Q&A: Karly Hiser

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Founder | Crann Apparel

Karly Hiser left a lucrative and fulfilling career as a pediatric nurse practitioner to found Crann Apparel, a family-owned and operated business producing high-quality sustainable children's clothing.

Hiser—a wife and mother to three children in East Grand Rapids—was inspired to use her creativity, interest in business, passion for environmental sustainability, and love of children to create a product with the potential to transform kids' fashion. Hence, the birth of Crann Apparel! The brand offers a range of high-quality basic fashion for boys and girls (sizes 4-10) in a variety of nature-inspired hues.

West Michigan Woman caught up with Hiser to learn more about how Crann Apparel got started (during the pandemic, no less) and what sets her vision apart from other apparel brands.

What inspired Crann Apparel?

When my son was younger, he often refused to get dressed in the morning. He complained that his clothes were hot, itchy and uncomfortable. The difficulty getting him dressed translated to many tantrums and stressful mornings. After probing the issue a bit further, I realized the source of his discomfort was the fabric of his clothing—mostly polyester and polyester blends. The synthetic fabrics in his clothes made him sweat and irritated his already extremely sensitive skin.

With some further research, I discovered many naturally-derived fabrics that could serve as a solution for his sensitive skin while also being less impactful on the environment. Unfortunately, I found very few alternatives available in the market for his age group. Given the gap in the market and my newfound knowledge, I used my son's struggles with his clothing as inspiration to start making my own products from natural fabrics like lyocell, hemp and organic cotton. As my son began wearing my newly produced clothing (which eventually became Crann Apparel), he became happier, his eczema cleared and our mornings were much more pleasant.

Talk about getting a business off the ground in the midst of a pandemic.

The key to launching a business during a pandemic is patience. Registering trademarks, manufacturing products, bringing clothing to market—all of these critical components took much longer than they would under normal business conditions.

I was fortunate to identify an incredible manufacturing partner that was able to help me navigate supply chain challenges, and I used the downtime between production cycles to refine my website, network and expand my mix of distribution channels. Maintaining a long-term perspective helped me stay grounded and focused through short-term setbacks and on the most challenging days.

What are your goals for the future of Crann Apparel?

My mission is to change the way parents think about their children's clothing. Specifically, I want to help parents understand the detriments our fashion industry poses to the planet and our children's health. Moreover, I want to become parents' go-to source for high-quality, durable, exceptionally comfortable, and non-toxic kids' basics.

Learn more by visiting crannorganic.com and @crannorganic on socials.

Written by Sarah Suydam, Managing Editor of West Michigan Woman.

This article originally appeared in the Aug/Sep '22 issue of West Michigan Woman.


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