Age-Defying Pillow

“I am so in LOVE with this pillow…”

I’ve said every night for the past week.

My husband is sick of hearing about it, but I’m not quite over it yet.

When Factory45 alumni Lydia Lopez-Astrov asked me if I was a side or stomach sleeper, I admitted (with my tail between my legs) that I am, in fact, both. 

Which I know is the worst, but I can’t kick the habit. 

Not only is stomach sleeping horrible for your back and side sleeping bad for your shoulders, but both styles of sleeping exacerbate every 35-year-old woman’s nightmare:

Wrinkles!

And while I’m all for the natural progression of aging, when Lydia told me she was creating an age-defying sleep-mask-style pillow I’ll admit I was intrigued.

But I knew finding truly sustainable materials for the pillow wouldn't be easy…

If you’ve had a chance to listen to the BEDDING episode of The Clean Living Podcast, then you know there are some problematic things about everyday sheets, mattresses and pillows.

Polyester or polyfill, which are plastic materials derived from petroleum, are the main culprits.

We spend nearly a third of our lives sleeping and yet most of us don’t know what we’re sleeping on… 

A recent New York Times opinion piece from journalist Nicholas Kristoff put a spotlight on endocrine disrupting chemicals — many of which come from plastic materials — and how they’re negatively affecting sperm counts, among other things.

So, while yes, I was excited about a pillow that aims to decrease wrinkles, it was the natural latex filling, organic cotton shell and 100% silk pillowcase that not only has me sleeping easy at night but may also make this one of the most sustainable pillows on the market.

Like I said, I love it.

When Lydia joined Factory45 in 2019 she had worked on upwards of 40+ prototypes and says, “I have slept on every version over the past several years and I am no longer able to sleep on any other pillow.”

I’m so glad the world is waking up to the need for more sustainable sleep.

You can read more about Lydia’s story here and shop the Sleep Goddess Beauty Pillow here.

 

 

 

Lydia is offering the Factory45 community a 20% discount on any purchase. Use the code “Factory45” at checkout — offer expires on March 15th!


clean living podcast

Black

Did you know that since 1976, every American president has endorsed a specific theme for Black History Month?

When I learned that the 2021 theme is, “Black Family: Representation, Identity and Diversity,” there were several Black-owned sustainable fashion brands that came to mind, having been co-founded by siblings and family members.

It’s those brands that I want to highlight, share and celebrate today — the first two designers are Factory45 graduates : ) 


black family-owned KREYOL

 

KREYOL is a made-to-order womenswear brand founded by Joelle Fontaine, who immigrated to the United States from Haiti in 1987. (Her incredible story can be read here.) With the support of her mother, who translated her engineering degree to clothing construction and sewing, KREYOL “creates high fashion quality garments that make women feel like powerful pieces of art.” KREYOL’s latest collection was featured in Bloomingdale’s, in partnership with the Boston Red Sox Foundation. 

Follow on Instagram @iamkreyol


Black Family-Owned PAUL RAMEAU

PAUL RAMEAU is a social awareness brand founded by Joelle’s younger brother, Stanley Rameau, in honor of his late father Paul. Stan started out as KREYOL’s public relations manager before launching his own brand that incorporates upcycled and thrifted garments with wardrobe essentials. The Paul Rameau brand is committed to social impact and community progression in the city of Boston. 

Follow on Instagram @paulrameauofficial


Black Family-Owned LABEL BY THREE

LABEL BY THREE was founded by three sisters, Rue, Tish and Jael in 2018. Today, their garments are designed and handmade in Phoenix, Arizona with a focus on minimalism, sustainability and versatility. All of the materials are hand-picked in-person, using quality deadstock fabrics from independent sellers located in the USA. 

Follow on Instagram @labelbythree


Black Family-Owned HOUSE OF AAMA

HOUSE OF AAMA is a culturally-inspired lifestyle brand rooted in the ethos of the African continent and diaspora, the dispersion of people from their homeland. Founded by mother and daughter duo, Rebecca Henry and Akua Shabaka, House of Aama has released new collections since 2013. One hundred percent of their garments are produced in Los Angeles.

Follow on Instagram @houseofaama


All photo credit goes to respective brands.

 

 

 

 

Clean Living Podcast

Ten years ago, it was easy for me to turn a blind eye.

I was single, in my twenties, starting my first business and bartending at night. I didn’t have the extra money to spend on organic food, clean beauty products or sustainable fashion.

I didn’t feel the need to learn more about toxins, parabens, formaldehyde and endocrine disruptors either.

Ignorance really was bliss, and I was living life the way I always had.

But at some point over the last decade, it became harder to look away. 

I developed dermatitis on my scalp (which I later found out was from my shampoo), I had an allergic reaction on my eyelid (which I later found out was from my makeup) and there were nights when my legs were so itchy that I thought I would never fall asleep (I later found out it was from my laundry detergent).

The truth is, we are all living in a potent, environmentally-toxic world. 

A world that is selling us products and food and clothing that are not only harmful to the planet, but harmful to our health.

We can try to do our own research and look at ingredient labels, but it’s often too difficult to know who to trust.

Nevertheless, it’s up to us to make the change.

If the year 2020 has shown us anything, it’s that it’s never been more important to take care of ourselves and the ones we love.

And I want to help.

clean living podcast

 

Today The Clean Living Podcast launches with its first FOUR episodes. 

These mini episodes, under 10 minutes, can be listened to one at a time while driving to the post office, folding laundry or making dinner. 

Or you can “binge” a week’s worth of episodes all at once — in less than 30 minutes.

Here’s what I’ve got for you this week:

Listen on your iPhone HERE | Listen on your Android HERE

  • Ep. 01 LISTEN FIRST! (2 mins.) An important note that I want to make sure you know.
  • Ep. 02 DEODORANT (4 mins.) This was the very first product change I made.
  • Ep. 03 CLOTHING (5 mins.) Most people don’t know this about their clothing.
  • Ep. 04 TRASH BAGS (4 mins.) An unglamorous topic that can have a big impact on your health.

We’ve been working really hard over the past month to bring you a high quality podcast that offers the information you need without requiring much time or effort from your busy schedule. 

I want to give a shout-out to my podcast manager Myesha Henderson, who has such an awesome new addition to my small team. Her experience and attention to detail made this happen within the short time-frame I was hoping for.

You can also check out the beautiful new website for The Clean Living Podcast, designed by my creative director Emily Belyea — and take the quiz to find out your “clean living score.” 

Once you’re able to listen to a few episodes, don’t forget that I’m hosting a Clean Living Giveaway on Instagram.

Follow the directions here for the chance to win products from Factory45’er Vesta, The Clean Beauty Box, Branch Basics and Last Object.

Thank you so much for your early support — I truly hope this podcast is helpful to you and inspires small changes that have big impact.

Listen on iTunes here.

Listen on Spotify here.

Listen on Google Podcasts here.

Gratefully,

 

 

 


clean living podcast

To celebrate the launch of The Clean Living Podcast, I’m hosting a giveaway featuring four amazing eco-living brands.

There will be SIX WINNERS and here are the prizes:

On Wednesday the 21st I’ll post the details again about how to win but since you’re on my VIP list, I wanted you to hear it here first —

To enter the giveaway on Wednesday:

  1. Subscribe to The Clean Living Podcast (you can actually do this step now)
  2. Listen and leave a review!
  3. Screenshot your review and share it on your own Instagram Stories
  4. Tag @factory45co and @cleanlivingpodcast in your IG Story

*Each additional slide in your IG Story counts as another entry into the giveaway!

I know this takes a bit more effort than your average IG giveaway, but these prizes are so good that I had to make it worth it ; ) 

I’m really excited to share the first four mini-episodes of the podcast with you — 

Go ahead and start listening here!

Always so grateful for your enthusiasm & support,

 

 

 


clean living podcast

clean living

What’s really in the products we use and buy every day?

Is it possible to change our lives by becoming more thoughtful consumers?

For most people, it’s overwhelming to sift through research about pollutants and toxins when you’re just trying to make it through the day, put dinner on the table and get the kids to bed.

But there is so much that we don’t know about the products we use daily.

We don’t know who to trust, which ingredients to avoid, what to switch to and which companies are greenwashing a lie.

And that’s what I’ve set out to explore through The Clean Living Podcast.

With mini episodes under 10 minutes, this podcast helps busy women live more sustainably in the areas of home, food and beauty.

And with one week until the first episodes go live, you can now listen to the trailer (just click the play button below):

Listen on iTunes HERE  |  Listen on Spotify HERE  |  Listen on Google HERE

If you’re interested in learning more about clean living through this podcast, it would mean so much to me if you clicked the “Subscribe” button on your podcast platform of choice.

The success metrics of a new podcast (as determined by iTunes, Spotify, Google, etc.) are based on the number of subscribers and the number of episode downloads in the first week.

Your early support will make a huge difference in helping to spread the word about The Clean Living Podcast.

Subscribe on iTunes here.

Follow on Spotify here.

Subscribe on Google Podcasts here.

Again, thank you so much — I can’t wait to share the first three mini episodes with you next week.

More soon,

 

 

 

P.S. The Clean Living GIVEAWAY is also happening on Instagram next week! Keep an eye out for the chance to win a dress from Factory45’er Vesta, The Clean Beauty Box and more… here: @factory45co


clean living

I could feel the heat rushing to my face and my voice beginning to shake.

I was on a Zoom call with a DEI consultant to discuss the blind spots and racial biases within the Factory45 program.

I had actively sought this out, but it didn’t diminish how uncomfortable I felt.

I started rambling off about how I wanted my company to be a part of the solution, instead of perpetuating the problem, with a list of all of the things I was personally doing to fight racial injustice.

The consultant stopped me and simply said, “Stay in your lane.”

She went on to explain that it’s not my place to try and single-handedly aid racial justice reform.

Instead, she asked, “How can you create impact within your industry or area of expertise?”

“Go deep,” she said. “Not wide.”

And that’s what I’ve been grappling with all summer.

So, I did what I always do when I don’t have the answers… 

I spent three months immersed in research: I took courses, I enrolled in programs, I read books, I watched webinars… 

And in mid-August, over a conversation with my sister, I figured out what I need to do next.

Will it solve racial inequality? No.

But it will be accessible and inclusive to all people, in a way that improves their lives and helps to create a more sustainable world.

In a follow-up email from the consultant I worked with, she wrote:

“We connected your DEI (Diversity, Equity & Inclusion) work to eco-living, which seems to be the area you are most confident.” 

Eco-Living. Not just eco-fashion?

It was at that moment I realized… 

This is my lane.

I can do so much more beyond fashion.

Ten years ago, sustainable fashion was the first step I took into the world of sustainable living.

But in that decade, there were other topics that I researched, learned and applied to my own life: whether it was food, or shampoo, cleaning supplies or deodorant.

While eco-fashion is niche and at times exclusive, eco-living is something that can benefit anyone and be inclusive to everyone.

It’s no secret that we are at a turning point in how we live. The pandemic has put a spotlight on the myriad issues within our healthcare system, education and yes, racial inequality.

It’s also no secret that COVID-19, as well as diseases like breast cancer and diabetes,  disproportionately affect the Black community and people of color.

While social distancing and mask-wearing are the repeated calls to action (and important to stop the spread of germs), we can protect our own health with greater access to clean living education.

I’m not talking about eating right or exercising daily. 

I’m talking about education when it comes to the ingredients in the products we use, wear and apply to our bodies daily.

There is so much that we don’t know about the products we use every day — we don’t know what brands to trust, which ingredients to avoid, what to switch to and which companies are greenwashing a lie.

For most people, it’s overwhelming to sift through research about toxins and parabens when we’re all just trying to make it through the day, put dinner on the table and get the kids to bed.

But here’s the thing: eco-living, clean living, sustainable living (whatever you want to call it) is more important than most of us know.

It’s not just about being kinder to our environment — it’s about being kinder to ourselves. 

And I want to share the easy changes I’ve made over the years that, in most cases, don’t cost more money or require that much more effort.

So, that’s what I’m working on this Fall — a passion project called The Clean Living Podcast.

I realized there wasn’t a podcast out there with easy-to-digest, no-shame tips about detoxing your home, food and beauty products. 

So the episodes will be less than 10 minutes with one quick tip that you can listen to while making dinner, folding laundry or waiting for someone to join a Zoom call ; ) 

In the coming weeks, I’ll share more about what’s gone into creating the show. 

I’ll also introduce you to the people I’ve been working with and probably ask for your input and opinions on some things.

To be honest, this has been one of the hardest projects I’ve worked on in a long time, but it’s something I know I need to do. So:

The Clean Living Podcast launches on October 21st, wherever you get your podcasts.

 

 

 


P.S. And no, I’m not abandoning sustainable fashion : ) Factory45 will open again in May 2021 and I’m still working hard with this year’s cohort of entrepreneurs. I think this new project is simply the next phase of my life’s work.

A banner that reads "We who believe in freedom cannot rest"

As I’ve been listening and learning over the past months, BIPOC leaders have been asking brands to come forward with a public anti-racism statement.

This is something that can be viewed on your website, as one way to stand in alliance with Black people and People of Color. 

It’s a commitment to building and maintaining an anti-racist business.

One of the most important parts of this request is for the statement to be made thoughtfully, knowing that the words are nothing without action. 

How will you reallocate funds to Black-owned businesses?

How will you diversify your team and ensure Black representation?

How will you represent Black Folx in your marketing and branding, without perpetuating tokenism?

These questions are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to creating a more equitable brand.

In July, I added my anti-racism statement to the Factory45 website after working with a DEI coach to ensure I could uphold my commitment.

And the intentions behind my words have been a primary focus this summer, as they will continue to be.

So, I have two calls to action for my fellow business owners and Factory45’ers today:

1.) Create your own statement and publish it publicly on your website (if you haven’t already). My statement is above the footer of my website if you scroll down. Feel free to use the words to make it your own, as mine is an adaptation from Rachel Rodger’s Anti-racist Small Business Pledge found here.

*It goes without saying, but the actions are more important than the words. This is not a marketing tactic or a branding opportunity, rather it’s a way to hold your business accountable to the commitment you’re making.

2.) If you haven’t made it a priority to reevaluate your business and how it can be more inclusive and diverse, then I have a free exercise for you here. It was inspired and guided by another DEI consultant Erica Courdae.

This public declaration is one step.

It’s one small thing we can do to ignite change.

And there’s no question that the world needs it.

 

 

 

 

white fashion business

This is not another templated blog post telling you that Black Lives Matter.

This is a call to action.

Over the past week or so, I have absorbed more education about one subject than I have about anything else in my life.

From articles to books to conversations to webinars, I have been processing what it truly means to be a white ally to BIPOC, what it means to do anti-racist work — and more importantly, acknowledging my unearned privilege in a system that was rigged to my benefit. 

Brands across all industries are being called out for their implicit (and yes, explicit) biases, and we’re realizing that we can all do better. 

Most of us have heard the expression, “We are not born with ‘isms.’ Racism is taught.”

And just as people aren’t born racist, most businesses aren’t born racist either.

The vast majority of entrepreneurs don’t start companies to deliberately suppress people of color.

But here’s the thing:

Most of us don’t go into business with plans to amplify and support people of color either.

Our passive decision making is directly harming anti-racist work. By not putting diversity and equity at the forefront of our core business values, we are not only contributing to the problem… 

We are the problem.

We simply cannot continue business as normal, without addressing the fundamental flaws of the sustainable and ethical fashion industry and it’s white-washed behavior.

As a leader in this space, someone who encourages people to start sustainable fashion brands for the good of planet and people, it is my responsibility to ensure that we’re starting brands that are good for all people.

I also recognize that there are professionals in diversity and inclusion training that will do a far better job teaching anti-racist business principles than I can.

So today, I want to introduce you to one of those people.

Erica Courdae is the CEO of a hair and makeup business that disrupted industry standards to consider the beauty of those not regularly featured. 

After decades of experience in creating a space for dialogue around diversity, equity and inclusion, she is now a consultant and coach for businesses that are committed to being imperfect allies of BIPOC.

On Thursday, June 18th, sponsored by The Garment, Erica is teaching a webinar exclusively for fashion brands about how we can be better allies.

“Step into a reality that isn’t the one you inhabit every single day. This is where the growth happens.” — Erica Courdae

Erica is being compensated for her time, knowledge and skills, but the webinar is free for you to attend. You can register here.

I will be there with an open mind, listening, learning and challenging myself to dig deeper in how I can commit to doing the long-term work.

Because believe me, there isn’t an overnight solution in showing up

The point is to continue showing up — within yourself, within your family and within your business.

If we truly want to live in an equal and just world, then there’s no other option.

See you next Thursday here,

 

 

 

 

Want to take action right now? Rachel Rodgers is hosting a Town Hall for small businesses TONIGHT at 6pm ET / 3pm PT. You can register here.


I know we’ve all been inundated with resources, but here are two links that have particularly stood out to me. 

*Note: If you’re sensitive to explicit language, then you may want to skip.

White Apathy & The Bullshit Argument that “They Could Help Themselves If They Really Wanted To” by Ash Ambirge

Police: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (If you can’t commit to 30 minutes, then just watch the last two minutes.)

 

fashion entrepreneur

Do you want to make the leap from the traditional fashion industry to the sustainable fashion industry?

Or maybe you want to start off as a sustainable brand from the get go.

Sustainable and ethical fashion is a constantly growing industry, especially as more consumers are becoming aware of how important it is to planet and people.

So, where do you start?

Today, I’m sharing the three most important aspects of a sustainable fashion brand and what you need to make sure you know how to do.

 

 

If these three things are already top of mind for you and you’re ready to get started, then applications to Factory45 are now open HERE!

To changing the fashion industry,

 


designer woman walking in california

The other day I was on a podcast interview, and the host asked me how I reach big goals.

I’ve shared with you before that I’m not a goal-setter in the traditional sense. Instead, I focus on the small “action steps” needed to achieve big goals.

And that’s where I started in January of this year.

The “goal” was to create a new brand video for Factory45 that would portray the experience of being an entrepreneur in the program.

I had a vision of what the final video would look like, but I really didn’t know how to bring it to life.

I’m not a filmmaker, I’m not a script writer and I’m certainly not an actress.

So, I got out a notebook and I made a list of all of the things that would need to come together to make this big goal happen within the budget that I set.

Hire experts who do this professionally… write a script… edit, edit and re-edit the script… approve a storyboard… find an “actress” for the video… hire a voiceover… lay out a timeline… create a shooting schedule, etc…

Thankfully — and this is always applicable advice — we started working on the video so far in advance that we finished filming two weeks before we got stay-at-home orders.

Advanced planning paid off more than ever this year.

So, how did it all come together?

I hired Drew and Kestrel of Falcon Related, who have worked with me before to create the Factory45 portal videos.

Jen Long, who is the founder of Noble Carriage, happens to live in San Diego (where I’m based right now) and she was willing to be our actress. 

She also happens to be the consulting client I worked with in 2014 who inspired the idea for the Factory45 program — how’s that for a full-circle moment?

Holly Stavnes, the co-founder of Left Edit, provided the voiceover for us — and she also went through the Factory45 program in 2017.

That’s all to say, the new brand video came together in such an authentic and genuine way that I couldn’t have planned it better in January if I tried.

It’s a lesson in trusting the process, setting up a plan of action and following through on the little steps to make it happen.

Anyway, you can see for yourself — just click the play button below : )

 

 

 


Factory45 Mentors