Rebecca Ballard: Maven Women, Founder
This is the final episode of Season 2 and I couldn’t be more thrilled to close out this season than with today’s guest, Rebecca Ballard, the founder of the ethical and sustainable fashion brand Maven Women.
This is the final episode of Season 2 and I couldn’t be more thrilled to close out this season than with today’s guest, Rebecca Ballard, the founder of the ethical and sustainable fashion brand Maven Women. A clothing label created by women for women that honors people and planet along every step of the way.
What sets Maven Women apart from other ethical fashion brands? As you’ll hear in today’s episode, Rebecca launched Maven women out of a need to find pieces that not only fit her values and aesthetics but that were also appropriate for her career as a human and labor rights issue lawyer in Washington DC. While there are so many wonderful ethical and sustainable fashion brands out there, they often don’t provide garments that are professionally appropriate to wear in a boardroom or courtroom. Guys, I am all about the bohemian and “flowy” look but, and I am pretty sure you’ll agree with me, there’s a time and a place. So, seeing there was a need, Rebecca felt called to create a fashion brand that provided women with attire they could wear from boardroom to bistro.
Anyway, I had such a wonderful time chatting with Rebecca. We covered so much in this episode — we chatted about the importance her faith plays in everything she does, her passion for human rights, what inspired her to shift gears from working as a lawyer in the federal government to launching an ethical fashion brand for women, the challenges women face around always striving to achieve “effortless perfection” and the toll it plays on us, the importance of embracing all shapes and sizes, her entrepreneurial challenges over the years and lessons she’s learned, the difference between her American eco-innovation collection and her global artisan collection, the importance of resiliency and prioritizing your mental health and wellbeing and so much more!
Q & A with Rebecca
1. City of residence: Washington, D.C.
2. Place of birth: Durham, N.C. (I lived in the Triangle area of N.C. for about half of my life)
3. In under five sentences, define your business: We create ethical, sustainable clothing that honors people and planet at every step. Our pieces are co-created by women, for women in timeless, versatile styles appropriate for work and play, and they pair well with a capsule wardrobe. We don’t design for trends but for women’s bodies, aiming to flatter our natural builds so there’s no need or desire for shapewear or “sucking it in”. I invite you to join us and become part of the Maven Movement, as we are stronger together.
4. What social or environmental impact is your business making? Not to overly punt, but our website has a good overview of this. There’s a whole lot to say on this topic, as we’ve evaluated every part of our supply chain and operations in light of social and environmental impact.
5. Out of all the pieces/collections you’ve designed, which is your favorite? The Alicia dress. All of our pieces were heavily co-created and made based primarily on the desires of other women, with one exception. For The Alicia I made a dress out of everything I love in a piece AND it’s been popular with so many women. I wanted to make sure that I broke away from the “a horse designed by a committee is a camel” risk inherent in a co-creation approach and create one style that really speaks to my aesthetic, build, age and stage, and identity.
6. What is the best part of the work you’re doing? Why? As a values-based company from the very beginning we seek to do what is right in every choice we make. It’s a great feeling to be able to turn your vocational dreams into a reality and a privilege very few women experience in their lifetime, which is why I aim for Maven Women to not be about “me” but “we”.
7. What book(s) are you currently reading? Ha, with a toddler, spouse who travels weekly for work, and being eight months into a second pregnancy there isn’t much time for reading, even though I was a voracious reader as a child. I do have Ben Fold’s A Dream About Lightning Bugs in mu queue, and I’m ambitious/daring enough to think I may be able to read it at the hospital after giving birth or listen to it while breastfeeding at some point. Ben Folds is one of my favorite musical artists and I think we have a plethora of differences between our personalities, which should make the book an even more fun read.
8. Quote you (try to) live by? “There is no such thing as failure. There is only a pivot.” As a goal-oriented perfectionist this personal quote is on a post it note above my desk. And boy have I needed to make quite a few pivots with Maven Women over the past three years!
9. Using one word, how would you describe yourself? Intentional
10. What is one random fact that most people don’t know about you? I’m semi-obsessed with musical theatre, show tunes, karaoke, and the like. My grandfather, his siblings, and his parents were a singing family during the Great Depression that performed at the Grand Old Opry and on Ed Sullivan (twice) and there’s quite a fun family history here. My two year old son appears to share this passion as well and we love singing together.