The Fashion Business Summit is tomorrow! This is a one-day, online event for early-stage fashion entrepreneurs who want to take action, pursue their passion and make 2023 the year they start selling. 

During the Summit, we’re hosting a Pop-Up Shop of sustainable fashion brands (with a 15% Summit discount!)


Here is the Market Lineup:

Maison Mikumo


Maison Mikumo is an independent slow-fashion brand featuring timeless, feminine designs with Japanese & Korean style influences.

MSL Bags


Elevating Eco-Friendly with Lifestyle Bags that Combine Style with Sustainability.

The Bright Factory

Unisex Apparel

The Bright Factory is creating dignified employment for formerly incarcerated women and currently fundraising the cost of equipment for our factory through the sales of our ethically made sweaters and tees.  




Reprise is a line of plant-based activewear aimed at reducing the amount of plastic in our clothing and on our skin.

LIYA Collective


LIYA Collective is a slow fashion brand of minimalist, natural fiber accessories for the modern woman, sustainably made around the world.

The Bright Factory

Medicine Mountain Scrub Company

Medical Apparel 

Ethically Manufactured. Sustainably Sources. Mountain Inspired. Medical Workwear for Women.


Dessous Loungewear

Women’s clothing

Dessous Loungewear is for women who want clothing that’s chic, comfortable, timeless and easy on the Earth.

Farrell & Co.


Fun, lightweight, rollable headwear that will keep up with you.

Santos Swim


Santos Swim is a globally-conscious swimwear brand with versatile styles made of regenerated materials.




Stories illustrated on clothing

Valentina Atelier


Sustainable swimwear and resortwear for the jet set worldly traveler



Scarves that plant environmental awareness.



Liz Riden


Liz Riden is a small batch accessories brand, all made by hand in Lancaster, PA.

Hope Continues

Size/Gender Inclusive Clothing

Hope Continues is a size and gender inclusive slow fashion brand for the sexy minimalist. 

I Love My Nighty


I Love My Nighty is an eco-friendly sleepwear brand that has reimagined comfortable loungewear and modernized the nightgown for today’s fashion savvy sleeper.




Bambina is a swim and resortwear brand committed to making women feel happy, beautiful and confident by providing them with products they can look great in and feel great about purchasing.



A cottagecore sustainable fashion house

Anna Gray Collection


Anna Gray Collection creates lively outerwear for women looking to add a little merriment, joie de vivre, and color to their lives. 


Nicole & Rose


Nicole & Rose is a size inclusive slow fashion brand focused on empowering women to be their most authentic, beautiful and worthy selves.


There is still time to register for The Fashion Business Summit and receive free business resources to kickstart your entrepreneurial journey this year. 

Register for your Summit VIP Pass here. 

I can’t wait to see you there!


Listen on Apple Podcasts | Listen on Spotify

Should You Start a Sustainable Fashion Brand During a Recession? I’m not an economist and I’m obviously biased in how I would answer this. So, I’m crediting all of the info from this episode to the Business of Fashion and leaving my opinion out. In today’s episode, I’m walking you through some things to think about so you can decide for yourself.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Business of Fashion Article

Ep 9: When to Invest in Your Fashion Business (And Where to Start for Free)


Okay, so full disclaimer here: Should you start a sustainable fashion brand during a recession? I’m obviously biased in how I would answer this. But that’s why I’m going to leave my opinion out of today’s episode and walk you through some things to think about so you can decide for yourself.

I’m not an economist – obviously – and I cannot predict the economic future… but I would have to be living in a hole to not hear all of the recession talk in the news, on social media, etc. etc. So while I don’t feel totally qualified to give my two cents on the matter, I’m crediting all of the info from today’s episode to the Business of Fashion.

I came across this article in July – it’s titled “Will a recession stunt sustainable fashion?” and it’s written by Rachel Deeley. When I clicked on it, I assumed I knew what the answer would be… I figured it was another doomsday article about the effects of the pandemic, how the world is going down the gutter and why sustainable fashion will never go mainstream.

But I was wrong. And the article gave me an unexpected boost of hope for our industry. Here’s why:

The last major recession was in 2008. I remember it well – it was the year I graduated college with a journalism degree and decided to travel the world, bartend and live off of tips instead of getting a real job with an actual salary.

According to the Business of Fashion, the 2008 recession was a huge setback for the sustainable fashion industry. At the time, it was only a fledgling and emerging movement and the economic downturn crushed its momentum.

Fast forward to today, it’s 2022. And the inside scoop says this – I quote:

“Pressure on the industry to operate more responsibly won’t go away, regardless of the economic climate.” Yes, regardless of the economic climate.

Also, [quote] “A downturn could push consumers to adopt more responsible shopping habits.”

Why? Because they don’t necessarily have as much disposable income to burn on cheap fast fashion. During times of economic downturn, it’s usually the less expensive stuff that’s cut out of the disposable income budget first (TV subscriptions, eating out and yes, the weekly visit to Target for a new pair of leggings.)

People are thinking harder about the things they buy, if they actually need them and are less impulsive with $10 purchases here and there. They’re actually looking to buy less, but better.

Let’s face it, times have changed. It’s not 2008 anymore – there have been shifts in both consumer and business culture that mean things will likely look different in a recession today. And if you’re wanting to start a sustainable fashion brand, then that’s good news for you.

Consumer behavior aside, you also have to remember how long it takes to launch a fashion brand. I’ve said before, a successful brand launch should and can take anywhere from 6-18 months depending on how much time you have to work on it in your day to day.

It only takes a quick Google search to learn that the average recession lasts less than 17 months. In fact, in the post-World War II period, from 1945 to 2020, the average recession only lasted about 10 months.

Which means, that if you start now, like today, September 2022 – with sourcing, product development, audience building, marketing, etc. – then by the time you are actually ready to launch your brand to the world, then (based on historical data) we’ll likely be coming out of the recession.

I’ve said it many times before but I’ll say it again, there has never been a better time in the history of the fashion industry to start your own brand.” We have never been able to start our own businesses in such an inexpensive and less risky way by being able to first test the market and second, pre-sell our products.

And if you have no idea what I’m talking about, I have a 60-minute free workshop that will teach you exactly what I mean and show you how to do it for yourself. I’ll link to the registration page in the show notes below if you’re interested.

My best advice, economic climate aside, is always to start before you’re ready. Because starting a fashion brand takes time – and tomorrow you’ll wish you had started yesterday. 

I hope this episode was helpful – I hope it gave you some hope. And while I’m certainly not suggesting you go and blow all of your savings, I know that if you’re serious about this dream then there are things you can do today that don’t cost a penny to get started. Episode 9 walks you through some of those things, so I’ll link to that episode in the show notes too.

Thanks for listening and I’ll see you next week.

Earth Day

How many Earth Day emails have you gotten today? Hopefully, a lot! 

But here’s the thing, dedicating a day to the Earth doesn’t mean much without action.

And while fashion isn’t the most obvious choice to associate with “going green,” it is one of the biggest contributors to climate change… 

Which makes our sustainability efforts in the fashion industry that much more important.

Will the small indie brands single-handedly solve the fashion pollution problem? No.

But they will, and have, put pressure on bigger brands while helping to educate consumers on why their purchasing decisions matter.

So, on that note, I asked four Factory45 Alumni to share how they “restore our earth” (the theme of this year’s Earth Day) through their sustainable fashion brands:


Imbued’s intention from the very beginning has been to use ‘slow fashion’ to support the restoration of our Earth. By setting high standards to use only organic fabrics grown by small farms, eco-consciously sourced plant dyes for fabric coloring, and offering limited collections, Imbued has made a commitment that almost no fashion brand is making. 

Imbued’s botanically hand-dyed bandanas and Intention Setting Dye Kits are small but mighty solutions that support the Slow Fashion + Regenerative Farming movements. It’s a way to create more restorative conversations and actions that support our planet. Imbued’s bandanas and dye kits are for The Earth-Wise Human Who Knows…It’s not just a bandana, but a small act of radical change. 

— Kristin Brown, founder of Imbued

Earth Day


Novel Supply Co creates comfortable, gender neutral apparel that doesn’t pollute the environment or harm the people making it.

We use all natural, organic materials and natural dyes and take our products back at the end of life to ensure they don’t end up in the landfill.

We source undyed, organic cotton and hemp fabrics from a Fairwear Foundation member mill and all apparel is manufactured ethically and locally in our hometown of Vancouver, BC. We only do small batch natural dyeing to ensure we minimize our impact on the planet as much as possible.

— Kaya Dorey, founder of Novel Supply Co.

Earth Day


Reprise makes plant-based activewear, aimed at reducing the amount of plastics in our workout clothing. Our approach for carbon neutrality is to offset our carbon footprint in our supply chain and have a mix of Reforestation, Renewable Energy and Community projects. We’re based in New York and we produce with local manufacturers. It’s really important for us to build that relationship with them and keep everything local. 

— Mary Bemis, founder of Reprise Activewear

Check out Reprise featured on NBC News this week! Click here.

Earth Day


We restore the Earth through sustainable fashion by using natural fibers. We ensure that our clothing doesn’t contribute to plastic pollution by relying on sustainable and low-impact fabrics like Tencel. We also like to think we lead through example and help heighten awareness around conscious consumer choices.

Many people that are drawn to our aesthetic are also very aware of workers’ rights, environmentalism, supporting small business (especially women and BIPOC-led businesses) shopping local, and are willing to go the extra mile to do the right thing.

— Melissa Woods, founder of Trued Apparel


Happy Earth Day, everyone!




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:


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


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.





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.