We had the good fortune of connecting with Alisa Otto and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Alisa, how has your work-life balance changed over time?
I am fairly certain I work more now than I ever have at any other point of my career, but I feel like my work/life balance is much better. Since all projects go through me for approval and scheduling, I am able to plan out life in a way I’ve never been able to before; I can easily schedule my kids’ doctor appointments, leave early one day to watch my daughters dance lessons, or close up shop to go hiking when the weather is just right. My kids come with me to work when they are out of school and see what I am doing, which is really important to me. Overall, I feel like I have a lot more control over my life and the flexibility I need with small children at home.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
I own Ottomatic Threads, which is a sustainably run micro-factory in North Texas that produces outdoor apparel for the adventurous woman. I am proud of so many things we’ve done with this business, but most recently I am proud of how we’ve been able to successfully expand our size offerings from a Medium-XXL to a XS-6X; this has been no easy task, but the excitement of our customers has made it more than worthwhile. It was not easy to get to this point and I have had over a decade of experience in the apparel industry and another decade in higher education (where I focused on apparel design and research). The apparel production industry and outdoor apparel industries are very male-driven, so as a woman entering this space, I’ve had to learn to really be on top of it. I’ve had people ask me if I need my husbands approval for major purchases, and I just simply reinforce that I own this company and make my own decisions.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I absolutely adore the Dallas Museum of Art; I could honestly spend an entire weekend walking through their exhibits and not get bored. I do really love hiking, so I would suggest hitting the trails at one of the local nature preserves, or a stroll through the arboretum. There are so many fantastic places to eat around the city that I couldn’t suggest just one- definitely grab a drink at Uncle Julios or drive up to Frisco and get some awesome BBQ at Tenders Smokehouse. If you want brunch, hands down hit up Snooze in Addison.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
There are two women who were my professors, then colleagues who have really shaped my career. Marian O’Rourke-Kaplan and Janie Stidham, both of whom I met while I was attending the University of North Texas and served as mentors in my graduate studies.
Facebook: Ottomatic Threads