Why is International Women’s Day important to you?
IWD is a day for women’s issues to be at the forefront of people’s minds, a reminder to be aware of the strides we’ve made and celebrate how far we’ve come. But also an opportunity to recognize how far we still have to go, socially, economically, politically and culturally. Just like many holidays, these are concepts that we’d ideally be thinking of year-round. But having a designated day each year allows us to measure what we’ve achieved since the last.
What prompted you to start your brand?
Since I was very little, it has been a dream of mine to be a fashion designer (and a doctor and a model!). But as I grew up, I began to believe that it was impractical, too difficult, too risky. I pursued a career in fashion PR, which felt more logical given my skill set, but continued to explore being creative on the side, trying my hand at ceramics (very challenging!) and watercolor (I have a side project called @idrawpets). One rainy weekend, I decided to take apart some old jewelry I wasn’t wearing anymore and repurpose the beads into earrings. I made some for my friend who posted an image on Instagram. Because she works in sales, she immediately got DMs from buyers and other people in the industry about where and how to purchase. I thought, why not give the pieces a name and take some photos to email to some editors, since that was my job after all? Vogue reached out within five minutes, and naturally, I had to take a walk around the block before attempting to respond.
I love creating art and wearable pieces, but I think what actually prompted me to start the brand and take it seriously and offer it to the public was the industry interest. Without support from editors and buyers, I would still be making jewelry, but on a personal level. The main reason why anyone would need to turn anything into a business is recognizing an interest in the market, whether it comes from buyers, editors or ultimately, customers.
How do you think the fashion industry can better champion women?
As a capitalist society, the fashion industry is built upon creating a desire and need within women to consume in order to be considered attractive and therefore maintain relevance in society; manipulate what’s natural to stay youthful, strive for a specific body type, change our hair. Representation matters. Supporting diversity—race, age, body, ability—helps to normalize and show appreciation for all people in the hopes that consumption doesn’t stem from trying to feel complete or worthy, but rather from a place of wanting to support brands who stand for issues you believe in. Also, advocating a slow-fashion agenda and decreasing the speed at which trends are being pushed will not only reduce the waste created but also, hopefully, reduce the psychological pressure women feel to consume goods.
What’s one piece of advice you can offer to other aspiring entrepreneurs?
1. Create a product or service that is proven to be wanted in the market and preferably helpful in society.
2. Continue to refine the business model so it is economically and ecologically sustainable.
3. Do your research, and have an understanding of your production, marketing, and sales strategies—particularly margins, profit projections, overhead, revenue streams. You’re running a business!
4. Build enough of a profit margin so that you can pay your collaborators fair wages!
What are some other female-founded brands you love supporting?
Nomasei, Giovanna, Abacaxi, KkCo, YanYan, Nikki Chasin, Labucq, Nicole Saldaña, Susan Alexandra, Mara Hoffman.