Setting the bar too high has never been much of an obstacle for fashion designer Lameka Weeks, especially when it comes to her lifelong dream.
Standing 6-foot-1-inch tall, the former Oxford High School basketball star is the creator of Height Goddess, a clothing line designed specifically for women of above -average height. While many department stores carry clothing lines that cater to the body types of some women, the big-and-tall yet still flattering market is still developing.
“I can’t remember a time when it wasn’t a challenge,” Weeks said of her own shopping memories. Rarely being able to find a pair of jeans that actually covered her legs, she spent her teenage and college years rummaging through her dad’s closet or altering the ones in her own.
“I would buy a pair of jeans that we could try and let the hem out of and we would always have to go back and use the iron to try and steam that indented line out of them,” Weeks said.
But despite all the dressing room woes, the fashion designer says she has always embraced her height: “Fortunately I grew up with parents and a family that were all tall, so it was pretty much the norm for me — I’ve never known any other way.”
Through her fashion line, Weeks hopes to spread that same confidence to others.
After graduating with a degree in communications and spending several years in corporate sales, Weeks decided to pursue her dream of becoming a fashion designer in 2007.
“I’ve known since high school that I wanted to do something with clothing, but always thought I would just open a boutique that sold tall clothes,” she said. “But when I started looking into who I would buy from, I realized there was no one that really specialized in tall womens’ clothing, and those that did weren't the style I wanted.”
Weeks spent the next two years seeking out experienced industry professionals to assist her in designing jeans for tall women. Since launching Height Goddess online in 2009, Lameka has graduated from jeans to an entire clothing line that offers pants, tops, dresses, outerwear, sportswear and shoes.
Even with a successful online clothing store under her belt, Weeks felt she still had a taller order to accomplish. Last year she applied for The Workshop at Macy’s program, an exclusive retail vendor development program designed to give business owners the tools to successfully sustain growth in the retail industry. Out of thousands of applications, Height Goddess, along with 20 other businesses, was selected for the workshop’s 2013 class.
“It was amazing to be there,” Weeks said. “Just to know that a concept, a dream that I had ... now I’m sitting here discussing my business with the president of Macy’s. I had to pinch myself a couple of times.”
Equipped with the tools and recognition acquired from the Macy’s program, along with the support of her loyal online customers, Weeks is gearing up to break into the big leagues later this year. Height Goddess recently wrapped up a Kickstarter campaign, in which it received enough donations — $21,531 — to move the company forward.
“It went amazing,” Weeks said, “I’m so appreciative to everyone. I got so much support from the Anniston/Oxford area. My family and friends, people I didn't even know, coming out and rallying around me.”
Even with a list of accomplishments as tall as she, this height goddess still has a few items to check off before calling it a day.
“There’s a lot more to do to get ready to move into a department store than people realize,” said the designer. “You really have to be prepared in order to present and get a product into a large retailer.”
Weeks said this critical planning and preparation is what she and the rest of her staff will be focusing on this year.
“I’ve really had my eye on Nordstrom since the (Macy’s) program, so that’s really where we’re working toward trying to put Height Goddess,” she said.
Weeks also plans to take time for her own personal growth — trying to be the best leader she can be in business and in her community. But first, the fashionista has one more loose end to sew up.
“I have so many pants at home that need to be fixed,” she said. “I may be running a successful clothing company, but I don’t even know how to sew a button on.”