How Svaha’s expanded beyond its roots to offer STEAM fashion for everyone
Only a few years ago, finding a shirt or a dress inspired by STEAM for girls and women wasn’t easy. You might be able to find a few options online, but when you walked into a store there would be basically nothing on the shelves. Fortunately, things have started to change thanks to the raised voices of consumers and the hard work of smaller companies who started with the goal of offering what larger retailers would not. Since 2015, Svaha has been one of those companies providing apparel that challenges assumptions about what girls and women are interested in. Since then they’ve grown to provide apparel, accessories, and much more to everyone who wants to show their interest in STEAM.
Svaha now sells products for kids, adults, and babies. There are dresses, shirts, skirts, jewelry, socks, and even matching family sets. The dresses and skirts come with the coveted feature of pockets as well. The products display designs inspired by science, technology, engineering, art, and math showing everything from DNA crystallography to circuit diagrams to sheet music. Svaha co-founder Eva Everett told GeekFold that it’s been cool to see how things have changed since the company started. These days you can walk into a major retailer like Target and find science items for girls. She credits the group of independent businesses like Svaha that tried to make a change and are succeeding.
“Major retailers started looking at us up and coming companies and going ‘oh maybe there are girls who want to be astronauts or maybe women who are into STEM,’” Everett said. “It’s been cool to be part of this change in the landscape because that was our original mission, to try to change the landscape of apparel and it worked. Now you can be a women and buy something that is space related. It’s been a cool change to see happen.”
Svaha like many of these businesses, including Princess Awesome, began because their founders saw first-hand what wasn’t available. Everett’s fellow co-founder Jaya Iyer originally had the idea for Svaha because she couldn’t find a space-related outfit for her aspiring astronaut daughter. The Kickstarter they launched to help them make children’s clothes was funded successfully and led to a second Kickstarter for women’s dresses.
Since that beginning, the company has grown to provide a variety of STEAM fashion.
“We started as a children’s apparel company and now we have a women’s line, a men’s line, and a line for babies,” Everett told GeekFold. “We’re just expanding all over the place. It’s been really fun to be able to have our idea resonate so well with so many people to the point where we can create all these different lines.”
Svaha has some of the most creative STEAM designs you’ll find in fashion. Many of the ideas for their collections actually come directly from customers. While Everett has a science background and is familiar with many fields, Svaha’s customers reach out and say they would love to see certain designs. Their customers are important to Svaha and for Everett, they’ve been the most loyal and dedicated she’s “ever experienced working for an ecommerce company.”
The challenging part of creating such unique designs is making sure Svaha can get them right. Their first step after someone sends them an idea is to Google and try to find a design idea they like based on the topic. Then they have a designer try to make it a reality.
“We try to find a good template for them. A lot of times we’ll have our customers actually write code for us like our C language dress for example is C language for the Fibonacci sequence. One of our customers wrote the code for us,” she explained. “She was like ‘I want this so bad in a dress, if I write and design for you will you send me a free dress?’ We’re like ‘yes we will!’ We’ll have people send us exact templates as well of what they want or that code and then we try to bring it to life in the best way possible.”
It can also be difficult for them to decide exactly which designs to create since some can be very niche. To Everett it can get to a point where a design is cool, but it might only interest one segment of their customers like virologists.
“The biggest challenge is trying to find our core products versus our ‘we’re going to have this for two weeks’ products. It’s nice to be able to cater to all of our customers because they are amazing,” she said. “They send us feedback. We get 20 emails a day at least. The challenge is deciding how well something is going to resonate with our customer base.”
Svaha isn’t just trying to make a difference by expanding the options in STEAM fashion. They’re also offering a percentage of profits to support important issues in their Dress for a Cause collections. For example, 20 percent of profits from their weather collection go to charities to fight climate change while 10 percent of profits from their molecule collection go to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Everett said they often find a cause and then make a dress or collection for it. Iyer and Everett care about supporting causes of others.
“We want to make clothing where we can be able to donate a portion of it to a cause that we care about and just in general, there’s so much going on right now,’” Everett said. “Along with that, Jaya’s son has leukemia. She called me to tell me and five minutes later she texted me to say ‘we’re making a collection to donate to St. Jude.’ That was her thought line. Both of us really do care and we want to be a company that gives back. We want to be a company that gives back to causes because we both strongly care about what’s going on in the world right now.”
The company shows no signs of stopping their expansion anytime soon. There’s a range of items on the horizon that customers can keep an eye out for. Everett said they are expanding their kids line and have some cool dresses coming out. They also plan to expand their women’s line which will include something librarians will love. They have so many librarians as fans they’re going to be releasing a dress for them very soon. A radioactive elements design will also be introduced and Everett thinks it will resonate with everyone. They will also be releasing new pajamas and bringing back some old designs in different colors. Svaha receives a lot of requests for home goods like sheets, towels, and cups with their designs as well so they are considering moving into that area in the future.
For now though, they are focusing on apparel. Considering how Svaha has grown impressively, it will be interesting what they do next. As Svaha and similar companies continue to challenge assumptions and lead the charge for change, we can’t wait to see how the field of STEAM fashion evolves in the next few years.
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