For all those women out there who are tall and struggle to find great clothes that actually fit, then help is at hand from a great new South African brand, Love Long Length Clothing.
LoA chatted to Kristi Kyle this month to find out more about this unique company
What does your company do?
Love Long Length Clothing is a locally produced clothing brand for tall women in South Africa.
"Spending so much time in the United States prior, with all extra length options in clothing available for tall women, I did not realize how real the struggle was here in South Africa to find clothing to fit."
What inspired you to start your company?
When I first moved to South Africa, I was just about to have my first son. Spending so much time in the United States prior, with all extra length options in clothing available for tall women, I did not realize how real the struggle was here in South Africa to find clothing to fit. Maternity clothing for tall women? Not a chance! Not only that, but my once size 8 figure blossomed into a size 14 overnight. My precious collection of extra length jeans had to packed away into a “maybe later, maybe never” pile along with the rest of my international brand clothing, and I was left at the mercy of the South African retailers. Needless to say I lived in 'too-short' leggings and tunics. There was ONE local store in my local mall cater to tall women and offering a few extra length trousers, but the design and quality were poor, not well thought out or well made. Flash forward to this year and they have almost discontinued that range. On the high end spectrum, there are one or two denim companies that make a Tall pair of jeans, but the prices are out of reach for the everyday woman. So I saw there was a glaring gap in the market for a quality range of basics at an affordable price.
Why should anyone use your service or product?
We are the first business in South Africa to exclusively cater to tall women. We manufacture locally and support other women in business for all our sewing. The quality of our garments are comparable to any high end brand out there. More importantly, our designs not only cater to taller women, but to all body types from slim to curvy.
"We are the first business in South Africa to exclusively cater to tall women. We manufacture locally and support other women in business for all our sewing."
Tell us a little about your team
The Love Long Length company is made up of myself and Brenda Martin. We handle everything from Manufacturing to Marketing and everything in-between. We were fortunate to add two new members to our team last year. Carol (183cm) looks after our customers in the Gauteng area, and Angela (185cm) looks after our customers in the Western Cape area.
Share a little about your entrepreneurial journey. And, do you come from an entrepreneurial background?
My mother (Brenda) unknowingly raised me to be an entrepreneur. She ran successful self-made businesses from home all my childhood life. I have such fond memories of helping her with her orders and hand-writing invoices for her at the age of 12. I day-dreamed of having my own business one day. In college, I studied business administration and I have been fortunate to have years of experience in both small and corporate offices. Fashion & Design experience? – I knew nothing! I was fortunate to have met an incredibly wise business mentor from the very start who was top of the manufacturing industry here in South Africa. He pointed me in the right direction and from there I built a great team around me that could turn our ideas into a design reality.
"Our designs not only cater to taller women, but to all body types from slim to curvy."
What are your future plans and aspirations for your company?
We are extremely big on customer service and taking care of our shoppers. With that in mind, we have set up the system of bringing on “distributors” who look after our customers in a specific area. They handle returns, send out info on new products, arrange fittings, and overall represent Love Long Length as a brand. We are privileged to have Angela and Carol on our team, and I would love to add one or two more ladies to the team this year that can represent us as well as they do.
To add to our collection, I’d like to design the perfect work chino for our corporate customers, as well as a bootleg pair of jeans this year. As a business, I’d love to see our brand grow further into other areas of South Africa. To think that there are ladies in this country that have no idea they don’t have to go to a hundred stores to find a pair of PJs that are long enough!
What gives you the most satisfaction being an entrepreneur?
I am passionate about women feeling beautiful and confident with their body shape and height. None of this "when I lose weight" business - life is too short! With most major retailers not catering specifically to tall women, oftentimes women are forced to settle on unflattering and uncomfortable clothing. No matter how tough running a business can be, seeing the confidence we instill with every online order and personal fitting, makes it all worthwhile.
"I am passionate about women feeling beautiful and confident with their body shape and height. None of this "when I lose weight" business - life is too short!"
What's the biggest piece of advice you can give to other women looking to start-up?
Find yourself a great business mentor in the same type of industry – this will save you from making unnecessary mistakes. Schedule a meeting, grab a notebook and take as many pointers as you possibly can in whatever time they can give you!
Contact or follow Love Long Length Clothing
Why LoA loves it….
Finding and filling a gap in the market with a great, high quality product, is a recipe for success, and in the case of Kristi Kyle’s company, Love Long Length, that gap came in the form of fashionable clothes for tall women. Today, she is bringing smiles and a solution for all those women who have battled to find great looking clothes that actually fit. --- Melanie Hawken, founder and editor-in-chief of Lionesses of Africa