At the beginning of the year we knew we wanted use this space to highlight some of the many incredible women in business that are disrupting the status quo and incorporating sustainable practices at the same time. We’re are excited to continue to introduce you to new founders and companies through our series: the Sustainable Business Spotlight. We hope that you find these stories insightful and inspiring—no matter what your career path. Know of a woman-owned business that has sustainability in their business model? Please let us know who you would like to see featured in the comments!
Today’s feature is another of Jess’s favorites, Fanm Mon. She discovered the brand and it’s founder Sophia on Instagram and has been smitten ever since (currently eagerly awaiting the arrival of this dress). Watch this video of Sophia twirling in it, perfection. Read on to learn more about this thoughtful and inspiring business.
Who: Sophia Demirtas and Kerem Demirtas
Where: The US, Ukraine, and Turkey.
What: Fanm Mon, a luxury womenswear brand that specializes in turning traditional global styles into wearable forms of art that are meticulously constructed and showcase beautiful hand embroidered details.
Where do you find inspiration for your designs?
Nature is my main source of inspiration, but as a creative who does her best to see beauty in all forms, I’m not limited to just nature. What moves me can inspire me just as much as movement itself can do the same.
How do you incorporate sustainability and eco-friendly practices into your business model?
As a black Haitian woman, sustainability is more like second nature. In Haiti, we are always thinking of ways to preserve and reuse things, until it cannot be used anymore for its original purpose. Even after that, we miraculously give it a new life, to be used in other ways. So a large part of that is carried into my approach to designing. We are direct to consumer in every sense of the word, the product is made in our atelier and shipped directly from there. Eighty percent of our work is done by hand, from fabric cutting to some of our embroidery, and of course stitching. We source fabrics from local suppliers as well, all in an attempt to reduce our carbon footprint.
Nowadays everyone is tagging themselves as sustainable and that’s made the term feel like any other word. So for me, total transparency is important. I share the complete journey with my followers. My IG story and feed is not simply to have a well curated feed of the final products, but also to show and attempt to educate customers on what it takes to create slow fashion. Also, I feel it is very important to share some aspects of my personal life. I do my best to live a conscious life and I want to help my customers to understand that true sustainability is in our way of life, and that is the needful decision, which should then lead to shopping sustainability.
It seems like Fanm Mon has been a bit of a hidden secret up until recently. Was that intentional?
In many ways yes! I honestly never wish to become the brand that everyone starts to see too much and gets tired of. I love the fact that even after being in business for a while, that women still find the designs original and they speak to them from a very honest point of view. Women’s reaction to the brand truly feels like it has become their little secret, and I like that.
In your mind, who is the Fanm Mon woman/customer?
Someone who’s honest with herself and life around her. She is not afraid to speak truth. She is elegant and classy yet bold. She is a free spirit… a wanderer but not lost!
You’re very hands-on with Fanm Mon, especially on social media. How do you balance running a business, connecting with customers, being a mom and everything else in life?
The balance comes from being extremely honest with myself and the reality around me. For years I was told by PR agencies, buyers, and showrooms that my IG feed did not portray the extreme beauty and quality of the garments I make. I always rejected the idea of having my feed looking only like I have products to sell. I want to connect with people in relatable ways and that way has to be a part of my daily life. Sharing what is real, sincere, and important to me; and I hope it will have a positive effect in another person’s life—from the herbs I use to the meals I prepare and the places I go. I never wanted to have a personal and business page because I have always felt my brand is not just a brand asking people to buy. Rather a brand with knowledge beyond fashion that we want to share. So, I do not have to create any particular schedule to follow for what I share. It all naturally unfolds as authentic as my thoughts and mood, so in all honesty there is nothing to balance. I simply be and move about in my daily life and some days I share what I do. It all comes together to create the natural balance within my family, my team, and my interaction with customers.
Thank you to Sophia for your time. Find more of her designs and behind the scenes on Instagram.
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