MARY YOUNG is on a mission to ignite moments of self-love and acceptance through our ethical and Canadian-made intimates, lounge, swimwear, and more.
Tell us about yourself?
From a young age, I always knew I wanted to be in fashion and to be an entrepreneur. During my time at Toronto Metropolitan University, where I studied Fashion Communications, I was able to focus more on making my dreams a reality. During my fourth year, I did a double capstone/thesis and produced a five-piece womenswear lingerie collection which unintentionally was the inception of MARY YOUNG. I hadn’t planned to launch a brand right out of university, but upon showing my collection and receiving lots of positive feedback from the fashion industry and community in general, I decided to take the leap of faith and start the brand. From day one, MARY YOUNG has been committed to producing ethically and sustainably in Canada at our small production house. With a focus on comfort, quality, and longevity, the MARY YOUNG brand has been able to build a community around self-love and self-celebration, which is my greatest accomplishment to date.
If you could go back in time a year or two, what piece of advice would you give yourself?
Rest when you can! The pandemic was a wild ride for many small businesses, filled with both highs and lows, but I wish I were able to slow down and rest more to prepare for the journey of uncertain times.
What problem does your business solve?
MARY YOUNG is committed to providing women with comfortable, stylish, and sustainable intimates that are beautiful enough to show off – if the wearer so chooses. Intimates are… well, very intimate, and they should reflect the woman wearing them and celebrate her every curve and dimple, which is why we use the softest fabrics to shape to the woman’s body rather than restricting the body like traditional lingerie has.
What is the inspiration behind your business?
My inspiration was for women to feel confident in themselves – in their natural shape and purest form. We start our day by putting on our underwear, and if we are trying to fit into a garment that doesn’t represent us or encourage confidence, we carry that energy with us throughout the day. To be the very best version of yourself, you need to be comfortable and confident in your skin – so starting with lingerie made complete sense to me.
What is your magic sauce?
We believe in quality over quantity – something that is very rare in the fashion world these days. All MARY YOUNG designs are intended to be worn for years and to be celebrated with ethical and sustainable production. As a customer, you don’t have to wonder who or how the garment was made, but you can trust and feel good about supporting a small business that pays living wages and invests back into our economy.
What is the plan for the next 5 years? What do you want to achieve?
This question is one I’m currently shifting away from – we as a society are so focused on achieving and what’s next that we often miss what’s happening now. Instead of looking five years down the line, I’m looking at today and how we can continuously be a positive impact on our customers and community – and to continue that same focus every day as we move forward. The designs and business growth will come organically as time passes.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far?
In all honesty, being a Canadian brand is a challenge in itself. We don’t have the same ecosystem for success within our borders – the industry and resources are constantly getting smaller and smaller. Our market is also much smaller when you compare it to the U.S. or Europe, and the concept of success in Canada is very different than in other countries. We will continuously take pride in our Canadian roots and production, but we also have to focus on other geographical demographics in order to grow and support our commitment to igniting and inspiring moments of self-love and acceptance for more and more individuals.
How can people get involved?
Our community means everything to us, and we would love to have you in it. You can shop all of our products at www.maryyoung.com, follow us on all social media channels at @itsmaryyoung and listen to our podcast, the Self Love Club from MARY YOUNG, on Apple and Spotify.