Mothers Who are In Sustainable Clothing Business

5 Mother-Entrepreneurs Who are Doing Great In Sustainable Clothing Business

Entrepreneurship

Are you a mother who has always aspired to be self-dependent? Are you living a life that you have always wanted? If yes, then you deserve huge applause. You can be the voice of tomorrow and your story, a Revolutionary change.

God has truly made women versatile characters who can manage family and work all together with grace. She learned to adapt herself to each environment she gets in her life. She stands fit in all the roles that she is supposed to offer during her span of life, in which she is never allowed to be what she wants to be. Sometimes, she is a mother, sometimes a wife, sometimes a daughter, a sister, and many more. The list is endless. She has got the vibe to live life in a manner that nobody else can do. This story inspires us to a great extent. The story’s character is a mother who does all the daily chores in the morning, being a good wife, mother, and daughter-in-law.

She leaves for work and stays there for 8 to 9 hours, a good colleague and employee. She comes back home to be a good homemaker again. When she sits on her bed at night, thoughts of living a life that she has always wanted strike her head. She thinks of it the whole night and wakes up in the morning being a homemaker again.

And then, one morning, she wakes up again, but this time, she is not only a homemaker, a colleague but a famous entrepreneur. She pats her back for all that she has achieved in life.

Yes, this article shares about the mothers who live on their own terms and runs a sustainable clothing business for a living. Her story is inspiring as after becoming a parent; the female society thinks that the career break would lead them towards a permanent way to stay in the house and serve the family.

Charlie Bradley Ross, Founder of The Sustainable Fashion Collective

Charlie is an award-winning social entrepreneur and has advocated for responsible practices in the design industry for over a decade.

Charlie Bradley Ross

Passionate about making sustainability in the fashion and interiors industry accessible to smaller brands and home sewers, she founded the ethical textiles company, Offset Warehouse and the responsible fashion design membership platform, The Sustainable Fashion Collective. 

Some advice for newbies: Be authentic, different, and consistent. Don’t worry about small numbers – they will grow in time.

As a mompreneur, how do you manage the work and family together?

It’s challenging, but it’s really important to me that work and family stay separate. When I’m with my child, she is the most important thing – I can’t be distracted by work emails. Children pick up on where your attention is, so I want her to know my focus is on her – she’s always number one. I keep to very strict work hours and work three days a week, and I schedule time for myself in the mornings to exercise on those days. Any family/house admin I take care of during her naps and the evenings once she’s asleep. 

I’ve learned not to be too hard on myself. Does it really matter you haven’t had time to sort the washing and do the ironing the second it’s finished? Be kind to yourself and let go of the little things that don’t matter.

Being a mother, did you get any challenges at the start of your business?

I was incredibly fortunate to be able to take about ten months of maternity leave. I hadn’t intended to take so long, but I had a very challenging launch into motherhood as my daughter was born during the first lockdown and didn’t sleep through the night until about eight months old – I was truly a walking zombie. When I started back at work – it was a shock to the system, but I loved it. My memory, however, has deteriorated since having my baby, and I often make silly small mistakes – thankfully, my colleagues have unending patience and always have my back. 

I have found the change of pace very challenging. Before having a baby, I would work all hours of the day, and there is a certain speed that you can work when you’re available every day. Now, I have limited hours I am able to work and, with the number of days I work a week limited, things just take a little longer to organize and sort out. But, slowing down doesn’t always have to be a bad thing, and I’ve learned to embrace that.

What is an important lesson you’ve learned from running your own business?

To build in time for yourself. You are your biggest asset, so being fit, healthy, and happy is an absolute priority. Whether it’s a morning run or body-awakening yoga session to start the day right, I always make the time.

What would you say are the top 5 skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur, and why?

  • To listen – often, I find that entrepreneurs have the gift of the gab, but if you can really listen too, that will get you even further. From listening to your customer feedback to advice from mentors, always be open and excited to learn.
  • Have a great work ethic – launching a business takes a lot of grinds. Overnight success stories simply don’t exist. You need to be ready to put the hard work in to reap the rewards. 
  • Positivity – there will always be a bad day where something doesn’t go to plan, or a big deal falls through. What’s important is bouncing back from these tough days and empowering your team to keep up morale.
  • Resourcefulness – business owners constantly need to find quick and clever ways to overcome difficulties. From money-saving ideas to fast problem-solving, the more resourceful you are, the better.
  • Kindness – it seems to be “cool” for business owners, particularly women, to act fiercely in business to be respected. But I often refer to the saying “you catch more bears with honey.” I’d personally much rather work with and support a business owner I like and respect. Being generous, friendly, and considerate of others goes a long way – that goes for your customers, colleagues, and suppliers.

In moments of self-doubt or adversity, how do you build yourself back up?

When it comes to adversity in business, I take time to reflect on the issue and speak to trusted mentors and advisors for advice and guidance. Building a business can be incredibly isolating, so talking to others really helps to get different perspectives and brainstorm resolutions you might not have considered. It’s also very easy for problems to get on top of you when you’re in the thick of it – it can be difficult to see a way out. Stepping away from your desk, getting some fresh air, and coming back to the issue the next day gives you time to mull it over. Giving yourself time out also gives you space to separate your personal feelings from the issues, so you can problem-solve without being clouded in emotion.

Amy Voloshin, Founder of Printfresh

Amy Voloshin is a fashion designer and entrepreneur. After 15 years of designing prints for the fashion industry with Printfresh Studio, her Philadelphia-based textile studio and vintage archive, Voloshin took a leap and created her own lifestyle brand. Launched in 2016, Printfresh is a sustainable, size-inclusive whimsical collection of sleepwear products with influences including flora and fauna, home decor, and ‘70s hippie and surf culture.

What prompted you to start your brand?

I’ve always loved patterns, textiles, and fashion. I’d been working behind the scenes for 10 years in pattern design before starting my own line. I felt like there was space out there to create a bolder look for the sleepwear market. So much of what existed was very sweet, and there were very few sustainable or size-inclusive options. We combined these ideas of whimsical patterns, organic fabrics and developed a range that is sized from XS-6X that really became our brand DNA.

As a mompreneur, who do you manage the work and family together?

It’s incredibly challenging. Everything is very fluid these days, especially with working from home so much of the time. I find that working shorter days and catching up on projects over the weekend has let me be more available during the week. I am able to fit things in like cooking with the kids and doing school pick-up on certain days that I didn’t really get to do when I was working out of the office more. Involving my kids in some of my creative projects helps them feel connected and like they’re a part of my work, whether I’m getting their input on photoshoot locations or new color palettes and prints. I think this sort of communication helps the kids from them feeling like I’m choosing to work overtime with them – and it makes us feel like a team.

Being a mother, did you get any challenges at the start of your business?

I started working on my business as soon as the kids started sleeping through the night. I think I was just so excited to start getting back into a sleep routine and had more energy than I had possessed in years! It took a very long time to work out the details, product designs, and sales plan. In hindsight, I probably would have given myself a little more time to recuperate and get fully recharged – but there is never a good time to start a business. I also would have set more boundaries with my time – I was so worried about failing that I overcommitted myself and had a hard time saying no to opportunities – I never could tell if it was how we were going to get our ‘big break.’ Now that my business is getting off the ground, I feel more confident saying no to opportunities that aren’t quite right for me. If I had it to do over again, I would take more time for myself and for my kids before throwing myself into work, but instead of dwelling on the past, I am committing to the present to carving out more time.

In moments of self-doubt or adversity, how do you build yourself back up?

I really struggle with this! I’m very sensitive, so I take things really personally. I wish I didn’t – but it’s how I’ve always been, and I’ve definitely become more aware of this as my business grows. My team and I are very honest, and they do a beautiful job of supporting me and helping me handle the criticism that comes up. When you have an online business and use social media to promote your brand, there will always be something that comes up each day. I try to remind myself that the bulk of the feedback that we get is positive, and even the more critical comments can be something to learn from.

One morning habit of yours that makes you productive?

I am a huge fan of journaling. When we first started our brand with a small collection of patterned journals, I started to play around with a morning journaling practice. These days I almost always do 3 pages of stream of consciousness writing. It sometimes is very emotional writing; other days, it’s more of a to-do list or strategic business ideas for the future – I just go with the flow and write what comes to mind. It’s a beautiful way of getting grounded and taking some time to myself each day which helps me feel more positive.

Kelly and Lisa, Founder of JJWinks

Lisa Loyd and Kelly Morrissey, co-founders of JJwinks, sustainable loungewear for women. JJWinks recently went carbon neutral.

Kelly and Lisa

 As a mompreneur, how do you manage the work and family together? 

Managing and balancing my family and work presents a variety of problems, mostly juggling kids and their homework, activities, and keeping the frig stocked. Covid definitely threw me a curveball when my younger kids were all of the sudden zooming from home, which had the benefit of not having school drop off and picked up. But, they were home and constantly hungry, needing things between their zooms and, of course, fighting. I had to make sure we had lots of available snacks and schedule my calls around their schedules. It really boiled down to my husband kicking in and helping out; time management is key for us as we are pairing our schedules daily to manage the kids. 

Being a mother, did you get any challenges at the start of your business?

Yes, with three kids, one teen who was 19 and two younger children ages 8 and 10 at the time we were strategizing to develop our business and come to market, it definitely was a daily challenge. Since my 19-year-old was already off to college, that was not a challenge. But for the younger kids, time was the biggest challenge, how to manage school pick up, homework time, and running up to LA to dig around the garment industry for fabric and find a manufacturer to sew our goods. It was a constant push, “what time is it? Okay, I have 7 minutes, and then we have to leave; the school bell will ring in 56 minutes”. I kid you not, it was seriously down to the minute as Kelly, and I would scramble to the car and jump on the freeway to head back to Orange County. At times when we would be pulling back into Huntington Beach, I would apologize…yet again that Kelly was going to have to go through the carpool pickup line with me. Suffice it to say, when the kids saw their Auntie Kelly in the car, it was no surprise. Ultimately, after the kids’ bedtime, I could sit down and really dig into emails and pull my thoughts together; this was the time I took to put deep thought into our brand the path we were taking. 

How did you come up with a business idea?

Kelly and I have talked for a few years about having a business, and we came up with different ideas; none of them came to fruition until one day when she said she hated her PJs. That was the beginning of the discussion about PJs and that the market lacked PJs that were presentable if someone dropped by, or the teenagers came home one evening, and there you were on the couch in a ratty tee shirt. Something that fell between the sexy Victoria Secret and the granny flannels. Kelly and I are very passionate about the environment; we knew making a sustainable product was going to be paramount. Both of our mothers recycled back in the ’70s, so we both had a commitment to being good to the Earth. Alas, JJwinks was born sustainable PJs that were chic and presentable. 

What challenges did you face at the start of your business?

In the beginning, there were so many challenges; this sounds silly, but just picking a name that had the available .com. Where to source raw materials? How do we find a manufacturer, and what were their minimums going to be? Money and funding the business, how to market our brand, all aspects of learning about social media, and hiring the right person/firm to take us in the direction we wanted to go. The challenges were endless, but every day we made progress, we persevered and stepped up to all the challenges. There are still challenges to this day; I don’t think the challenges ever end; who would have ever thought Covid would shut the world down? Choking off the supply chain and shutting down manufacturing in LA? Not only did we get through Covid, but we actually thrived since we are PJs/loungewear. 

For people who are trying to grow their audience, what advice do you have for them?

Stay true to your brand, whatever that is, and don’t go off track. Know your audience; who is your target market? If you are selling tops to an older demographic, don’t come out with a cropped version. 

What is your favorite mantra or affirmation that you say to yourself to keep you going?

I cannot say I have a favorite mantra or affirmation; I wake up every day and just start going. I have never felt that I wanted to give up; I have only felt a need to get better. For example, our sustainable modal fabric has a tendency to relax and grow ever so slightly as you wear it, so we fixed the problem with an adjustable strap. Always get better and improve, I guess in a way that could be my mantra. Wake up, get going and always try to improve. 

What does success mean to you?

Success to me means that our brand makes a woman’s choice of what to wear to lounge in or to bed a happy moment. The moment that she can slip into her JJs, grab a tea or a wine and exhale at the end of the day. It means she is comfortable, and if the company stopped by, she would invite them in without hesitation in her JJs. Going carbon neutral is another huge success to us; to be able to give back and help the wind farm or the forest means great success to me; my mom would be proud!

Tierra Forte, C.E.O of Mightly’s

Tierra Forte is Mightly’s C.E.O. Anya Marie Emerson is Mightly’s C.O.O, and Barrie Brouse is Mightly’s Creative Director.

When Tierra was eight, she wanted to be an Esprit model; when Barrie was eight, she was already designing and sewing using vintage materials; and when Anya was eight she dreamed of running her own business. And today, three of them owned a children’s sustainable clothing company- Mightly’s.

Responses from Barrie Brouse, Mightly Co-Founder, and Chief Creative Officer

Mightly, Inc. is a new mom-owned and mom-run sustainable children’s clothing brand that offers play-friendly, people-friendly, and planet-friendly apparel for kids ages 2 to 14. And when we say “sustainable,” we mean it: not only do we use the highest-quality certified organic cotton, our clothes are made in Fair Trade CertifiedTM factories that are held to internationally recognized labor and environmental standards.

As mompreneurs, how do you balance work and family life?

Work and family life balance has always been hectic and a constant juggle with my two very active and differently tempered, and spirited boys. I find new sets of challenges all the time, and with their evolving needs, I try to react as quickly as possible in order to maintain a little sanity for all of us.

As a mompreneur, efficient use of time during the day has always been important because once school is out, family time begins. But luckily, I am a night owl and find that I am most creative once everyone is tucked in, and I’ve had a few moments to clean up the kitchen and enjoy some quiet.

While my family is supportive and proud to have a mompreneur, I try my best to set boundaries and to make sure I dedicate individual time each day with my sons. Some days this means just ten minutes of asking about their day, sharing jokes, helping to find a missing Lego piece, or reading a chapter from our “Mom and Son” Book Club. If we are lucky, it means this plus a whole lot more, and even pulling out a board game or a deck of cards.

Being a mother, did you get any challenges at the start of your business?

I started working in the apparel industry about 20 years ago, so even before we founded Mightly, I was already well versed in the demands of being creative while maintaining a pragmatic approach to developing new products. After all, designing something that cannot be manufactured is futile and creates a whole new set of challenges. The three of us c0-founders (Barrie Brouse, Tierra Forte, and Anya Emerson) are incredibly driven, so when challenges started coming up, we attacked them individually and used each other as resources and sounding boards. This approach still works today as we enter into our three-year mark.

In moments of self-doubt or adversity, how do you build yourself back up?

Working with other moms in a supportive environment feels incredibly good. I can’t say that I meet every deadline or that my kids haven’t popped up during a video call but being a mom is just as “real” as being a business owner. Both aren’t always predictable but having a support system makes it feel understood without having to feel apologetic.

The three of us talk about our good and bad days with each other and together understand that keeping our homes healthy and happy is what’s most important. We all afford each other empathy, flexibility, and welcome personal vulnerability, which are so important.

Whitney King, Founder of Muse Threads

Whitney King, new momma and founder of Muse Threads, the sustainable children’s bamboo clothing line Whit and her husband, John Mark, created during the pandemic for their firstborn daughter, sensitive skin. 

The clothes are made from soft bamboo fabrics, not just perfect for kids with sensitive skin, eczema, or fabric sensitivities; it’s perfect for ALL kids to wear. Plus, it’s super-duper comfy for sleeping on those long family road trips. Muse Threads’ bold, unexpected designs sourced from independent artists make this beautiful line unlike anything else.

muse threads

As a mompreneur, how do you manage the work and family together?

It is certainly not easy to balance a full-time job, a new baby, and a rapidly growing small business – especially during a pandemic! But I have the support of an incredible partner, and my baby loves to sleep! It is messy most of the time, but it’s a beautiful mess filled with lots of love and creative energy.

What prompted you to start your brand?

Two things came together to create Muse Threads. When shopping for my newborn daughter’s clothing, I was uninspired by the most neutral and pastel clothing options and really wanted something bold and creative. So I decided to create it! When it came to choosing fabric, I had been introduced to bamboo through our pediatrician because of my daughter’s sensitive skin. Those two things are the genesis of Muse Threads – and we called it Muse because we want to inspire creativity!

Being a mother, did you get any challenges at the start of your business?

As an entrepreneur, in the beginning, you wear ALL the hats – and as a mom, there are a million hats. So sometimes you feel like you need a lot more heads! But, in the end – you learn from your little one and just take baby steps and lean into your “village” of friends and family for care and support.

For people who are trying to grow their audience, what advice do you have for them?

Be authentic, and people will be drawn to you. Try to let go of what you imagine people expect and embrace all that YOU are. There is only one you, which will make your business both unique and successful if you pour yourself into it.

What is your favorite mantra or affirmation that you say to yourself to keep you going?

YOU GOT THIS, MOMMA!