Laila Goddess Clothing Transforms Frumpy Midlife Blues into Gorgeous Comfort
Laila Ghattas is a Toronto-based Canadian designer of original textiles and women’s clothing, focused on a flattering fit for mature women with changing bodies. After observing the alarming epidemic of body image issues in middle-aged women, Laila launched her clothing brand, Laila Goddess, aimed to nurture self-esteem in an underserved market.
Laila spent a decade experimenting with custom tailored clothes made for her while she was working in Bali. Her fabric choices and style evolved with her own changing aging body. It came unintentionally that Laila’s frumpy self-image was transformed into an elegant yet comfortable style.
Laila wants to support women suffering the same daily difficulties. She is committed to serving a neglected market with flowing, generously cut, and flattering essential wardrobe pieces. She wants to make a difference in how middle-aged women feel in their clothes and transform the inner critic waiting in the mirror into pure delight.
Each of Laila’s designs are very thoughtful. To make her unique clothing, Laila starts with her own photography. Then, she develops it on the computer until it’s formalized into a pattern. The original motif is then translated into silk screen separations for hand printing one metre and one colour at a time. Small proofs are printed in experimental colour palettes before she invests in final textile collection production.
On the computer, mockups of Laila’s new clothing styles are combined with textile design. She ideates what style to make each textile out of and calculates how much fabric needs to be printed. After the fabric is printed, it’s sewn into all her original styles in four sizes, carefully graded to best fit her mature demographic.
COVID-19 closures and event cancellations significantly impacted Laila’s income. She needed to pivot to upgrade her original website into a comprehensive online storefront to replace her usual 30 annual public events, shows, and festivals.
To help with her pivot online, Laila signed up for the ShopHERE powered by Google program. She was grateful for the help of her assigned eCommerce Coordinator.
Her coordinator assisted her in the tasks required to build the online store, problem solve together, and answer any questions Laila had in a timely manner.
“Knowing I was able to focus my energy and time into making a lasting fundamental improvement like a new highly functioning website, using a program that offered such solid assistance, eased my worries about the future of my small business. I could not have achieved my ambition for my new site alone and this program support helped relieve much of the stress.”
Laila is incredibly proud of her website with nearly 300 pages, 1200 professional photos, and unique customization. She feels her website can inspire artisans to reach for the moon, be transparent about the story behind their brand, and show them why professional photography is important to invest in.
Since the ShopHERE program does not do any customized coding for websites, Laila did purchase a custom website template and paid a professional Shopify coder from outside the program to make her website as intuitive and simple as possible for her older visitors, in addition to licensing a drawing from Tom LaBaff that perfectly illustrated the positive intention at the heart of Laila Goddess clothing.
Her eCommerce Coordinator was clear about the limitations of the program, but supported her decision to invest in outside help and encouraged and helped with the product page building and populating text pages with images on her store, as well as educating Laila in how to run the website once it was completed.
“[My eCommerce Coordinator] made it a smooth transition with generous cheerful support.”
Laila designed many individual product pages. The combination of the basic page building along with coding she invested in allowed her to achieve a highly functional and elegant website. She wanted her website to be as intuitive and simple as possible to suit her older demographic while looking professional and inviting. Laila is relieved that this “mammoth project” is now complete.
“I am eager to promote my website on social media and approach influencers in the community and abroad. I am so proud of LailaGoddess.com”
Laila urges other small businesses to take advantage of the ShopHERE program.
“This free service takes out some of the sting of all the closures and cancellations and makes participating into a no-brainer to take advantage of the support in these extremely uncertain times for small businesses.”
Laila says the program makes her even prouder to be Canadian and her advice to other business owners is tenfold. Find all available services and support out there. Apply and stretch yourself beyond your creative expression to get the admin side solid and ready to support your brand.
On that note, find out your brand. Find the “why” behind what you do. Tell your story and be clear about what sets you apart. Be clear about what sets you apart. Demonstrate value.
Laila feels the biggest problem is that many artists aren’t business-minded. Laila is confident that everything is possible even when unfamiliar. Shop around for professional photography, use social media groups to ask for referrals and ideas.
If you’re in Laila’s target demographic and are looking for clothes to inspire you to feel attractive and comfortable in your changing body, check out her website lailagoddess.com
If you’re looking for free assistance in creating your own eCommerce website, you can sign up for the ShopHERE powered by Google program here.
Digital Main Street was created by the Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas (TABIA) with direct support from the City of Toronto. DMS is also supported by a group of strategic business partners, including Google, Mastercard, Shopify, Meta, Intuit QuickBooks, Square, Lightspeed, Ebay and Canada Post.
Continued investment from the Province of Ontario, through the Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade (MEDJCT) has allowed the ongoing expansion the Digital Main Street Platform in order to support more businesses going digital across Ontario.