Balodana Vision and Mission
At Balodana, we believe the solution to modern-day clothing woes is custom built and made-to-measure clothing. We are disrupting fast fashion tactics and ethos.
Skilled dressmakers are commonly found in countries all over the world where people have not forgotten the value of high quality custom garments.
There is a value placed on clothing that fits, and an expectation of investing in a relationship with a tailor or dressmaker.
We aim to amplify that feeling and make it convenient for online shoppers who want support, style, choices and fit.
We think you CAN have it all!
The idea for Balodana started when founder Dana Todd found herself frustrated with the retail shopping experience in America. Even at high-end stores, she noticed that garments didn’t fit her body or were made poorly. Boutiques were better, but often had shapeless garments that didn’t feel powerful or stylish. She found this to be a common complaint among her friends of all ages and body types, but it was particularly an issue for mature women and women who wore larger than a size 6.
Separately,reports emerged about the significant environmental damage being wrought by the fast fashion industry, which creates mountains of overproduction waste and chemical impacts to water and land. Not to mention, the labor practices of the garment industry frequently injure or even kill workers.
Then, Dana found a designer in Romania who manufactured original designs on a made-to-measure basis at a price competitive to most US department store clothing. She was hooked! She decided to build a marketplace that connects women with custom clothiers from around the world, in a setting that combines the convenience of Internet shopping but with the high-touch customer service of a posh retail store. She found more great designers and tailors and invited them to help “bring back the dressmaker” for American women. The resulting Balodana company brings together old-fashioned customer service and dressmaking skills, but with the best new technology to help support you better.
As we grow our company,we want to hear from you! Tell us what we can do better, and tell us what you love.
Meet the Team
Dana Todd, Founder and CEO
I spent 20+ years as a marketing executive and Internet technology entrepreneur, and I love to wear clothes that are either classNameic or creative. In my youth, I loved thrift shopping, vintage glamour and punk rock outfits. For most of my business career, I rocked tailored business suits and neon colored hair. Hitting middle age created something of a fashion crisis for me: the styles for tech industry - and my body type - had changed rather dramatically, and I literally had no idea how to dress myself!
Happily, custom clothing is helping to solve my problem, and I love it so much I invented a whole new marketplace to share it with you and the world! Our goal is to help you find plenty of alternatives to “off the rack” clothing, in order to feel more confident and joyful about your style. I feel strongly about some of the ideas we built into Balodana, including personal concierge support and open communication channels between you and our designers. We want the process to be transparent, collaborative and fun!
Building Balodana has been an act of faith for me and our team, and it’s been rewarding to build it and to interview talented dressmakers from around the world. Everywhere I go, women tell me they are ready to adopt a different way to shop for personalized style and unique fashions that fit.
I hope you’ll support us on this journey as we build our merchandise offerings and add new technology features. Please tell your friends about us, and don’t hesitate to reach out to me personally with your ideas, through Twitter@danatodd, Instagram@datgrrlor Medium@danatodd.
Nisha Katti, Marketing Specialist
I am amulti-talented marketer and writerfrom Georgia (go Dawgs!) When I was around 8, my mother started letting me pick my own outfits, and it led to some very strange half-Cinderella, half-Mardi Gras situations. In my adult life, I still adore clothing, and somehow manage to cram over 75 dresses into my small Chicago apartment (no, I am not exaggerating).
I've always been a bit of an environmental nerd so when I found out how much water it takes to make a simple cotton t-shirt or how quickly consumers cycle through their clothing, I realized that I needed to be more responsible in my purchasing. I got interested in sustainable and ethical fashion in college and haven't stopped being passionate about it since.
I'm so excited about the opportunity to fight against fast fashion, especially at a time when women are owning their impact on the environment and supporting companies who do the same. We all need to find our place in protecting our environment and mine is in the world of fashion.
You can follow me on Twitter@nishakatti
Lauren Freedman, Advisor
The President of The E-tailing Group, our advisorLauren Freedmanis an ecommerce pioneer who brings 25 years of consulting experience to technology companies, delivering thought leadership and go-to-market strategies for platforms and point solutions. She has also long supported top tier retailers, having piloted the first online mystery shopping survey that provided data for 20 years to retailers and established metrics for the industry at large. Her clients have included specialty retailers 1-800-flowers, abt, Aldo Shoes, Barneys New York, Zara, MoMA, Crate & Barrel, Lids, Ulta, Staples, Petco, Nebraska Furniture Mart and Sundance Catalog, along with recognized global brands from Under Armour, HP, Lenovo, Scholastic, Samsonite, Chanel Beauty, M&M’s and Lego to Burt’s Bees. Lauren is the author of It’s Just Shopping and a go-to resource for the media for research and bylines, and she has spoken at most major industry conference, from Shoptalk, Shop.org, Internet Retailer to etail.
Natalee Rogers, Advisor
Natalee Rogersis an expert in patternmaking, technical clothing design and fashion technologies. She helps advise Balodana regarding patternmaking and scaling of clothing for different body types and needs. Most recently head patternmaker at Stitch Method, Natalee created and manipulated patterns using Gerber software to help the company manufacture patterns and samples for their clients' collections of Womenswear, Athleticwear, Childrenswear, Menswear and Accessories. She is an expert on fit, design, and aesthetic, as well as the production of tech packs to communicate with all aspects of the garment manufacturing process. She has a BA in Family and Consumer Sciences, Fashion/Apparel Design from Illinois State University.
Katrin Schnabl, Advisor
Katrin Schnablis a designer, artist, and educator from Germany who advises Balodana on fashion development and fashion tech. She is currently an Associate Professor teaching fashion design, concept and collection development in the core fashion curriculum at SAIC (School of the Art Institute of Chicago), in both the undergraduate and graduate programs in Fashion, Body and Garment. She served as the Sage-endowed Chair of Fashion from 2013-2014. From 2007 through 2010 she served as Program Director of the Graduate Program in Fashion Body Garment during its inception.Originally trained as a dancer, Schnabl shifted her focus to fashion and moved to New York. She graduated with honors from The Fashion Institute of Technology, where she received multiple awards and free-lanced for renowned designers, including Jil Sander, before launching a successful independent design company called Miche Kimsa. As well, Schnabl has designed for numerous acclaimeddance and performance artperformances.
Katy Schildmeyer, Advisor
Katy Schildmeyerhas 22 years of experience in the fashion industry. She currently helps start-up designers and companies understand consumers, product development, design, and long-term goal setting. Katy believes in the power of small companies and a return to slow fashion. She wants to educate people on the possibilities and be aware of how products impact people’s lives.