FOUNDERS | Mary Young of MARY YOUNG
MARY YOUNG is a Canadian made lingerie and loungewear brand that promotes self-love and female empowerment. The namesake line by Mary Young want women to feel good about themselves and feel sexy in their own skin. Using soft knits, jerseys and elastics, each piece from the collection is made to embrace the natural women’s body. We sat down with Mary Young to learn about the origins of her business, her brand’s unique philosophy and creation of the “Self Love Club” initiative.
When did you realize that you wanted to become an entrepreneur and why?
I always knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur, before I even knew what that word meant. Growing up, I was always starting little businesses and selling things I was creating. Before launching MARY YOUNG, I had a small accessories line that gave me a lot of knowledge and practice as a full time entrepreneur. The concept of building something, selling it and connecting with a wide audience has always been appealing to me and is really the core of being an entrepreneur. Also, being your own boss feels pretty great.
With so much talk about female empowerment in today’s mainstream media, how do you think your brand can play a part in elevating this message?
Our brand from day one has been focused on female empowerment and self love, and it’s something we communicate to our community in so many different ways. When it comes to the lingerie industry, women are often told to change and reshape their body to be ‘sexy’, when in reality, women’s bodies should be celebrated, not changed. Our garments are designed to embrace and celebrate a woman’s body, changing the narrative that women can only be sexy if they look a specific way.
From there, we launched the Self Love Club to further this conversation and really challenge both men and women to have open and honest conversations around self love. We share stories of other women on our blog that challenge what women have often been told and create space for conversation to flow. We also host Self Love Club events that bring people together in our community to share, explore and challenge what we’ve been taught about self love and self care in a safe environment where we can encourage growth together. Alongside the Self Love Club, we have chosen to donate $3 from every item sold to Raw Beauty Talks to better serve a change in today’s younger generation.
With today’s fashion industry being such a millennial-driven market, what do you think is the biggest appeal of your brand to today’s younger demographic?
I believe our brand is appealing to a younger demographic for a few reasons. The main one being we are offering more than just a product, but rather a voice, a mission and a community. Aside from that, our brand focuses on authenticity, real women wearing real garments, something that we haven’t seen in the lingerie industry for many years. Being able to relate to the images you see encourage you to feel confident when shopping.
How did you go about choosing the seven women featured in the videos for Self Love Club?
The Self Love Club videos were such a highlight for us and narrowing it down to seven women was extremely challenging. We met with so many beautiful women and of course, wanted to include them all. The seven women selected for the videos series really captured an honest and true take on the message we were encouraging, that talking about our insecurities is hard but it’s important to find self love even when you don’t feel great. No matter where you’re at in life, self love comes in waves. Some days things are great and other days not so much. These women really understand that and also challenged those bad days to work towards finding more love within themselves. I personally was so inspired by each of them that I knew our community would feel the same.
What’s next in cool-girl lingerie?
What’s next is what we’ve all been missing, lingerie that makes you feel confident and comfortable. I will forever drive this point home: wear lingerie for yourself first, find love for yourself first and when you feel comfortable and confident in your own skin, share that new understanding with whomever you choose!
How do you think technology is disrupting your business practices and approach to today’s consumers?
Technology is so vital to our business, since we sell both through retailers and directly to consumers via our online store. We need to connect with people worldwide and the best way to do that is with technology. Shopping at a physical location is no longer the only way to buy, shopping on your phone with a click of a button is happening now. With social media apps, we’re able to grow brand awareness and more importantly, a community that believes and supports our mission for celebrating women of all shapes and sizes.
What’s one piece of advice you would give to a young entrepreneur trying to break into the fashion industry?
My biggest piece of advice is to write a business plan, which is something often overlooked. You likely won’t stick to the plan, which is completely fine, but understanding how you’re going to grow the business is so vital for launching a brand in the fashion industry. Once you have a plan and feel about 80% confident that it will take off, that’s when you need to close your eyes and jump in.