HazelBleu initially intimidated me. When I first discovered the vast community of small shops, I heard whispers of how hard it was to purchase new apparel from the shop during a HazelBleu drop. I saw that gently-worn HazelBleu shorties and joggers were later resold by moms online for two or three times the retail price. And, even recently, I watched women clamor and enthusiastically outbid each other during a charity auction for a one-of-a-kind design from HazelBleu. The winning bid was over $500. Five. Hundred. Dollars. With all of the mystery and intrigue surrounding HazelBleu, I had to meet Brie Akers, the wizard behind the brand.
In October 2014, Akers began sewing clothing for her youngest son, who was just four months old. “I couldn’t find anything that fit him and was versatile for his growing, changing body. I bought a machine, measured him, and hand drew a few patterns,” she recalled. “I posted a picture of him in a Facebook group of my small group of friends and people started asking me where his clothes were made. When I told them I made them, they asked me to make some for their kids.” With some patterning tweaks and adjustments for additional sizes, Akers began to slowly build a following. “Eventually, those friends told their friends and the word spread. Because of the demand, I set up an email and started selling on Etsy at first. When the brand took off even more, I knew I had to create a different platform.” Enter HazelBleu.
The small shop now offers joggers, shorties, skirties™ and tops for kiddos in unique, hand-drawn print designs. Akers employs a full-time designer who creates exclusively for HazelBleu. “I have zero graphic design skills, but I have a ton of ideas. My designer and I work together really well in that I can tell her what I want and she somehow just knows how to take my thought and put it in to print,” she said. Past collections have included animals, florals, various food items, colorful rainbow prints and more. The shop’s “comfortable but trendy” style remains steadfast, although the original patterns that Akers created have evolved over the years. “We have also changed the way we cut, sew and package to be more streamlined to allow for more products to be made,” she explained. HazelBleu releases 7-10 new designs, all ready-to-ship, every 4-6 weeks and I am not exaggerating when I tell you they sell out virtually instantaneously. “If you want something, you have to grab it quickly. Once it is gone, we do not bring it back,” Akers cautioned.
So what is the source of the HazelBleu magic? Is it the adorable print designs only available from the shop, the custom fit of the apparel, the adrenaline rush of scoring during a limited drop, or maybe a combination of all three? I think the credit goes to Akers. “I love creating the clothing, but more than that, I love the community I feel like we have built. I have had such an amazing support group and it feels like it grows every day,” she shared. “Because our brand is doing so well, we are able to give back a lot to the community, which is something I have always wanted to do. I want to change the world. I want to put a smile on as many faces as I can. Something as simple as paying for the coffee for the person behind you can change their day. The world is full of amazing people and I have had a real chance to get to know a lot of them. If you put good out, you get good back. If you have made it this far in reading this and you are able, do something nice for someone today. It will make them feel good, but it will also make YOU feel good.” I just love this.
Mark your calendars now because the next HazelBleu release is next Thursday, April 25th at 6pm PST and it’s going to be a doozy of a drop. In the meantime, join the “BleuCrew” through HazelBleu’s VIP Facebook group and check out photos on the shop’s website here.