Hello! My name is Hayley Elliott, and I design and screenprint activewear for my sustainable clothing brand, Purusha People. I live in Calabasas, California.
I taught myself to screenprint using online tutorials and blank shirts from American Apparel. I had just moved back in with my parents after living and working in New York City; moving back to Connecticut took away the financial pressures of making ends meet and helped me discover work that I actually like doing. Living at home, I focused on designing from the heart – from the place of love and creativity that I had discovered within myself. I dyed and screenprinted everything myself, with no clue what people would like or whether I would be able to sell anything. In March of 2009, I set up shop on Etsy and officially launched Purusha People.
Purusha has slowly and steadily grown since then, until I eventually got to a place where I could devote myself to it full time. Though Purusha People has grown a lot, my role in the business isn’t that different: I answer emails, design all the clothing, screenprint, brainstorm new ideas, package orders, and keep looking forward. One big change is that I now work with a talented seamstress, Nadya, to sew all Purusha People clothing.
For me, inspiration is everywhere: Indian philosophy, the ocean, plants, mermaids, butterflies, the moon, metals and gems, my customers, and my family. One main source of inspiration is my yoga practice and workouts, which helps inform the technical aspects of my designs, like what fabrics and styles are most functional, but still look cute and unique.
Etsy allowed me to start my business and meet my customers. Without Etsy, it would have been much more challenging to get my work out there. I am constantly inspired by other sellers on Etsy, and I feel honored to be part of a community with so much talent and creativity. Because of Etsy, I’ve even met and collaborated with other designers on lookbook shoots, like Lux Divine Jewelry, Ann Kat Designs, and yoga mat company Yeti Yoga.
I’m having my first baby in October, so in the future I’d really love to design a kids’ yoga line, as well as getting into making men’s yoga clothing. Someday, I envision Purusha People to be a full lifestyle brand with body care products, natural perfume, yoga mats, jewelry, and other accessories. I am also open to fate and to what my customers want: I know with time, things change, and I have to adjust my vision accordingly. As long as I’m creating and sharing what I think is beautiful with the world, I’ll feel like my goals have been met.
All photographs by Purusha People.