After Hours 5.5.22
Discussion 10: From Hand to Hand with Emily Rathmanner
This month's Q&A gets us closer to Made by Minga
owner Emily Rathmanner. Her journey as a small business owner reminds us to appreciate the little details and absorb the hardwork that goes into everyday belongings.
Photos by Kimlien Le & Made by Minga
Where are you from?
I was born and raised in Delaware... Ever heard of it? :) I've been living in SD for 3 years now. I journeyed to the west coast most summers during college so once settling down back in the US it made sense to come back to California.
What inspired you to create a business in the sustainable fashion industry?
After college, I traveled and lived abroad for nearly 5 years. I was working many roles, from surf camps to surf brands, trying to launch my freelance career and score any sort of free accommodation or meal I could (traveler budget). While on the road, I was always drawn to artisan markets- Getting to know the hands, faces and stories of people selling their work. I had always dreamed of traveling the world and sourcing crafts and carpets, partnering with artisans and taking photos along the way. Then one day it happened.
We first started with bags at Minga. Surprisingly, I'm not a big bag person (you'll find my carrying the Jessy Water Bottle Holder or Maria Market if I'm carrying something) so getting into hats felt really exciting for me.
Shop the Venice Shorts
Did you go to school for fashion (or business)?
I went to Virginia Tech for Graphic Design and Communications. I don't consider myself much of a fashionista so it's funny being in this space for me sometimes.
You launched in 2018, what was the most exciting part of your business in the beginning?
Receiving our first order here in the US was an exciting moment. We spent months working through our first collection, getting to know each other and designing each style from scratch. That was a big moment - when all of our hard work paid off and I could hold one of our bags in my two hands (and show my mom lol)
Shop the Jessy Water Bottle Holder | Shop the Nemesio Jumpsuit
- What was your favorite place to travel?
That's a hard one! Top three are New Zealand for its empty, windy roads that led to ever changing landscapes, Sri Lanka for its fried food, colorful tuk-tuks and elephant encounters and Peru for dusty left-hand point breaks, Aji de Gallina and cumbia music.
- How closely do you work with your artisans?
I speak to my artisan partners in Ecuador nearly every day -- In Whatsapp we work through production rounds, design new products and check in on shipping deadlines and samples. It's a group effort. Ever since I started off in Ecuador nearly four years ago, it's felt like a family connection. When I go to work in-person we share group meals, business advice and fill them in on my dating life.
Shop the Zoila Boater Hat
- How do you define an "heirloom practice"?
An artform that's taken careful time, one that's been passed down and developed by many, many hands.
Shop the Handmade Resin Claw Clip
We're running another round of #MingaCreativeEscape trips to Ecuador this year and next - A hands' on all-inclusive experience we've designed to get to know the crafts and humans we work with and learn about the traditional processes and stories behind this beautiful country. Our days will be spent visiting @madebyminga artisan partners and learning hands-on, traditional crafts from start to finish: Wool hats, natural dyes, leatherwork and more. Plus, lots of good food, authentic travel experiences and group work, breathwork and bonding.
- How would you describe your personal style?
Thrifted tees my mom would beg me to throw away, Levis, Vans, vintage boots. Anything that's cozy, has a story and can be worn over and over again.
- Any advice for someone creating their own business?
Go mentor under someone you admire and take notes.
- Top 5 favorite songs at the moment?
- Stripped by Joeef
Shop Made by Minga by clicking below!