Mercer Island mom becomes entrepreneur with own children’s clothing line
By LINDA BALL
Mercer Island Reporter Reporter
July 19, 2011 · 2:10 PM
Elysia Sloan said her now 8 1/2-year-old son inspired her to start a children’s clothing line called ZB’s.
“My son was growing so fast,” she said.
At the beginning of every school year, she would buy pants that would start out way too long and baggy in the waist, eventually fit perfectly, then be high-waters by the end of the school year.
With the help of her son, an idea was born.
Last summer, Sloan started the process to create pants for boys and girls that not only zip off to become shorts, but come with an additional 3 1/2-inch piece to create capris from shorts, or to add on for extra length, thus extending the life of the pants.
Sloan chose a durable nylon fabric, although pants are available in cotton, too. Her son also helped her choose the fabrics, testing them to make sure the adjustable waistband was comfortable.
“They are light enough for spring, they dry quickly and wash well,” Sloan said. “They’ve worked really well for my kids.”
The zip-off extensions also have matching belts, which make ZB’s more fashionable, Sloan said. Again, her own kids had a hand in choosing these kid-friendly designs.
On Sloan’s Web site one of the testimonials reads, “My daughter is very sensitive to anything uncomfortable around her middle, showing a strong preference to cotton pull-on yoga-type pants. But she loves her ZB’s! She also likes to switch the cuffs to match what top she’s wearing. The color-coded zippers make it easy to know which cuff matches which pant-leg; just match up the colors! Yellow zipper to yellow zipper, and black zipper to black zipper. No fiddling around to see which ones will zip together. The fabric wears and washes well, resisting spills and messes. My daughter wore these pants in the late winter, and now that the weather is finally warming up, she’s been wearing them as capris. I’m sure she’ll soon zip off those cuffs and wear them as shorts, too!”
Sloan said Sheer Style of Seattle helped her make the pattern and jump start the process a year ago. Production of ZB’s takes place in California, but she is looking at China to increase production. In the past six months she has moved 200 to 300 units, but hopes to increase that number to 1,800 in the next six months.
The average price for a pair of ZB’s is $39, which includes the 3 1/2-inch solid cuff. Decorative cuffs are $6, and matching belts are $4.
Sizes are children’s 4-5, 6-7 and 8-9.
Sloan has been marketing ZB’s online and at trade shows.
Not only is she a mom and entrepreneur, Sloan teaches at a private school. She grew up on Mercer Island and moved back to the Island with her family three years ago.
She is the niece of the former Reporter food writer, the late Eileen Mintz.
Learn more about Elysia Sloan’s clothing line online at zbchildrensclothing.com.Contact Mercer Island Reporter Reporter Linda Ball at email@example.com.