Female Founder Spotlight: Mallorie from SmartGlamour
Mallorie Carrington, 26, New York CitySmartGlamour
SmartGlamour is a body positivity based clothing line of fashionable, affordable basics - offered in a full range of sizes from XXS-3X - where every piece can be customized to a customers wants and needs. We stress positive self image and wellness for women and aim to empower women by putting the control back in their hands. They can make their clothing whatever they need it to be. This, in turn, helps rid them of the negative emotional reactions they may have had towards shopping and body image in the past.
What did you want to be when you grew up? Where you always an entrepreneur?
When I was in junior high and entering high school, I thought I'd be a math teacher. Once I learned that fashion was a viable career option, that was my new dream. When I was younger, my goal was to simply open a small boutique. I didn't come up with the full concept of my brand until this past year (after many different jobs and forays into the fashion world).
What job did you have before you started your business that taught you the most about running your own ship?
Honestly, not many of my jobs have prepared me for running my own company. My job at a design firm that manufactures juniors’ clothing made in China and India taught me what I never want to do and how not to treat my future employees. I believe my life experiences have led me to be able to run SmartGlamour. I'm a one woman army trying to combat negative body image - and it gets really, really tiring but I'm passionate about it so it's always worth it at the end of the day.
Did you ever work in an environment that wasn't super female friendly? Did you ever feel like you hit a glass ceiling?
My corporate design job was an office filled with about 85% women - but it was a very hostile environment. The only kind of compliments were back-handed and everyone gossiped constantly. It was not a nurturing, inspiring, motivating, or positive environment. I didn't hit a glass ceiling, so to speak - but there were walls and restrictions put up around everyone who worked there.
When did you first realize that working for yourself may be a good idea, and was there a certain event that made you finally take the plunge?
When I left my job at the design firm, I wanted a different lifestyle that would allow me the time and energy to nurture my creativity and create my own designs. I started working freelance jobs and with that new found freedom and time I came up with the main concept and philosophy for SmartGlamour. I've always been a leader who takes charge of situations and solves problems, so running my own business seemed like a very clear choice.
Do you feel that women who own their own businesses are faced with the same women-related issues as those in the corporate environment? If so how do you over come it?
Since my business is so small (it's currently just me!) I don't run into similar office issues. I run into different issues - like freelance clients being disrespectful. However, with SmartGlamour, I can pleasantly attest that every client and customer is not only happy with their products but also passionate and excited about the brand and my message. Most women have been looking for something like this all along, so they are very happy to pass it along and give support. Luckily, because my message is a positive one and my goal is desperately needed,I get support from all over the globe.
My advice would be to stay organized. Plan everything - but also stay constantly reachable and in contact so you can rearrange your schedule when needed (and you will need to!). I would also stress that it's important to have a loved one or close friend that you can vent to, confide in, and lean on when you are exhausted and feeling down. It's important that this person isn't someone directly involved in your business but instead watched it from the outside and can pep you up when you need support. My boyfriend does this for me and I wouldn't be able to stay sane without him.
What would you like Feminist Wednesday readers to know about your business?
You can find out more about SmartGlamour at www.smartglamour.com! Also on Facebook at www.facebook.com/smartglamour as well as Instagram and Twitter @smartglamour. And please remember that SmartGlamour is for every woman regardless of size, age, height, shape, ethnicity, or style. We are more than all inclusive - we are changing the face of fashion in the media. And we are always looking for models to wear our clothes! So follow us for chances to participate. It's my personal goal to dress as many diverse, incredible women as I can!