Meet Angela Jin and Nishiki Maredia, Founders of 1950 Collective
[dropcap background="no" color="#333333"]B[/dropcap]eing a teenage girl is hard. So when a teenage girl finds something that makes everything a little less hard, that makes her feel like a part of something bigger, she’s all in. And then, inevitably, that interest is trivialized by those who can’t understand that teenage girls are powerful and their passions are legitimate. Thankfully, there are two women who’ve started a company on a mission to support those passions. This week, we chatted with Angela Jin and Nishiki Maredia, founders of 1950 Collective, a retail company that operates at the intersection of pop culture and feminism![wc_divider style="solid" line="double" margin_top="5" margin_bottom="5"]
Introduce yourselves! Tell us who you are and what you do.
[dropcap background="no" color="#333333"]H[/dropcap]iya! We're Angela Jin and Nishiki Maredia, co-founders of 1950 Collective LLC. Originally a side project to distract us from mental health issues, 1950 Collective has quickly grown into the pop culture and feminist brand it is today. Our mutual love for One Direction and shared passion for feminism became the basis of our brand and the company is ultimately a culmination of our interests, priorities, and friendship. We've been operating for a little over a year and have generated $200,000 in revenue. We also donate 10% profits to women empowerment organizations and have been able to contribute thousands to support domestic violence victims, Syrian refugees, mental health organizations, and more.
We're currently full-time college students juggling this company. Angela studies Marketing and Women's and Gender Studies at Boston College and Nishiki studies History and Government at University of Texas at Austin. 1950 is the number of miles between our universities.[divider type="short" spacing="10"]
We love that your company explores the intersection of fandom and feminism -- can you tell us a little more about what that means to you?
[pullquote align="right" cite="" link="" color="" class="" size=""]The impact we've made on women has been one of the most important things we've done.[/pullquote]
[dropcap background="no" color="#333333"]T[/dropcap]he interesting thing about fandom and feminism is that people often question why we address and cater to both. People often don't equate screaming fan girls with social justice but that's the underlying issue -- the lack of recognition of young girls' interests. Being a fervent fan of a boy band or music in general, doesn't mean being a mindless follower. This mentality invalidates the multidimensional personalities and interests of young women. We've found that as fandom girls and boys grow older, they become increasingly aware and interested in social justice and as a brand, we're proud to grow with them.[divider type="short" spacing="10"]
What's been the most challenging part of running the business? The most rewarding?
[dropcap background="no" color="#333333"]T[/dropcap]he most challenging part of running the business is definitely scaling it to the increasing demand. We built this company organically and didn't expect it to take off at all -- and certainly didn't expect it to generate $200,000 in its first 12 months. While being full-time university students, we also were nurturing our company and treating it like a full time job to keep our fans happy. We knew we were onto something when 1950 Collective was six months and we had already shipped to 38 countries worldwide.
The most rewarding part is doing it with each other and the impact we're making. Although we only see each other in person for 3-4 weeks out of the entire year, we text just about every hour and often have weekly 9-hour phone calls. There's no way to really describe our dedication to each other and this company.
Secondly, the impact we've made on women has been one of the most important things we've done. We'll often get emails about how we've inspired other girls to start their own companies or read more into social justice and start their own initiatives. To know that we're inadvertently encouraging others to make change, is powerful.[divider type="short" spacing="10"]
What advice would have for other women who want to start a retail business?
[dropcap background="no" color="#333333"]D[/dropcap]amn, that's a good question. From the get go, we've never really had a business plan. We always have goals, but never a concrete plan because everything that we've ever done or approached is always executed in the most untraditional fashion. We didn't set up a business plan, we didn't see any funding or initial investment other than what we had on our own, and we didn't become an LLC until we had established a strong following and customer base.[divider type="short" spacing="10"]
Any plugs or upcoming initiatives you want our readers to know about?
[dropcap background="no" color="#333333"]O[/dropcap]ur skincare line, Shameless Skincare, will be announced soon! In general, we'd love for it to be emphasized that we donate 10% of our profits to women empowerment organizations and our monthly charity is detailed here: 1950collective.com/charity
Also, your readers can get an exclusive 10% discount code: "feminist wednesday" (with the space)
Our Instagram & Twitter handles are @1950collective