CO-FOUNDER & DESIGNER OF COCABANG
Gayla Allen set out on a path to combine fitness and fashion for women, which inspired her to found the Austin, Texas Company TGIFITS™ and the COCABANG™ brand. Her strength comes from her entrepreneurial spirit and her experience in building businesses to fill a need in the marketplace, along with her husband Larry, whose focus is on infrastructure, operations and sustainable manufacturing with a passion to build a “made in America” company that focuses on products responsibly made under fair labor conditions.
Gayla now fulfills her dream to create her own line of Jeans that compliment a women’s body. She started with an emphasis to fit the unique shape of the athletic women’s physique and found that the jeans fit the beautiful curves of almost every women. As a customer said, “You can’t have a bad day in these jeans!” Its Gayla’s superb understanding of the way Jeans need styled, combined with luxury stretch denim that has brought her to the forefront of the women’s denim industry with the focus on creativity, craftsmanship, and the beginning of a new generation in fashion, style, and comfort.
Highly motivated to remain responsive to the fundamental issues of the fit community and women in general, Gayla is a practical answer to the active and demanding lifestyle of her customers. Her designs are an exercise in sensitivity and, through the thoughtful selection of fabrics that are beautiful, luxurious, and stretchable; she uses the properties of these fabrics to create the perfect fit now found in both here Originals and Austin styles.
How did you come up with the word COCABANG?
I was trying to find a word that describes my target audience but nothing seemed inspirational to me. A few words were strong contenders but something stood in the way of making it happen: the word was already used by other designers, or the .com was already used, etc. After weeks of brainstorming, the word Coca came to my mind. I started adding other words to it, and Bang jumped into my mind. I knew that was it immediately, without doubt. It’s a catchy word and I couldn’t get it out of my mind. So now we are on the journey of defining our brand COCABANG!
Many designers use their name for the brand. Why did you decide to not follow the norm?
We are so inspired by active and athletic women. In large, they are a group of women with formidable determination and the willpower to conquer fear and push through obstacles. They are gritty, intelligent, and believe in the vision of a fit community. So COCABANG is not about us, it’s about the women who are willing to pay the price and have no limits. We truly believe in their journey.
In addition we believe in our team. We will never put forward a designer as the “face” of the brand. Creativity doesn’t belong to one single person. Although designers are crucial, it also takes the person who chooses fabrics, the pattern maker, fit specialist, and production engineers on our incredible team to support our customers, and achieve exceptional quality and operational efficiency. We recognize and appreciate everyone’s hard work and couldn’t do this without our team.
What message do you feel your jeans offer today’s active woman?
Dare to be strong, determined and healthy! Our styles and customers are a tribute to the powerful women that we admire for their discipline, confidence and grit. That exultant feeling after completing a race, your first week of fitness training, or pushing through a hectic week, can be felt every day by carrying these qualities of courage and resilience into every aspect of our lives. Our customers are proof that you don’t have to hide your hard-won armor behind baggy sweats anymore, we have the jeans that you can wear with confidence.
How will you become the best?
We believe from the very start our focus was specific to solving three problems. One is that of fit for our demographic, second is choosing the perfect denim for comfort and stretch, and the third was to combine that with a pride in American manufacturing. Not only have we accomplished all three, but what truly makes us shine is our focus on the customer. They are the reason we exist and we know it! As the company grows the focus on the customer will always remain the same. We make it easy to buy, easy to return, easy to communicate and we listen to our customers.
What fascinates you?
When I travel and explore new places around the world I’m overwhelmed with a feeling of purpose and awe. I love to meet people and learn of their customs and traditions. I thoroughly enjoy experiencing new cuisines and dining experiences. I enjoy seeing old buildings, art, and architecture that can only be found “across the pond” in older cultures. People and places fascinate me!
Memories. Spending quality time with family and friends.