Founders Brian and Lea Leopold with their children, Benji (5) and Maya (2)
Meet the Founders
You didn’t come this far to only come this far.
We started Tokalon in September 2017 after the rocky launch of our own private label apparel brand.
Despite more than 20 years combined merchandising and retail experience, when it came to manufacturing our own low-volume apparel collections, our supply chain seemed to fail us at nearly every turn.
That was, until we started building our own production team in Medellin, Colombia to be our boots on the ground, developing meaningful relationships with our suppliers, and overseeing every step of the process, from design to production.
When much bigger brands than our own started asking us for help with their apparel production, we identified an underserved need in the apparel industry, and Tokalon was born. Fast forward a couple years, and today we work with some of the most respected names in fitness and activewear from around the globe.
We still oversee account management from our home office (apologies in advance if the kids barge into our office in the middle of a conference call - it happens), and our team in Medellin ushers every client order through the making process.
Meet the Team
Co-Founder + CEO
Brian has experience in eCommerce from Gap.com, as well as merchandising and enterprise strategy from Target. He has an MBA from Pepperdine University where he focused in entrepreneurship.
Co-Founder + COO
Lea has sat at all the seats around the apparel retail table. From design in couture lingerie, to sourcing at Banana Republic, product development at Lucky Brand, and merchandising at Christopher & Banks. She has a B.S. in Apparel & Textiles from Iowa State University.
Jhon is a veritable Swiss Army Knife of apparel. His career started in fashion design before transitioning to in-house product development for one of the largest cut + sew facilities in Medellin. He received his master's degree in Fashion Marketing from Parsons Paris.
Head of Sourcing + Development
Maria Clara is an indispensable asset to our team. Besides her experience in fashion design and development with some of the most respected brands in Latin America, she has instructed university courses ranging from textiles to design, commercial production, and more. She has a masters degree in Product Design.
Amanda is responsible for perfecting the fine details unique to each garment that elevate the quality of the finished product. She's a pattern maker, technical designer, sample maker, production planner, quality inspector extraordinaire.
Our Commitment to Ecological Sustainability and Social Responsibility
To be truly beautiful, one must also be truly good.
The word, To Kalon (pronounced TOW-kuh-lawn), comes from ancient Greek to describe the ideal of both inner and outer beauty.
For us, this means that making beautiful clothes is only half of the story. We maintain a holistic view of our work – from the environmental impact we leave on our planet, to the working conditions of the people who make our clothes, and ultimately, the needs of our clients to drive thriving, profitable businesses.
- We work with biodegradable options whenever possible, including biodegradable embellishment inks and poly bags.
- We work with fabric mills that have state-of-the-art water treatment facilities that recycle 80%+ of the water used in the production process.
- Near-sourcing from Colombia allows us to leverage a skilled workforce, while reducing carbon emissions to the U.S. compared to Asia.
Sourcing from a developing country helps bring people out of poverty by providing opportunities that are otherwise out of reach:
- 80% of sewers are single working mothers or heads of household
- 90% have no high school diploma
- 30% have no prior work experience
- 70% earn above minimum wage
We work with boutique, family-owned facilities that provide the following employee benefits:
- Educational scholarships to employees and their family members to attain their high school diploma
- Property loans with low interest rates to purchase their first home
- On-site medical services
- Routine stretching and physical exercises throughout each day to reduce work-related injuries
- Countless celebrations for work and life
The Scrunchie ProjectTM
Video courtesy of reconcolombia.org
Mujer Talento is like being born again.
Sewing Apprentice, Mujer Talento
We are proud to announce the launch of The Scrunchie ProjectTM, a philanthropic initiative that helps at-risk women and girls create a new life for themselves and their families.
Our partner, Mujer Talento [Talented Woman], a non-profit factory in Medellin, Colombia, provides free sewing apprenticeships to women between the ages of 14 and 60 to become certified sewing operators. Graduates of the program are then able to obtain full-time employment from other production facilities in Medellin, or are hired to work at Mujer Talento's industrial production facility.
Some of the problems that characterize apprentices are displacement from different areas of Colombia and Venezuela, drug addiction, victims of domestic violence, sexual abuse and prostitution, among others.
100% of proceeds from every sale of Tokalon's The Scrunchie ProjectTM Collection are reinvested in Mujer Talento to help enable them to continue their important work.
So, why scrunchies?
Well, they’re not just cute. They’re also a great item for a newbie learning to sew. And the best part? They’re small, so they can be made from our own fabric scraps, which means we get to upcycle our scraps and they coordinate with the rest of the collection.
Responsibility + Sustainability + Fashion = The Scrunchie ProjectTM