Valeria Green & Kim Garrett, Co-Founders of CHELA

Chela is a platform that connects conscious consumers to emerging sustainable fashion designers from all around the world. We curate unique and thoughtful brands so that consumers can conveniently shop their values without compromising on quality and design.

Website: chela.us

Founders: Valeria Green and Kim Garrett

Origin Story: Valeria Green and Kim Garrett are second-time founders. Their experience in retail and e-commerce really helped them identify a real problem in the fashion industry. Fashion is the second biggest polluter on Earth only after oil and gas. The fast fashion industry has been harmful not only to the environment but people’s life. “At CHELA we support small businesses because they are the heart and soul of sustainability in our perspective.”

Problem: When traveling the world to search for manufacturers to work with for her previous brand, Valeria realized that there are many local designers that value quality and sustainability when making their clothing but really have no place to showcase their products and connect with the conscious consumer. After becoming a successful seller on some of the digital marketplace platforms out there she identified a niche that hasn’t been fulfilled. A two-sided marketplace for emerging designers that support sustainable practices.

Solution: Our mission at CHELA is to support the small emerging designers and to provide them with a platform that helps them reach new markets. On the other side, the consumer can find unique local designers that align with their values all in one place. We carefully select brands on our platform that are almost impossible to find anywhere else, because we travel the world and explore the culture and vision of each brand before we decide to invite them to CHELA.

Status: We just launched our MVP website in the form of a catalog. We are now working closely with local brands from three continents. We have some very cool projects planned that will help the consumer make informed decisions about the brands on our platform and what makes them special. In 6 months we want to be in a good position to transition from a catalog to a marketplace version of CHELA.

Grand Vision: Maybe a virtual reality tour to the designers’ shop. If people come to CHELA and find something they can’t find anywhere else and they feel happy, confident, and comfortable wearing things made by real people.

Founder Fun Facts: Valeria opened her holiday pop-up shop in a local mall when she was 9 months pregnant with her second child. After her son Noah was born, she was discharged from the hospital and went straight to work at the mall selling her clothing line to customers while her husband waited in the car with her newborn.

Kim is passionate about helping empower women out of extreme poverty and oppression through business. In her first business, Rooted Beauty, she funded mico grant projects that enabled over 100 women in developing countries to receive vocational training, recovery counseling, and business inventory to pursue their dreams and escape a cycle of poverty.

AlphaLab is a nationally ranked early stage startup accelerator focused on helping founders achieve product-market fit and customer traction.