We interviewed Mary Young, to find out how she created her namesake brand of womenswear, MARY YOUNG
What’s your name, your background and what business do you run?
I’m Mary Young, an entrepreneur, speaker and self-love advocate. From a very young age I knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur, and after studying Fashion Communications at Ryerson University in Toronto, Canada I launched my namesake brand of womenswear, MARY YOUNG.
How did you come up with the idea?
The concept for my brand was formulated during my fourth year of University and originally took shape as my thesis. I spent months studying the lingerie industry and discovered there was a large gap in the market and a huge opportunity for a lifestyle lingerie approach to gain traction.
After designing, creating and showing a capsule collection, my concept was proven to be successful, with lots of interest from my audience in where and when they could buy the garments.
Is there anything in your past that led to opening the business?
Looking back, so much of my childhood and teen years led me to opening a business. I was always creating something then trying to sell it – whether it be an experience or product.
I had a small accessories company while I was in university and this experience definitely prepared me for launching a brand as a full-time endeavour. I personally believe that some entrepreneurs are designed to be just that, always finding opportunities to build something and offer it to others.
“I personally believe that some entrepreneurs are designed to be just that, always finding opportunities to build something and offer it to others”
What was the process of designing, manufacturing and bringing your first product or service to market?
This process of taking concept to tangible product was, and can still be, extremely taxing and time consuming.
We produce everything in Canada and with the dying industry here finding a reputable production house with experience in lingerie was quite a mission. Thankfully we have a phenomenal production house after months of searching and we’ve grown so much because of them.
Sourcing materials is just as hard. Finding the right fabrics or trims at a price that will allow the final product to retail for a reasonable amount is work too. With all this being an uphill battle it does feel so amazing when the final product is finished and ready to be sold.
Describe the process of launching the business and any issues you had at the beginning
The process of launching was more work behind the scenes than most would imagine.
The first major step was writing a business plan to make sure this concept of mine could be successful by covering all of my bases and doing the research.
After that it came to securing financing. Let’s be real, starting a product-based business is a huge investment.
From there, finding our vendors, materials, production, etc was the last key to making sure this could really take off. The fun part was the branding, marketing and outreach to create a buzz for the brand.
What strategies or marketing channels do you most rely on?
We rely on social media for a lot of marketing for two main reasons.
The first being that we can market for a low cost on many social platforms and have the option to put some money behind content to reach even more.
Secondly, our target demographic spends most of their time on social media so we need to reach them where they are.
What platform, tools or software do you use for your business?
We use so many different tools and platforms some days it’s hard to keep track of them all!
My go-to everyday tools are:
- Google Analytics and G-Suite
- Quickbooks for accounting software
- Klaviyo for email marketing
- Slack for communications
- Planoly for planning, managing and scheduling Instagram posts
- VSCO for photography tools
- UNUM for visual planning
(Editor – if you’re looking for more great Ecommerce resources, then check this out)
What does the next 12 months look like for your business, and for yourself, professionally?
The business is growing so much that the next 12 months has a lot of exciting things to offer!
We will be doing more pop-ups and in-person events to connect our community with the brand in a non-digital realm. We have also taken a lot of feedback from our consumers and will be rolling that out in terms of content and even products.
For myself professionally I hope to continue to connect with the community face-to-face and to grow our Self Love Club movement more by hosting events that really drive connection and honest conversation.
What have you learned through this process that you didn’t know or think was important beforehand?
Personally there isn’t something I learned that I didn’t think was valuable, but rather this process has taught me just how valuable organization, time management, mindset and so much more really is.
The experience of being an entrepreneur is like training for the Olympics but never knowing if or when you will be going.
“The experience of being an entrepreneur is like training for the Olympics but never knowing if or when you will be going”
What did you wish you knew before starting?
I wish I had a better idea of how hard it would be and for how long.
I did grasp the hard work it would take but I also thought there would be a point where the hard work would feel less hard and I would feel more comfortable when in reality the hard work continues.
The main thing I remember is growth is uncomfortable so as long as I’m uncomfortable I know I’m moving in the right direction.
What resources would you recommend for others looking to start a business?
There are so many great resources available now that any entrepreneur can easily access the knowledge and information they need to succeed.
Reading wise The Four Hour Work Week is a great way to help you shift your mindset in how you work.
In terms of courses or training there are so many available online, a great resource is Skillshare and School by KP where I actually have a course on all things sales from creating a customer and solution profile.
Do you have any words of wisdom for other entrepreneurs looking to start their own ecommerce business?
My biggest advice would be get ready to say no to a lot but by doing that you’ll be saying yes to your business.
Sacrifice leads to growth and success, so don’t be afraid of the hard work. But also don’t be naive to what it will take.
Seek knowledge in every way, from friends, networking, podcasts, articles, etc and absorb what you can to benefit your growth.
“Sacrifice leads to growth and success, so don’t be afraid of the hard work. But also don’t be naive to what it will take”
Where can we go to learn more about you and your business?
You can find us online at www.maryyoung.com and on our various social channels at @itsmaryyoung