I discovered Mary Young and her lingerie and loungewear namesake label last year during a Ryerson school event that I saw on Twitter. I instantly loved her line and what she stood for. First of all, everything if made in Canada which is great and something I’ve recently started to support more. Second, her lingerie is beautiful and is something that you can wear every day and feel beautiful in.
I got the chance to meet Mary at a Rogers Small Business event back in April and listened to her talk about entrepreneurship and productivity. She’s honestly one of the nicest people ever and her success is something I definitely look up to!
Where are you from? And where do you currently reside?
I’m from the small town, Arnprior, which is just west of Ottawa, Ontario and I now reside in Toronto.
What did you study in school? Did you ever see it leading to what you are doing today?
After high school I attended George Brown College for Fashion Design and Techniques, which I completed one year and then headed to Ryerson University to study Fashion Communications. I never knew these two programs would shape me and lead me to starting my own business but I always knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur, I just never thought I would be so young.
Why did you decide to create MARY YOUNG?
I launched MARY YOUNG just a few months upon graduating Ryerson after overwhelmingly positive feedback from the industry and community on my thesis. I produced a written thesis as well as a five piece collection of hand knit sweaters and lingerie which was my very first collection. After studying the lingerie industry so intently for months I saw a gap in the market for lifestyle lingerie that was practical and comfortable for everyday wear but still something women would want to wear for their partners. Noticing this gap was what gave me hope that launching a brand in such a niche industry was worth it.
What was your dream job growing up?
My dream job has always been to be an entrepreneur and have a clothing line, though I never imagined it being a lingerie line.
How would you define the word success?
To me success is finding happiness in all areas of your life. Being successful is about balancing work, family, relationships and most importantly being truly happy and confident within yourself.
Is there anyone who has been influential in your life/starting a business?
My mom has been a big influence in not only my life but also my business. Growing up my dad stayed home while my mom worked, so I grew up seeing that women are equal to men and can pursue a career the same as anyone else. She also was a huge support in me launching my business and has been vital in it’s growth; she’s always letting me bounce ideas off of her, helping with customer service and overall business operations.
Have you ever had a mentor who has given you advice that you would like to share?
I’ve had a few mentors and they’ve been so beneficial for so many reasons. One mentor told me that if it were easy then everyone would be doing it. That advice has truly stuck with me; being an entrepreneur is often glamourized but in reality it is extremely hard work with a lot of pressure. Another piece of advice is to take calculated risks, starting something is a risk but analyzing what could go wrong and how you’d handle it is really important, because trust me, things will go wrong.
Where do you find inspiration when you’re creating new collections?
I personally find a lot of inspiration from people watching, seeing what people are wearing, whether is low cut tops, oversized tees or high waist jeans. All of my garments have to complement the wardrobe of the consumer so knowing how my pieces can pair with their current garments is extremely important. I also look to menswear for a lot inspiration, there’s such an ease with men’s clothing that women’s doesn’t always have, I try to take that ease and translate it into my garments.
Why did you decide to start the Self Love Club?
I decided to focus on the Self Love Club movement after realizing how many women were feeling more comfortable and confident in their natural shape after challenging what the industry defines as sexy. Seeing women feel empowered by their confidence means to much to me and I want to focus on that not only in this generation but all generations, especially the younger ones. Everything the MARY YOUNG brand stands for is feeling confident in your natural shape and defining sexy on your own terms, this is something the media and fashion industry doesn’t advocate but it’s time that changes. The Self Love Club is not us, or buying our garments but rather you and your attitude.
What advice would you like to give to today’s women?
What I want all women today to know is that you are beautiful, in who you are and what makes you, you. It’s important and vital to take time to learn more about yourself and learn to love every aspect, and it’s more than okay to say that you’re beautiful and to love yourself.
What is a fact about you that would surprise others?
One surprising thing is I haven’t drank coffee in a year. As an entrepreneur everyone things coffee fuels you, which it used to but now I’m coffee free and rely on matcha lattes for my energy.
We welcome you to share your thoughts about Mary’s line MARY YOUNG and what you love about it in the comments below. We would love to start a conversation with you!
Peace and Love,