TANYA ZHANG & WESLEY KANG
(Founders of Nimble Made)
We know that finding a good fit isn't always easy, and sometimes it simply means creating a whole new fit. Our friends at Nimble Made did just that. Nimble Made is a size inclusive brand, founded by Asian American entrepreneurs, striving for diversity and representation in fashion.
Tanya Zhang and Wesley Kang, founders of the NYC-based brand, understand that the industry sizes clothing based on the "average" American man to appeal to the mass market, but fit is personal. With a focus on bringing more inclusion in sizing standards, Nimble Made is creating a new standard for slim fit.
What inspired you to start Nimble Made?
Tanya: I was disappointed by the lack of well-fitting clothes for my dad whenever he would visit the US from China. He’s a slimmer man at around 5’7” 140 lbs. I realized there are relatively decent selections available for petite women and wanted to create Nimble Made to provide more inclusive sizing options for my loved ones and community.
Wesley: Sizing issues were a personal struggle for me. Being a slimmer Taiwanese-American man working in Finance, it was always a struggle to find a dress shirt that fit well right off-the-rack and so, finding a good fit became very personal. I had to wear a dress shirt to work everyday at my job and I could never express myself properly in a professional way.
How did you two meet and what it’s like working together?
We both swiped right on Coffee Meets Bagel in 2015! Yes (surprise) we are both dating and co-founders of Nimble Made. We’ve been dating for about 4 years now and started the brand together last year. As co-founders and partners in life, we’re really learning each other’s work ethics and communication style. Finding out more about each other through our venture with Nimble Made has been a reward in and of itself.
Tell us about the design process for your size-inclusive shirts.
We started with building the perfect fit off of Wesley’s body. He was 5’5” in height and around 130 lbs at the time we were prototyping and became our, then, smallest size N1. From there, we created a preliminary size chart with various measurements across the body for our N2, N3, N4, and N5 sizes. We created an initial batch of samples off these first 5 sizes and did a bunch of user testing and interviews to adjust! We just recently added our newest smallest size N0 due to high demand and customer feedback :)
You worked in finance. What was it like to make that jump into starting your own apparel brand?’
W: There were a lot of unknowns. The most challenging part is the lack of guidance on how to run a business. The finance industry is extremely structured and laid out for you – it really carves out a linear progression where people can make a career out of with a clear path ahead. But in entrepreneurship, there’s never really a clear cut answer or way to do certain things. You never really know what to do next and that is the biggest difference clear cut of what to do next and that was a big difference. It was a very jarring experience.
What advice do you have for someone that’s starting their own business?
T: Really find a product and mission that drives you. If it’s one thing you need in entrepreneurship, it’s resilience. There are so many obstacles you have to overcome or take on on a daily basis and having the perseverance to get through them is, honestly, most of the battle. It really helps to have a product and mission you’re very passionate about to remind you and keep you grounded in what you’re doing.
How would you describe your style?
T: My most true and comfortable self is in an oversized sweater, shorts, and a baseball cap. I love a classic frame that I can wear with every outfit!
W: I’ve gravitated towards more casual wear since leaving finance, so I like to wear slim pants and a sweatshirt with sneakers that pop. I really like glasses frames that are in between rounded and squared, just like the Deneb Coast. I think have an angular face, so round round edges tend to complement well with my face shape.
We created Elevated Fit® so that we could smile with confidence and feel comfortable in our own skin. What does confidence mean to you?
T: Being brave and being pushed outside of your comfort zone.
W: Confidence to me means being really comfortable with yourself. In a world full of constant challenges and a need to impress, it’s really important to feel comfortable with how you look. If you’re always second guessing how your outfit makes you look, you’re not going to feel 100% and it’ll show as a lack of confidence. That means everything from well-fitting eyewear, to the rest of your outfit.
Favorite place I’ve traveled to? Budapest, Hungary
Song of the moment? Really loving Mahalia, Kiana lede, Snoh Aalegra songs at the moment
Frames I’m obsessed with? Naos Champagne
Best advice I received? Stop working at the time haha
Emoji that best describes me?
Favorite place I’ve traveled to? Big Island, Hawaii
Song of the moment? Don’t Stop Me Now - Queen
Frames I’m obsessed with? I really like the ones I wore at the shoot, they just didn’t slide down my nose and my head didn’t hurt from the motion.
Best advice I received? Doesn’t matter what others think
Emoji that best describes me?