How GTLA Aims to Make Manufacturing in LA More Equitable and Eco-Friendly

Camay Abraham
Camay Abraham is a journalist, researcher, and a freelance reporter for dot.LA. She covers fashion, tech and culture and has previously written for Glossy, i-D, Dazed and Screen Shot, among other outlets. She has an MA in fashion psychology from London College of Fashion and has been interviewed by Vice and ABC Australia for her work in fashion and well-being. Pronouns: she/her.
Guadalupe (Loopé) Tlatenchi

Born and raised in South Central Los Angeles, Guadalupe (Loopé) Tlatenchi has worked in many areas of L.A.’s fashion industry for the past 10 years, first as a freelance patternmaker, then as a designer.

The city is home to one of the top fashion manufacturing capitals in the U.S. where over 40,000 garment workers work in sometimes dirty and dangerous factories, producing garments for as little as $6 a piece. A new state law, passed in October of this year called the Garment Workers Protection Act seeks to change this by eliminating the pay-per-piece system and compensating garment workers with an hourly minimum wage.


Tlatenchi’s experience in the industry has given her unique insight into these darker areas of the industry.

“I decided that... if I didn't want to be around that, but I still wanted to do fashion, I needed to create something on my own,” she says. “Sometimes, if you're not seeing a change, you kind of have to be the change and set an example for people.”

GTLA, her company, is a fashion design studio and manufacturing house that provides services for brands -- including Tlatenchi’s own brand Loopé. The company helps brands and designers at every stage of the production process, from design and development to apparel manufacturing.

Initially bootstrapped by Tlatenchi herself , GTLA was able to raise funding with the help of diversity-minded coalition PledgeLA. Tlatenchi also participated in entrepreneurial accelerator Grid 110,

We spoke with Tlatenchi about the future of GTLA and fashion manufacturing in Los Angeles and her hopes of creating a model of a post-pandemic fashion industry that is driven by community, sustainability and social equity.

Guadalupe (Loop\u00e9) TlatenchiGuadalupe (Loopé) Tlatenchi at her factory in Downtown Los Angeles.

What is GTLA's business model?

We are a multiservice apparel company -- we are manufacturers, a fashion house and a design studio. My company is still small, we have 10 employees, so we do many things. We develop designs, do fittings, sample making and garment production, basically we do everything internally. Some manufacturers consider themselves in-house, but they will subcontract, meaning they do not produce in-house.

During COVID we had to stop our projects due to the fact that we were not considered an essential business. Shortly after I designed and developed a cloth mask due to the shortage locally. I began taking wholesale orders from clients, boutiques and building contractors. I then created a website and started selling the mask at retail. Since we were selling and donating masks, we were able to switch gears and become an essential business.

In November 2020 the mask sales began to decrease and I launched our in-house apparel brand called Loopé, a lifestyle brand for men and women that would bring new revenue and target the direct to consumer market. It is sustainably and ethically made as I didn't want to create a brand that made so much waste. I design with upcycled materials and did a made-to-order approach. We can get an order, cut it, sew it and ship it out.

What differentiates GTLA from other garment manufacturers?

What makes us different is our quality and the attention to detail that we put into our pieces, and our employees and clients. Our clients can go to our place, sit down and develop their collection, go through emails, get their fabric delivered, while we take care of the cutting, sewing, etc. We have already developed the garments in-house so we have created an efficient way to manufacture the garment. We also provide consulting for brands and startup designers -- teaching them about fabrics and where to source them, and introducing them to vendors.

It's an intimate connection. Even though they're not there in every step of the way, I definitely make them feel like they are.

Also I care a lot about our employees and not just about fast turnaround. I've always paid garment workers minimum wage or more and always encourage them to learn more skills in production. With the right training and the right people in a good place where they feel comfortable to learn different skills, not only does their skill level grow, but [so does] their pay. For example, I can have someone do samples rather than production; a sample is a better paid job than production. That's one thing that I tell them: “Don't feel like you have to do that [one job]. Let's do more, let's evolve together.”

Obviously, we want to make money, but as far as our values, that's something that really separates us from any other manufacturers. If we weren't that way, we would be accepting any project.

What are your plans for the company in the near future and your plan for your fashion line?

I want to create a community and a place where designers can come to design and create their collections. Having designers care about who's making their garments and the people making the garments care about their work. On the manufacturing side, I want to integrate new technology and systems where we don't waste a lot of fabrics or material. I feel that's where it's headed.

New technology should not be looked at like we're replacing people, but more like we're making things easier for people.

Eventually I want to do wholesale, but only partner with boutiques that share the same values in ethical practices and sustainability. I still have a lot of work to do, but that's where I'm headed. I'm definitely connecting with the right people and I think that as long as I keep building those connections I will get there.

Loopé, the in-house brand, has now released three small collections and has seen growth in revenue and online presence. I plan on pushing this forward because the profit margin with the direct-to-consumer market is much larger, especially if GTLA is the foundation where it can be designed, developed and manufactured.

How would you describe your relationship with Grid 110 and Pledge LA and how they helped you with your company?

Grid 110 is an entrepreneurial accelerator program that I applied for and was chosen out of a few 100 people. It was a 12-week program where I was provided with mentorship and introduced to people and events that expanded my network and business know-how. Being in Grid 110 made me really look at the overall numbers and ask, “Does this make sense? Am I charging correctly?”

Although I have experience with pricing, it wasn’t until I got into the program that helped me really analyze myself and the business. I had to consider if I’m paying minimum wage to our garment workers, then what is the price that I have to place to compete with oversea prices and have a profitable business. I'm still in contact with Grid 110 and it's community of founders.

Pledge LA is a business grant program that helped raise $25,000 in funding for us. When I received the grant, it was during COVID, so I used some of the funds to update our internal admin, for example, my assistant didn't have a computer at that time, so I bought her computer, I was able to get my licenses in order such as public health and garment manufacturing licenses, and I was able to use some of the funds for payroll. The funding from Pledge LA definitely helped us, at least helped me get more permits and be in compliance with the city and the regulations.

Having no money in the beginning and just starting with a manufacturing shop, it has been the relationships that I've built throughout my way and I feel now, with Grid 110 and Pledge LA, that the possibilities are unlimited. Like a new door has opened for me.

Due to the changes we have been going through, our staff started to decrease due to some being unable to adapt to the company changes. The staff also reduced because we are now budgeting on our overhead and adapting to new clients and new projects. This is where programs like Grid110 and Pledge LA help us so much with mentorship and community. So currently GTLA is going through a transitional period in the business.

This interview has been edited for clarity and brevity.

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🏰 Disney's Epic Investment Stands Out Amidst Gaming Industry Layoffs

Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

🔦 Spotlight

In the midst of widespread gaming industry layoffs, a glimmer of positive news emerges as Disney announces a significant move: a $1.5 billion investment in Epic Games. 🏰💰🐭

Image Source: Disney

Disney's $1.5 billion investment in Epic Games, disclosed late Wednesday, signals a strategic alignment aimed at expanding the success of "Fortnite." The deal enhances Epic's growth prospects after financial setbacks, including layoffs, and strengthens the partnership between the two companies. With Disney gaining a larger equity stake in Epic, the collaboration will broaden the integration of beloved Disney franchises like Marvel, Star Wars, Pixar, and Avatar into the game, potentially boosting its appeal and longevity. This significant investment underscores Disney's commitment to interactive entertainment and signifies a shift towards games as a primary revenue stream, aligning with the growing trend of digital engagement among younger demographics. Moreover, the potential for crossover sales of physical Disney products within "Fortnite" and the exploration of new content distribution channels are just some of the opportunities arising from this partnership.

For LA tech, the Disney-Epic Games partnership represents a validation of the region's burgeoning tech and gaming ecosystem. The substantial investment in Epic, who maintains a large Los Angeles office with 1,000+ employees (according to LinkedIn), reflects confidence in the LA’s talent pool and innovation potential. Additionally, this partnership between two industry giants fosters an environment for further collaboration, investment, and growth within LA's tech sector. As Disney and Epic Games deepen their ties and explore new avenues for content integration and distribution, it not only elevates the prominence of LA as a tech hub but also stimulates economic growth and job creation in the region. This partnership highlights LA's unique position as a hub where technology and entertainment converge. With its ability to integrate diverse industries, LA is driving innovation and expansion in digital entertainment. 🚀💸🎮

🤝 Venture Deals

LA Companies

  • ProducePay, a financing and marketplace platform for the fresh produce market, raised a $38M Series D led by Syngenta Group Ventures joined by Commonfund, Highgate Private Equity, G2 Venture Partners, Anterra Capital, Astanor Ventures, Endeavor8, Avenue Venture Opportunities, Avenue Sustainable Solutions, and Red Bear Angels. - learn more
  • Blush, an invite-only dating app that drives users to local businesses on dates, raised a $7M Seed Round from individuals like Naval Ravikant. - learn more
  • Mogul, a startup founded last year that provides an overview of an artist's royalty earnings and identifies areas where money is owed but has not yet been collected, raised a $1.9 million seed round from Wonder Ventures, United Talent Agency, AmplifyLA, and Creator Partners. - learn more
  • Avnos, a hybrid direct air capture startup, raised a $36M Series A led by NextEra Energy and joined by Safran Corporate Ventures, Shell Ventures, Envisioning Partners, and Rusheen Capital Management. - learn more
  • AI.fashion, startup whose mission is to help retailers enhance the online shopping experience by providing consumers with virtual try-ons and personalized fashion recommendations, raised a $3.6M Seed Round led by Neo. - learn more
  • Suma Wealth, startup that aims to demystify financial topics and provide culturally relevant content, virtual experiences, and resources to help Latino users navigate financial challenges and opportunities, raised a $2.2M Seed Round . Radicle Impact led, and was joined by Vamos Ventures, OVO fund and the American Heart Association Impact Fund. - learn more
  • 222, a startup that helps users discover their city and meet new people through unique social experiences, raised a $2.5M Seed Round. Investors included 1517 Fund, General Catalyst, Best Nights VC, Scrum Ventures, and Upfront Ventures. - learn more
  • LimaCharlie, a security operations cloud platform, raised a $10.2M Series A led by Sands Capital. - learn more
  • Polycam, an app that uses a smartphone’s sensors to capture 3D scans of objects, raised an $18M Series A co-led by Left Lane Capital and Adjacent, and joined by Adobe Ventures and individuals like Chad Hurley and Shaun Maguire. -learn more.

LA Venture Funds

Actively Raising

  • ReelCall, Inc., an entertainment technology company focused on powerful apps and platforms that help build and maintain the professional network of connections vital to career growth, is raising a $850K Pre-Seed Round. - learn more
  • CZero, a startup building software to decarbonize logistics for logistics businesses and goods business through a vetted marketplace and optimization software. - learn more
  • Couri, a technology startup addressing last-mile delivery issues, is raising a $450K Pre-Seed Round at a $2.2M post money valuation. - learn more
  • Sweetie, a marketplace to help people plan date nights, is raising a $1.5M Pre Seed Round. - learn more
  • StartupStarter, an investment platform that provides real-time data and analytics on startups, is raising an $850K Angel Round. - learn more

If you’re a founder raising money in Los Angeles, give us a shout, and we’d love to include you in the newsletter!

Venture Waves, Climate Tech Wins, and Silicon Beach's Ongoing Evolution

Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

Anduril Seeks $1.5B in VC Funds

Defense company Anduril Industries Inc., based in Costa Mesa and founded by Palmer Luckey, is seeking to raise $1.5 billion in fresh funds to boost its valuation to $12.5 billion or more, according to sources quoted by The Information. This fundraising effort, if successful, would mark one of the largest venture capital rounds of the year.

Image Source: Anduril

Anduril recently secured a contract to develop and test small unmanned fighter jet prototypes under the Air Force’s Collaborative Combat Aircraft (CCA) program, beating out major defense companies like Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and Northrop Grumman. Alongside General Atomics, Anduril will design, manufacture, and test these aircraft, with a final multibillion-dollar production decision expected in fiscal year 2026. This program aims to deliver at least 1,000 combat aircraft to fly in concert with manned platforms and is part of the Air Force’s Next Generation Air Dominance initiative. Central to Anduril’s success in this contract is the Fury autonomous air vehicle, acquired through the purchase of Blue Force Technologies. This victory underscores Anduril's rapid advancement in the defense sector, aligning with Luckey's vision of building faster and more cost-effective defense assets. - learn more

Los Angeles Ranks Number 1 in Emerging Climate Tech Hub

The 2024 Emerging Climate Tech Hubs Report by Revolution highlights Los Angeles as a burgeoning center for climate tech innovation. LA's growth in this sector is driven by its diverse talent pool, strong research institutions, and a culture of environmental consciousness. The city's unique mix of legacy industries, such as entertainment and aerospace, alongside emerging tech companies, positions it as a pivotal player in the climate tech landscape. This shift reflects a broader trend of decentralized climate tech funding across the U.S., reducing the historical dominance of California's traditional hubs. - learn more

Silicon Beach: Looking Back, Moving Forward

Assessing the overall health of the startup market is challenging, especially as venture capital funding has decreased by an average of 61% from 2021 to 2023 across the top VC markets in the US. Markets with robust ecosystems in AI, SaaS, Biotech, Healthtech, and Fintech appear to be weathering the downturn better than those focused on Consumer and Gaming industries, areas where Los Angeles traditionally excels.

Percent Change In VC Funding By Region

CB Insights

LA Times paints a rather bleak outlook on the Los Angeles tech scene noting venture capital funding in Greater Los Angeles plummeted 73% from 2021 to 2022. Silicon Beach, once a vibrant tech corridor, currently faces high vacancy rates and lacks late-stage financiers, especially in the AI sector. However, there are positive signs, including growth in aerospace startups and increased venture capital investment in early 2024, suggesting a potential rebound for LA's tech ecosystem.

While LA may not be exceeding expectations during this period, its tech ecosystem warrants a nuanced evaluation, given the broader market dynamics and its strong performance in specific sectors. Reach out to us with your thoughts.

🚀 SpaceX gears up for another stellar year, active raises, and more

Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

Happy Friday Los Angeles! You made it through the first week of 2024!

🔦 Spotlight

Elon Musk may be a divisive (albeit entertaining) figure, but the continued success of SpaceX is pivotal for the aerospace industry in Los Angeles and more broadly around the world.

Image Source: SpaceX webcast

What happened with SpaceX in 2023?

  • Elon Musk challenged Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg to a cage fight.
  • SpaceX launched 96 successful missions with its Falcon series of rockets, a 57% increase over its previous annual record.
  • SpaceX conducted two test flights of the largest and most powerful rocket ever built, Starship.
  • Roughly two-thirds of SpaceX's launches in 2023 were devoted to building out Starlink, the company's satellite-internet megaconstellation.
  • Isaacson’s Elon Musk biography was published in September including everything from Musk’s tumultuous relationship with his father to his work ethic and “demon mode”.

Moving forward what can we expect from SpaceX and its controversial founder? Continued innovation pushing the aerospace industry to new limits? Yes. More drama? Without a doubt.

Here is some of what is to come in 2024:

🤝 Venture Deals

Just Announced

Check back next week!

LA Exits

  • CG Oncology, an Irvine, CA-based developer of immunotherapies for bladder cancer, filed for a $100M IPO. It plans to list on the Nasdaq (CGON) with Morgan Stanley as left lead underwriter, and has raised around $317m in VC funding. - learn more
  • McNally Capital agreed to sell Advanced Micro Instruments, a Costa Mesa, CA-based maker of gas analyzers and sensing technologies, to Enpro (NYSE: NPO). - learn more

Actively Raising

  • ReelCall, Inc., an entertainment technology company focused on powerful apps and platforms that help build and maintain the professional network of connections vital to career growth, is raising a $850K Pre-Seed Round. - learn more
  • CZero, a hard-tech startup that is developing a technology for decarbonizing natural gas, is raising a $1.5M Seed Round. - learn more
  • Couri, a technology startup addressing last-mile delivery issues, is raising a $450K Pre-Seed Round at a $2.2M post money valuation. - learn more
  • Sweetie, a marketplace to help people plan date nights, is raising a $250K Angel Round. - learn more
  • StartupStarter, an investment platform that provides real-time data and analytics on startups, is raising an $850K Angel Round. - learn more

If you’re a founder raising money in Los Angeles, give us a shout, and we’d love to include you in the newsletter!

📅 LA Tech Calendar

Sunday, January 7th

Wednesday, January 10th

  • Startup Cafe: Networking with a Kick - Entrepreneurs, Startups, and Tech Enthusiasts join together to meet and connect with like-minded people, industry professionals and investors, while enjoying a nice cup of coffee in Venice at The KINN. This week’s interactive discussion about AI’s evolution in entertainment will feature Dr. Sam Khoze and Rachel Joy Victor.
  • Venice Tech Happy Hour- Join Startup Coil and FoundrHaus Wednesday evening and enjoy the sunset from the rooftop, grab a bite overlooking Abbot Kinney, and mingle with other tech enthusiasts and entrepreneurs by the bar on the patio.

Have an awesome event coming up? Reach out to be featured on next week’s Newsletter!

📙 What We’re Reading

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