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Community Highlights: Meet KaLeena Thomas of J. Margaret Weaver

Today we’d like to introduce you to KaLeena Thomas. 

Hi KaLeena, thanks for joining us today. We’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
Thanks for the opportunity to share my story!  I’m a Kansas City transplant from Ohio, a mom of two young kids, a wife, and the founder of J. Margaret Weaver.  I spent 12 years working in the consulting and healthcare sectors, and always struggled to find classic, high quality, and easy-to-care-for professional work clothing and accessories. So, I decided to stop shopping and start the solution. In January 2021, I launched J. Margaret Weaver, a brand specializing in simple and smart work clothing for women. My vision is to empower and simplify life for women by streamlining the first decision we make every day – what am I going to wear?

The concept for J. Margaret Weaver came to me after spending years scouring retail stores and websites to try and find classic, work-appropriate dresses, shirts, suits, and jewelry that minimized the attention on my appearance and maximized attention on my performance. I kept seeing the same issues: tops were sheer or had a low neckline, skirts were too short or finished in loud fabrics, dresses were sleeveless and not conducive to chilly office temperatures, and clothing was often adorned with ruffles and large bows. Adding to the list of issues, most fabrics were dry-clean only, adding time to my errands every week and draining my bank account. After my son was born in 2017, I had even less time to spend on shopping, laundry, and getting ready in the morning, and wanted a simple “uniform” to pull out every day.

I worked with Kansas City-based Rightfully Sewn to design and produce my first pieces and launched on Kickstarter January 16, 2021. This first year has been an interesting time to navigate the workwear industry with changes in where women are working and in what they want from their workwear. I launched my Fall Collection on October 20, 2021, and also added in curated accessories from US-based small businesses.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
I’ve experienced a few bumps so far, most notably the impact of COVID-19 on demand for professional workwear.  Not only was demand down because of office closures, but COVID-19 has fundamentally changed the idea of workwear for many women. I’ve had to adapt to that while also ensuring that I am sticking to my brand.  Also, as a novice in the retail/fashion industries, I’ve had to learn everything quickly. From inventory and production cycles to networking and social media, this has been an overwhelming first year and I am in awe of other entrepreneurs. One of the biggest challenges is the constraint of time and prioritizing the most important things, especially in a business with one person. I am thankful to have the most amazing customer base who shares direct and insightful feedback with me and has helped me grow as a person and a business owner over the past year.

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about J. Margaret Weaver?
I started J. Margaret Weaver as a solution for the problems I had finding the right outfit for work every day and quickly expanded on that idea as I heard from more and more women about similar challenges they had. I’m passionate about inspiring excellence and creating community amongst my customers, which is why I host professional development and networking events as well as support others through career coaching and workwear styling. I also want the brand to be an experience in luxury, from the packaging to the fabric to the design, and at an attainable price which means cutting out activities and expenses that do not add value for the customer and solely focusing on the things that matter. Finally, I’m committed to ethical, US-based production (all our clothes are made in Kansas City), size inclusivity, and machine-washable clothing. Great style should be simple and for everyone!

Is there any advice you’d like to share with our readers who might just be starting out?

1. Listen, ask questions, and be curious about everything. Know that you only know a very small piece of everything out there and never assume anything.

2. Start small and iterate to grow over time.

3. Just do it. I was so afraid of failing that I kept putting off my launch so I could avoid potential failure. When I finally scheduled a launch date, I was terrified but also relieved that I would finally be moving forward with something I had so much passion for.


  • Clothing ranges in price from $90 – $175
  • Jewelry ranges in price from $25 – $70
  • Silk headbands are $35
  • The Huguette Clutch is $75
  • Career and styling service pricing available upon request

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Sam Olson

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