Joy McBrien says she founded Fair Anita for selfish reasons. While working at Ten Thousand Villages— a fair trade retailer with storefronts all over the United States — she noticed that women her age would happily shop there for their moms, but almost never for themselves. McBrien could relate: She loved the store’s mission but seldom saw anything on the racks that felt modern and chic enough to buy and wear herself. She wanted a place to shop that sold stylish, responsibly created clothes, jewelry, and accessories for college students and young professionals. And since nothing like that existed, she set about building it herself.
McBrienworks full time on Fair Anita from her home in St. Paul, MN where she does everything from website updates and shipping inventory to local boutiques, to co-designing new items with her vendors. All Fair Anita items are made by women artisans and come from Guatemala, Peru, South Africa, Kenya, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Nepal, Cambodia, Vietnam, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Although Fair Anita’s primary mission is to provide economic empowerment, entrepreneurship, and leadership opportunities to women in developing countries, the company also works with and supports many artisan groups comprised of women who have been victims of sexual violence. This is an issue and cause close to McBrien’s heart, and one that is interwoven with the founding of her company.
From the Riveter. Click here for the full interview.
There’s more. Here is a intro to Joy in the August 2015 issue of Minnesota Business magazine (Page 26).