Each week, our Friday Feature celebrates powerful women from our tribe who share their magic with the world in unique and inspiring ways. This week, we started a Boss Babe Friday Feature series, and chatted with multiple women in our community whose passions and creativity have made them fierce entrepreneurs. These go-getters share their journeys, hurdles they've had to overcome, and wisdom they've picked up along the way, which we are so excited to be able to share.
Meet Julia Ahrens, Founder of Miakoda
Give us one line describing what your business is about!
Eco friendly, sustainable, and ethically made clothing that is comfortable [and cute!].
When did you start the business?
5 years ago!
Why did you start the business? What inspired you?
I started Miakoda with my sister shortly after graduating from Parsons with a degree in Fashion Design. While in school I got to intern and freelance for companies ranging from fast fashion to high fashion. I love design but don’t love the general mindset of the industry [one beauty standard, unethical production, throwing away huge amounts of clothing/fabric/samples, etc].
I searched for brands that were hiring that I felt GOOD about working for, and when that search came back with nothing, we decided to start Miakoda! Miakoda is everything I personally want from a clothing companty-- we use all sustainable + eco friendly materials, produce locally and ethically in NYC, and believe that looking good comes from feeling good, hence our incredibly comfy design!
What are you most proud of accomplishing so far?
I’m most proud of how much Miakoda has grown. Day to day its so easy to get caught up in the *little things*. When I take a step back and look at how much growth we’ve experienced since our beginning in 2013, I am so proud of how far we have come.
What hurdle did you have to overcome to get this far?
I’ve overcome so many hurdles when it comes to Miakoda—from production going wrong, to taking bad advice, to investing in ideas you think are worth it that end up totally not being worth it. Luckily there is no one huge hurdle that stands out, more like little bumps that I jump over weekly, daily, monthly to keep me going on this path of entrepreneurship.
What's one lesson you've learned that you wish someone had taught you before starting your business?
Trust your gut! Everyone says this and I’m sure someone told me this before starting my business. Along the way, you will meet so many people who tell you what you should be doing, what to do, and how they think you need to spend your time, energy, and money—if it doesn’t feel true to you, don’t do it. My biggest mistakes have come from trusting someone who I thought knew better than I did even when it didn’t feel authentic to myself. At the end of your day, your gut and heart knows best…trust it! And trust you have the ability to make good, strong, positive decisions for your business. If the decision feels wrong to you, it probably isn’t the correct path to take [this expands outside of just business and applies to life as well!].
How has your Self Love Pinky Ring and the commitment you made to choose yourself impacted your journey as an entrepreneur?
Self love is so important. No matter what your job or your life roll, its important to make yourself a priority and care for yourself. As an entrepreneur, it’s really difficult for me to separate myself from my business. It’s easy for me to get caught up in the idea that “I am only as good as or as successful as my business.” If we had a good day, I am great. If we had a bad day, I am a failure. Black and white thinking is easy to get caught up in. My pinky ring reminds me that all businesses and all humans have ups and downs, highs and lows, good days and bad days and no matter what type of day I am having, I am worthy of love and happiness. When I catch a glimpse of my shiny ring, I remind myself to slow down and take a deep breathe… it centers and grounds me.
How can we follow your brand!?