By Rebecca Ballard, Founder & CEO, Maven Women
After years of experience in law, advocacy, and nonprofit management I was propelled to start Maven Women for two reasons. First, I had been a frustrated consumer for over a decade, as I couldn’t find clothes that matched my values, vocation, and aesthetic (i.e., timeless, elegant, urban, and professional). Second, I dreamed of a different kind of company that spoke to the millions of women who share this aesthetic where clothing is created to honor them as well as people and the planet. But dreaming and doing are two different things. Here is how we practically run a socially conscious fashion brand.
“Maven" is a Yiddish word meaning "one who understands". Maven Women was founded for the incredible women who are mavens in their lives. They are leading in their fields, their communities, and their families with their wisdom, knowledge, and compassion. I believed there were more mavens out there than anyone realized, and that by harnessing our individual and collective potential we could create real change in our lives and in our world.
How Our Core Values Guide Our Decisions
A major frustration of mine is when a nonprofit or social business externally espouses values it doesn’t truly embody. This happens far too often, and when I studied nonprofit management I even wrote a piece on how nonprofits can internally embody their values. Maven Women’s core values are the cornerstone of our brand. Here are just some of the ways each value guides us forward:
Investing in Investment Pieces
Supply Chain Awareness
Connectivity and Education
The Challenge of Living Out Your Values
When I first started Maven Women, as many conscious brand founders do, I desired to go all the way to the farm where the cotton was being grown for our pieces. However, I learned that it wasn’t possible for a small brand because cotton is usually commingled from different farms, so working directly with a farm would require large volume and capital.
At present, we are using the most eco, ethical materials we can find that match our product needs, price point, and values. All of our cotton is Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) certified and follows International Labor Organization guidelines.
I always knew Ponte de Roma knit would be a great fabric for our styles, yet as it’s traditionally made out of 100% virgin synthetics it wasn’t a match for our values. But we didn’t give up and now I’m proud to announce we recently created an eco-friendly Ponte fabric in partnership with Laguna Fabrics, a family-owned company in Los Angeles. It’s the first Ponte I’ve seen made primarily of GOTS-certified organic cotton, and a major achievement for our brand that was three years in the making. We even do a special treatment on it to reduce shrinkage. This adds to the cost of production but is the right thing to do for easy, eco (and washable!) pieces.
We now have the rest of our supply chain in Los Angeles, which enhances both eco-consciousness and ease of product creation. If you’d like to learn more we also share our full supply chain on our website and in each product description.
Where Our Values Are Leading Us Next..
We recently launched the #VoteWithYourWallet campaign around the 2018 Fair Trade Fashion Show.
Vote With Your Wallet harnesses the power we have to create change as individuals and uses collective consumer action to move the needle in the fashion industry. The campaign calls for participants to make a pledge to personal accountability. It also integrates a partnership model with brands, industry organizations, and nonprofits that share our passion of honoring people and planet.
As we grow, we will build out tools for action, providing additional education on ways to turn exploitation into empowerment in this industry. I encourage you to check it out and sign up today! And if you are in the market for a great dress, ethically made with eco wrinkle-resistant fabric, pre-order our Chelsey dress today! Take $10 off with code "Chelsey$10" during presale.
If you want to learn how to build strategy based on core values for your socially conscious fashion brand join Deadstock District today. We have a tribe of fashion professionals and fellow brand owners full of expertise on how to build a brand for people, planet, and profit.