommending other tenants in the complex.

Most of all, I am so excited to be part of the growing movement of makers who are bringing manufacturing back to the States.  Everyday I'm reading articles about different factories who have carved out new niches for themselves, jobs being created in communities that desperately needed them, and an overall spark of energy in the air.  This is such a great space to be working in right now and I feel so lucky to be in the middle of it.

What can I say?  So far, with two months under our belt...yes, it's everything this factory girl dreamed it would be.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Better buckle up!

Love this sign we spotted over the weekend outside of Seattle, WA

Monday, April 1, 2013

Shaking up my own status quo: How I went from whiny "no" to unstoppable "yes"

“Here's to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They're not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can't do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”
― Apple Inc.
It got to a point where I wasn’t invited to meetings anymore.  As the decisions came down and the to-do list itemized, my face would get whiter and whiter.  In terror, I repeated blindly, “it can’t be done.  It’s too much, we’ll never finish on time.” 

I’m somewhere in my mid-twenties, running sample rooms for some of NY’s hottest designers.  My job is to manage a team of patternmakers and sewers to transform a designer’s sketch into the clothes that ultimately went down the runway.  By the time fashion week was upon us, we had been working 7 days a week into the small hours of the night for weeks on end, living off of a rotation of delivery services for meals and starved of the company of our friends and family.  

The final days before the show were the most challenging emotionally.  Run down, my reaction to being overwhelmed manifested as frustration – this is impossible!  Why am I being set up to fail?!  Sometimes I would lock myself away in the bathroom, crawl into a ball on the floor, and just cry.

But my fear of deep humiliation if the clothes weren’t ready for the runway was stronger than my conviction that I couldn’t do it.

So I sat in the meetings and repeated “no, no, no” until I wore out my welcome, and then, faking confidence as best I could, set to work with my team to do everything we possibly could to try and get it all done. 

Amazingly enough, every single season we put a gorgeous collection down the runway. 

After many years of this routine, with the bar set higher and higher each season, I had become a broken record of “can’t” and “no.”  And worse yet, my track record was appalling – I had been wrong every single time.  My limited belief in myself was making me deeply unhappy, damaging my credibility with my peers, and holding me back from career superstardom.

So when I took a big job to run product development with an overseas team, I challenged my internal status quo and decided to go from “no” to “yes.”  Now it was my turn to ask people to do more, faster and for less cost than they ever thought possible.  “I know it's crazy, but you can do it,” I would promise, drawing on deep reserves of resourcefulness and patience learned from my runway days.  “How about we try it again this way…” 

Once I had convinced myself that I could accomplish anything I set my mind to, it was easy to get my team on board, and together, knock our goals out the park.  Within a year, I was negotiating with monolithic factories to rebuild their machines, rethink their minimum order requirements, meet aggressive calendar dates and slash costs.

With that magical 3-letter word, “yes,” I transformed into an unstoppable force to be reckoned with.  “Here comes trouble!” the Chief of Operations would cry out when he heard the click-clack of my heels approaching his office.  

“Yes, what do you need me to do?”

  • Observe yourself - red flag any time you hold yourself back with “no” or “I can’t do that.”
  •  Challenge your set of assumptions that lead you to “no” – are they valid?  Play it out in your head – what would happen if you said “yes” instead? 
  • Fake it ‘till you make it: faking confidence in my abilities didn't have the same magical results as truly believing in it, but was still an incredibly effective tool and led to a string of victories to lean on.
  • Practice!  I found that saying “yes” is MUCH harder than saying “no.”  The confidence to back it takes time to develop (8 years in my case).  So be patient with yourself and take baby steps. 
  • Save your “no” for when you really mean it.  When I made a habit of saying “yes,” I found my “no” became very powerful. 
  • Best of all, let the joy and the passion of your new confidence come through – it’s contagious and inspiring. 
An art teacher of mine in high school, Sr. Anne, had a lot of students tell her they were not artists.  “I can’t even draw a straight line!” they would say. 

“Well thank goodness,” she would reply, “because there is nothing more boring than a straight line.  Now give me the best curves, zigs and zags you have.”

Friday, March 29, 2013

Felt scraps put the the cutest use

This month we are launching a new program to re-use and recycle all the colorful fabric scraps that come from manufacturing our pillows.

They are perfect for all sorts of community art programs - from schools to hospitals.  We've already begun our outreach and will start shipping out USPS Large Flat Rate boxes next week to several programs in the tri-state area.

If you think you would be able to use our scraps for your program, please send us an email at  The fabric scraps are free, and all we ask is that you cover the $16.85 shipping cost.

Meanwhile, to get you started with some ideas, check out these adorable little Easter chicks made by alexandra ferguson Roving Ambassador, Charlotte (Alexandra's mom)!