Looking for boho fashion with an eye towards sustainability? Look no further than FP Co Limited, a Houston-based fashion start-up that's been making waves online since 2008.
The company was founded seven years ago by sisters Louie and Sophia Touassa (aged 24 and 28, respectively) when the two were living in their hometown of San Juan, Puerto Rico. Sophia was working as a civil engineer and teaching high school students at an academy when she began designing jewelry on the side for fun. Soon her students were asking where they could buy her works. So she started an Etsy store, selling costume jewelry and accessories inspired by the sisters' half-Moroccan half-Dominican background.
Sophia describes their brand as “boho-goth.”
“It's kind of like a clash of styles,” she said. “We say our ideal muse is the free-spirited city-girl.”
Among the designs dreamed up by Sophia are body chains, hand chain bracelets, turbans, hair chains and one-of-a-kind kimonos. Louie Touassa mainly runs the business-side of things, keeping social media and the company's online store updated.
How FP Co Limited ended up in Houston is a story of chance, Sophia said. After starting her Etsy store, she took a millinery course and began self-educating on fashion design. She enrolled in fashion school full-time in 2011, but with business booming she dropped out to devote all her time to FP Co. (The business name, a relic of the girls' youth, originally stood for “Funny People Company.”)
Two years later, Sophia decided to move to Texas. “Business taxes in Puerto Rico are incredibly high,” she said. “Houston is very accessible.”
Which is not to say many people in Houston know about the company. Most of the Touassas' clients are based in California and New York. Last year they were also featured in UK Elle and UK Company Magazine.
“Pinterest and Tumblr have been a boon for us in terms of finding customers,” Sophia said.
Each piece is hand-made by FP Co's small staff of five women in their studio east of downtown. The company is vertically-integrated and strives to provide people with sustainable, affordable fashion. On the day of this interview, three FP Co employees were chatting happily while making jewelry and packing orders in the room that serves as both a workspace and photography studio for the company.
“Ninety-seven percent of the costume jewelry sold in the United States comes from China,” Sophia said. “We want people to realize we should start changing the way we consume fashion.
“We try to make sure we don't buy any supplies from dubious sources. We believe in fair trade. We believe it's possible to pay someone a living wage. We believe that for people to work happily they need a living wage.”