Fostering Craftsmanship and Making Girls Dresses Beautiful in Many Ways
Becoming a first time mother of a baby we cannot wait to hold definitely transforms how we feel about so many things. The instant we become mothers, our priorities change. Our interest in making the world a better place for our children increases. The thought that even one mother is unable to meet her children’s basic needs for food and shelter hurts. Isabel Garretón’s entrée into motherhood decades ago unleashed a burning desire to help underprivileged mothers and their children. This is the story of Isabel Garretón, the brand.
Isabel was a promising young scientist invited to study in the U.S. by the World Health Organization. While completing her masters in science, Isabel settled in Los Angeles with her husband and started a family. Committed to raising her girls and being available to them, she left her career to become a stay-at-home mom, a path taken by many women. While feeling fortunate to be able to be with her daughters, the loss of her professional identity left a hole in her life. She decided to fill the void by creating a company that would provide a dignified work opportunity and fair wages for underprivileged women in her native Chile. She reached out to women who had incredible hand-embroidery, hand-smocking and dressmaking skills. With her childhood passion for sketching dresses, Isabel felt certain she could expand the market for their skills beyond Chile and, as a result, improve their lives and the lives of their children.
And, so, the once-aspiring scientist embarked on a new career path into the world of children’s dressmaking. She traveled to her hometown of Santiago, Chile and, with 21 women, mothers like herself, brought her sketches of little girls’ dresses to life. She presented the beautifully hand-made dresses to Maggie Chaffin, owner of the prestigious Dottie Doolittle children's wear boutique in San Francisco. Maggie ordered 54 dresses, and Isabel Garretón, Inc.—a social enterprise—was born.
That was over 25 years ago and Dottie Doolittle remains a client. A pioneer then, today, Isabel Garretón dresses are found in the best stores in the country and many places around the world. Her collections support more than 100 women and their families, many of whom work from home so they can simultaneously care for their children. The success of her social enterprise is a testament to what Isabel has always believed: that a beautiful dress has more meaning when it helps make the world a better place.
“Every mother who has waited with excitement for the bright newness of a baby deserves the time and space to enjoy her child’s smile and laughter. Helping women care for their children while earning a living has been a lifetime endeavor that has made my life and that of my children better,” says Isabel.
Thank you for being a part of Isabel Garretón’s dream. Happy Mother’s Day!