Hi there! I’m Jessica, founder/owner of 337 BRAND. After beginning my career in Boston, I decided to relocate to NYC where growth and opportunity were plenty. Living in the heart of fashion has provided me with many local resources and endless inspiration.
What inspired you to start your own label?
The inspiration was sparked during the years I worked designing for large and small companies varying from contemporary to private label and mass-market. It kicked off my fashion career and it was great hands-on experience but I cannot say it was a pretty sight (sustainability-wise). Throughout this time, I noticed the tremendous amount of waste generated throughout the process. Though this is the norm for the industry, I did not want to believe it was also the future.
With a strong belief in giving back and living kind, 337 BRAND was relaunched to focus solely on sustainability. This solid change was made not only for the brand but also my personal lifestyle. As human beings, our actions pave the way to our future. My goal for 337 BRAND is to redefine what it means to be sexy through selfless acts and care for the planet, animals and each other. Hence the motto, Kindness is SexyTM.
Where did the name 337 BRAND originate from?
The name 337 BRAND is the numeric conversion of my last name, Lee. If you turn 337 upside down, it reads as LEE. It was important for me to come up with a name that is meaningful and creative!
What challenges did you face when first starting the brand?
Where do I start?! There are many challenges that come with starting a brand. I was bootstrapping, working full-time in corporate fashion while trying to build 337 BRAND during the evenings and weekends. Another challenge was sourcing sustainable and recycled materials. Several years ago, it was not yet mainstream and the options were very limited.
What has been your proudest moment as a founder?
Growth in making a positive impact and partnering with One Tree Planted to give back! It’s always exciting to see the progress in building a bigger (eco) footprint and receiving media pushes from established and sustainable sources as well. It means the world!
What are words of advice you received that have been most valuable to you as a founder?
First impressions are everything. Take your time, plan strategically and make sure your product represents the brand image you want to stand for.
If you could only choose one item from your collection to wear, what would it be and why?
Currently, my favorite piece is the Circularity T-Shirt which has recently sold out (shop similar styles here). It is a classic tee with a relaxed fit and made from 100% recycled fibers! This t-shirt represents using materials that already exist rather than producing new virgin materials. We are in the midst of restocking this style in new colors and eco fabrics!
Do you have any sustainable brands you really love at the moment?
There are plenty but the one that truly inspires me is Pangaia. I believe using science to develop innovative materials is key to sustainable and circular fashion.
How do you start your workday?
I start with a big glass of warm water, feed our little wild animals that come every day, answer emails and check off my to-do list.
What has helped you stay focused, and positive, through the chaos and uncertainty of the past year?
Taking moments of silence, mediating, getting fresh air, disconnecting from the media, connecting with family/friends/furry friends, looking at art to stay inspired and checking off a to-do list.
What are you excited for 337 BRAND to achieve this year? What do you want to achieve personally this year?
For 337 BRAND, my goals are to implement more sustainable strategies/processes, incorporate more recycled/renewable materials and partnering with additional non- profit organizations to give back!
For me personally, my goals are to schedule more down time, break the habit of checking emails late at night, and continue eating more plant-based meals!