We're so thrilled to introduce our new wholesaler - MenoMieux! This week on the Fanzine, we're interviewing the founder, Brittany Walker. Brittany talks to us about how she first became interested in sustainable fashion, and some of her words of wisdom about being a founder.
Tell us about yourself and your business:
My name is Brittany Walker, and I am the founder of MenoMieux, a sustainable fashion marketplace. My mission is to cultivate a more intentional, transparent, and just culture in the fashion industry. I envision a sustainable shopping experience where consumers can connect with trusted brands that are creating options for consumers who are ready to choose better for people and planet.
What inspired you to set up your store?
A few years ago, I left my career in the fashion industry to pursue an MBA. I began to embrace a new perspective as a consumer, one that illuminated the vastly unsustainable and unethical practices I once witnessed. As I began my journey as a more conscious consumer, I found it challenging to shop with the level of ease and trust I wanted. The other issue weighing heavily on me was knowing the treatment of BIPOC and marginalized communities within the fashion industry. The combination of the frustrating shopping experiences and the knowledge of the ongoing issues within the fashion industry led to the creation of MenoMieux.
How do you select the brands you work with?
Overall, I am looking for brands with values that align with our values at MenoMieux. We check for transparent & ethical supply chain and processes, use of sustainable materials, and eco-conscious manufacturing processes. Beyond that, it’s also important to me that brands have a desire to create an impact and give back, be part of a larger sustainable community, and have an openness to grow and learn with us as we continue this journey!
How does being a female entrepreneur excite and challenge you?
Being a female entrepreneur is exciting to me because I’m getting to build my vision. I love seeing my ideas come to life and the consistent hard work payoff. Most of the brands on MenoMieux are female-founded and I work with female-founded businesses for marketing and site development. I feel lucky to be in this bubble of female founders who are supportive and doing incredible work that I can look to as examples, and for inspiration. It’s motivation to continue to move MenoMieux forward, because it means visibility and growth for the female-founded sustainable brands on site! I’m fortunate to have found a few groups of female entrepreneurs for support, so I haven’t felt many challenges specific to being a female entrepreneur up to this point. When I anticipate more challenges to arise is when I begin the funding process!
What are your top tips to budding women who want to start their own business - online or brick and mortar?
It sounds so cliché, but just go for it. You can always come up with reasons not to, but eventually you have to just take the leap and do it because it’s never going to be the perfect time or not be a little bit scary. I am such a perfectionist and hate failure, so I am still getting used to the idea of having put myself in the position to fail, but it feels a million times better than wondering “what if” or knowing I’m not doing what I can to help improve issues I care deeply about. And form relationships with other female entrepreneurs. It’s helpful to have the support of women who can relate to your experience – the challenges, struggles, and the wins!
Why is fashion important in today’s society, do you think?
I think fashion always has been, and always will be, an important part of society because I view it as a form of self-expression. Throughout history, fashion has also reflected the political, social, and environmental issues of the time. I am hopeful that as we move forward through the next decade, fashion can be at the forefront of conversations and solutions for people and our planet. Although controversial, AOC’s dress at the MET Gala is an example of fashion being used to start conversations and I think there’s a lot of power in that.
Tell us something interesting about yourself/your business that most people don’t know.
I grew up in North Dakota! Not the most interesting fact, but it is a big part of me as a person and I’ve always appreciated the perspective it has given me as I’ve built my career in New York. My family instilled a strong work ethic and strong values in me, and I like to think I’ve carried those characteristics with me as I’ve become an adult and have grown my career.
Why do you think sustainable practises are important?
Simply put, sustainable practices are necessary for the health of our planet and people. We are capable of creating fashion that doesn’t cause harm. With sustainable brands like The Endery showing that fashion can be fun without being damaging, I hope more consumers begin to shift their mindsets to support sustainable fashion.
Can you recommend any good business tips for other small business owners?
Opportunities will come your way, be confident enough to be selective and choose the opportunities and partnerships that are a good fit and on the right terms.
Brittany and Ellen are hosting a 'Mend Along' in Brooklyn on Sat Oct 22nd - so bring a piece of knitwear and we will see you there! The location is: Guevara's - 39 Clifton Place Brooklyn, NY 11238.