We all know that women — especially mothers — are a force of nature. We LOVE partnering with mothers who care about protecting Mother Earth, too. So it should come as no surprise that one of our partners, MLM Brand, is thinking about solutions for motherhood. Creating elevated essentials made for the modern mom, its founder, Magda Lasota-Morales, said it best: “Motherhood can be challenging, getting dressed doesn’t have to be.”
Let’s get to know the woman (and mom!) behind it all.
What inspired you to start MLM Brand? And, what does “MLM” stand for, anyway?
I founded MLM (Magda Lasota-Morales Brand) in 2019 because I wanted to make the fourth trimester easier for moms by creating a capsule collection of stylish, elevated, high-quality, reliable maternity pieces. Women’s bodies change tremendously during pregnancy and then postpartum, and it can be a challenging transition. I wanted to help new moms reach their breastfeeding and pumping goals without sacrificing their personal style.
When I had to go back to work at the end of my maternity leave in 2014, I couldn’t find a nursing and pumping-friendly dress that could take me through my busy day. I needed a dress that was versatile and comfortable (and long) enough to hop on a bike in the morning (which is how I got my son Adrian to daycare before heading downtown to work), and “office-y” enough to wear around the office and during presentations. This was the inspiration behind the #LittleBreastfeedingDress, my very first design.
As a mother of two small boys, I know motherhood can be challenging and demanding. I started MLM Brand because I wanted to make getting dressed less of a chore for expecting and new moms. Our goal as a company is to design reliable, versatile, functional and comfortable dresses that breastfeeding and pumping moms actually want to wear: timeless, stylish silhouettes made for multitasking moms in those early chapters of motherhood.
From the start, we knew that your brand’s purpose was special, and near and dear to our (green) hearts! 💚 Now that we know what inspired you to start MLM Brand…what makes your products so unique?
MLM Brand is unique in several aspects:
1) our dresses are made in Chicago and Los Angeles in small batches by women who make a living wage,
2) we use organic, sustainable, and breathable fabric such as Tencel Lyocell, merino wool, and organic bamboo jersey, and
3) our timeless designs offer a high-quality, fairly priced, stylish and functional alternative to existing nursing wear.
It’s clear that MLM Brand products combine form and function without ever giving up style. What is your best-selling piece, and why do you think it resonates well with your clients?
The Little Breastfeeding Dress (LBD) continues to be our bestseller. This dress is versatile, stylish, and made of high-quality fabric — it’s perfect for multitasking moms. The LBD comes with a discreet nursing access, works well with most pumping methods and can be worn during pregnancy. It has a simple, yet elegant silhouette which makes it easy to dress it up or down. I always say it’s the one dress every mom absolutely needs in her closet.
We like to keep it real here at greenlist. Starting a business can be rewarding, but it’s not always the easiest. What is your biggest challenge as an entrepreneur? How have you overcome it?
Finances and cash flow. From the perspective of an early stage founder of a boot-strapped apparel business, I would say my biggest challenges so far were finding the right partners in the fashion industry, managing cash flows, and overcoming self-doubt. There are still nights where I lay awake worrying about the finances, but typically it all works out in the end. I’ve learned that keeping an open mind and a grateful heart always helps! I’ve also learned to reach out to other women who are juggling entrepreneurship and motherhood. Luckily, I now have a wonderfully supportive circle of women who are changing the world in their respective fields. I can’t think of anything more inspiring than the success of other women! Asking for advice, bouncing ideas off of one another or simply sharing highs and lows with women who truly “get it”, makes being a sole founder a little less lonely.
With that in mind, what’s one piece of advice you’d give to entrepreneurs who are just starting out?
Do your (market) research, ask questions and go for it. Keep at it and believe in yourself. Every day do something, however small, to move your brand forward. Showing up consistently even on days when you don’t feel like it is key to growth.
We couldn’t be more proud to be partnering with your brand, and what it stands for. What’s one thing about partnering with greenlist that excites you?
Slow fashion, sustainability and responsible design practices are among the core values at MLM Brand. We pride ourselves in small batch, ethical production. We invest in recyclable and compostable packaging materials, and strive to extend the cycle of our garments through utilizing second-hand markets. This is why I love the whole mission behind greenlist. Enabling customer-to-customer returns is simply a brilliant idea! We all know that returns contribute tremendously to fashion waste and I’m ready to do my part as an owner of a small label. I’m excited to partner with greenlist to reduce my brand’s environmental impact, while also changing the way we shop and return garments.
What are YOU most proud of about your business?
MLM Brand’s biggest impact in the industry is our contribution to normalizing breast-feeding and pumping everywhere, while empowering moms to feel comfortable and stylish. Through our thoughtful and functional designs we’ve helped our customers reach their breastfeeding and pumping goals, and that’s something I’m very proud of.
While our sales data in 2021 demonstrates appetite for product and customer demand, the metric that I’m excited about as a brand owner is customers’ testimonials.
“The dresses came and I LOVE them! Will you have more colors?”
“OMG, just got that MLM Brand dress! Such great quality!”
“I ordered the Everyday Dress and I love it sooooo much”
“Your dresses have made my breastfeeding and pumping experience so much easier and not to forget comfortable and confident!”
“I live in this dress. Great for zoom calls as an attorney, hanging out, napping — everything!”
These are just a few examples of what mamas are saying about their purchases.
MLM Brand is still a very young company. What I’m most proud of is taking the leap of faith and saying yes to this rollercoaster ride of launching my own maternity fashion label. It’s not easy nor glamorous, but it’s extremely rewarding. Seeing other moms wear and love my designs is one of the best feelings!
Magda, we can’t wait to see where you take MLM Brand in the future!