I have another interview for you lovely ladies as part of The Junoesque Interviews series. I talked to Helen Pappas, founder and stylist extraordinaire at Talltique. For those who don’t know, Talltique is a MD based clothing line made for women 6’0″ and over. It has everything from 38″ and over inseam jeans to tall-sized yoga gear and extra long yoga mats. [Check out my past posts about Talltique here, here and here.]
1. Tall women always attract a lot of attention and people tend to not be afraid to come up to us and say some off the wall things. What is the craziest thing that has ever happened because of your height or the craziest thing someone has ever said to you because of your height?
I’ve gotten tons of comments and weird questions over the course of my life. There are always the typical “How tall ARE you”, “are your parents tall?” and questions about sports. That being said, one of the craziest things that happens to me on rare occasion is that someone will approach me out of the blue and ask me for my autograph. That one always makes me smile.
2. Did you always like being tall? If not, when/how did you see yourself differently; start to embrace your height?
I always liked being the tall one in my family (everyone else is under 6’) but I think growing up it can be hard to be the one that always stands out, especially in grade school. I used to try to blend in when I was younger, and at some point when I got to college I decided that I actually liked, and began to embrace, standing out.
When I got to college I began to realize that people were noticing me in a positive way, because of my height. While I didn’t have many tall friends growing up, certainly not female ones, it became fun to branch out and meet other tall people on campus. This is part of what helped solidify my dream to open Talltique, because I always knew that I had trouble finding clothes myself but meeting lots of other tall girls with similar issues just drove it home that this was something I needed to do.
3. What have you learned from owning your own business? Do you have any advice for anyone hoping to start their own company?
I’ve learned a ton from starting my own business:
1. It’s not easy, it’s a LOT of hard work, and there are a lot of ups and downs. People don’t always realize that for some businesses it can take up to 5 years to “break even” (where their sales are equal to what they’ve invested into the company, and they begin to make a profit). This means that you are putting in a lot of work and long hours before you may see any personal gains, which can be difficult. That being said, when your company becomes successful its so gratifying because its something that you’ve created, and is a reflection of you.
2. Make sure its something that you LOVE. Starting your own business effectively overlaps with your entire life, so it needs to be something that you won’t get sick of quickly or that you are excited to talk about and work on all the time. For me, my height was always something that people would constantly talk to me about so I became used to talking about it. This translates perfectly into my business because I get to talk about myself as a tall woman, the challenges I’ve faced, the opportunities I’ve taken advantage of, and I get to relate to other tall women in the process.
3. Start slow and make sure you are able to execute everything you take on to the best of your abilities. When starting your own business, it can be hard to stay focused because the business can go in many different directions. Of course, I’m all for growing your business but keep in mind that your business is a reflection of yourself. That being said, its important to go slow and make sure that as you take on more projects, or grow your business in new ways, that you are capable of performing these tasks perfectly (or as close to perfectly as possible).
4. Try to solve a problem, or fulfill a need. While in college a professor told me that some of the best businesses were started because someone had a problem in their life. I translated this to shopping, because shopping for clothes was constantly frustrating, tedious and disappointing for me. I could rarely find things that I liked, fit well, were flattering, and were nice enough quality to last more than a few months. Thus, Talltique was born!
4. What should we expect from Talltique’s Spring Line? I’m excited to see it. How do you decide what to sell in your store?
We’ve got plenty of exciting things in store for our Spring/Summer line. Of course we’ve got brightly colored jeans, tops and accessories because color is big this season. We also are launching some new styles within our Talltique private label line. This includes organic cotton long tees and tops and blazers. My line of blazers is one thing that I’m most excited about. I think every tall woman needs at least one perfectly fitting blazer, and I’m looking forward to providing that for my clients.
Deciding what to sell in my store comes mostly from personal preference. Being 6’3”, I know what styles or items that I need in my closet and that’s a great starting point for thinking about what other tall women might need. I then combine these ideas with popular trends to create outfits, and sell pieces, that I know are unique, fit well and are hard for tall women to find anywhere else.
5. What is your ultimate goal for Talltique?
My ultimate goal for Talltique is to be known nationwide, and be the #1 go-to place for tall ladies who want comfortable, versatile, well-fitting, high-quality and unique items. I would like to expand to have one store on each coast, and expand the merchandise mix that I offer to my customers.
Thanks Helen for taking the time to answer my questions.
If you are interested in ordering from Talltique, you have a couple of options. You can order online at Talltique.com, call toll-free at 1-855-330-TALL (8255) or shop in-store at their Bethesda showroom by appointment only. Or if you live within 2 hours of MD, you can request a personal consultation and fitting and Helen will come to you.
Ta Ta Lovely Ladies,