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Girls Build: Laying the Foundation for Future Tradeswomen

Co-founder Sara DeLuca shares her thoughts on building the future through clothes that inspire confidence and comfort for our next generation of working women. 

For women, the lack of opportunity to learn how to make, build and fix starts young. This life skills gap is only fueled by the lack of functional performance gear and apparel designed to fit our bodies.

Recently, I had the amazing opportunity to work with my daughter Sofie's after-school community building class, organized by non-profit Girls Build. This non-profit inspires young women ages 8-14 to harness the power of their creativity and physical skills through after-school classes and summer camps that explore the basics of building, including carpentry, plumbing, electricity, concrete, sheet metal and much more! 

Under the direction of instructors Ev Hu, the regional Habitat for Humanity construction supervisor and Birdsmith Construction carpenter Carey Lien, the girls set about constructing a beehive play structure using power tools, staining and sanding.

As a mom of one of these amazing pre-teens, I can tell you that shopping for a 12-year-old is more demanding that choosing the Queen of England's wardrobe. You're inundated with short-shorts and halter tops. It's almost impossible to find clothes that allow girls to express themselves as strong, creative, and capable. And forget work gear - it simply doesn't exist.

Before we got started on the play structure, I had the class wear-test our Maven pant in smaller sizes and inseams. The result was a group of girls who loved their jeans and were ready to put them to work.

We can lecture our girls that strong is the new beautiful.  But you know what's better than lecturing?  Modeling it. 

There's no one better to model this than the team that put the project together.  Katie Hughes, Girls Build's Executive Director, masterminded the project in coordination with Shantae Johnson, the founder of Mudbone Grown, a community farm that sits next to the Oregon Food Bank.

Hands down, the best part of Dovetail for Kate, Kyle and I has been getting to know our wear-testers and this community of women builders, artists and groundbreakers. We're so inspired every day by their grace, grit and power.  To give my daughter exposure to role modes like Ev and Carey is such a gift. 

Whatever Sofie does in her life, I hope experiences like this fuel the internal voice in her head to always say, "I am strong. I am capable of anything."

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