Visit Lily Brown’s Bolton Hill home almost any afternoon and you’re sure to find her sitting at a sewing machine making children’s clothes. You also may find Jessica Chappel Kremen there, preparing to ship those clothes to the duo’s newest customers.
It’s all in a day’s work for Kremen and Brown, the co-founders of Worthy Threads, a new online apparel company for kids created and headquartered in Baltimore.
Worthy Threads, which launched its first collection in April, makes unique, vintage-styled clothing in prints with names like “babershop,” “hipster kid” and “lovely llamas” that celebrate the individuality of the children who wear them and inspire their parents, says Kremen.
“In the collection, you’ll find clothes with ruffled sleeves that may be paired with a fabric that has men with mustaches,” she says. “These are unexpected fabrics. … You wouldn’t typically see them together, and I haven’t been able to find anything else like them.”
Kremen grew up in Baltimore, graduated from The Park School and attended New York University, where she majored in communications. Nowadays, she lives in Pikesville with her husband, Michael, and the couple’s son and daughter.
Brown is originally from Delaware and lives with her husband, Chris, and their two daughters. She graduated from the University of Maryland, College Park with a major in mechanical engineering.
Both women say their children are the inspiration behind their joint venture.
After trying unsuccessfully to find unique kids apparel that was comfortable, moderately priced (from $20-$40) and machine washable, Brown and Kremen decided to create the clothes themselves. Worthy Threads’ clothes fit the bill.
A self-taught entrepreneur, Kremen is responsible for the business side of Worthy Threads. After deciding to get into the fashion industry, she went to a fabric show in New York City to learn what goes into starting a clothing line.
Brown is responsible for making all the clothes. She too is self-taught.
“I started sewing about a year ago,” says Brown. “I bought a sewing machine and taught myself by watching YouTube videos. I realized I wanted to do something professionally with sewing and Jessica was looking to start a children’s clothing line. I showed her a bunch of stuff I sewed for my girls, she showed me her ideas and we knew we needed to do this together. So far it’s been a great partnership.”
Liz Baker, a mutual friend, introduced Kremen and Brown, and she isn’t surprised they’re a successful team.
“Jessica is an entrepreneur at heart and has a unique talent for spotting fashion trends,” says Baker. “Her style is effortless, cool and comfortable. Worthy Threads embodies that vibe. Lily is a talented seamstress and a perfectionist. She’s spent countless hours creating the perfect size, fit, cut and color combinations.”
While Kremen and Brown are doing most of the work themselves, they’ve had some help from Jamie Burton, director at WickedlySmart, an online tech and marketing education company.
“I’m excited to support a local business created by two moms who understand the market of today’s kids clothing line,” says Burton, a mother of two, adding that she looks forward to dressing her children in clothes “that really speak to their personalities.”
Kremen and Brown say while starting a business isn’t easy, it’s well worth it.
“Making the clothes is something I really enjoy doing and it’s nice that it’s my job now,” says Brown.
“It’s amazing seeing an idea I had in my mind come to life,” says Kremen. “You have to be confident in yourself. If you think it’s a good idea, chances are someone else will, too.”
For information about Worthy Threads, visit worthy-threads.com.
Top photo: Lily Brown (right) and Jessica Chappel Kremen (left) say their children are the inspiration behind
their new joint kids clothing line venture, Worthy Threads. (Photo by Daniel C. Kucin Jr.)
Aliza Friedlander is a Baltimore-based freelance writer.
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