Today’s Notable Young Entrepreneur is Kayley Reed, who, together with her business partner and fellow designer Kyle MacNevin, created a fashion brand that encourages conversation around mental health. We caught up with her to find out why the issue is important to her and what advice she would share with other young professionals…
1. Describe what you do in less than 140 characters.
Building a lifestyle brand that encourages conversations around mental health. AKA #girlboss who’s ending the stigma in style.
2. What was the inspiration for your career route?
In university, I secretly battled an eating disorder and depression. Self-stigma kept me from reaching out. During the last year of my degree, I was accepted to do my Masters in Fashion at Parsons New School of Design. It was also the year I started volunteering at a local mental health organization. I met my business partner Kyle, who was also a designer, and we connected over our mental health experiences. The idea to combine fashion and mental health sparked, and Wear Your Label was born.
3. What is the most memorable milestone in your career so far?
Our debut show during New York Fashion Week. We flew our little team from New Brunswick to New York, and were wide-eyed the whole week. The show was a dream – as two young designers, it was something we’d never imagined would happen so soon. It was such a validation in the industry, and a LOT of (happy) tears at the end of the night.
4. Where do you see yourself in 5 years, 10 years, 20 years?
Five years: writing a book, and opening Wear Your Label flagship stores in partnership with major mental health organizations.
10 years: starting a new venture in film or marketing.
20 years: mentoring and investing in young entrepreneurs and social startups.
5. Do you have advice for other young professionals?
If you don’t love what you’re doing, either change your attitude or change your path. Passion is too important, and everyday happiness is underrated.
6. Do you support any charities? if so, which ones and why are they important to you?
We partner with a lot of mental health organizations at Wear Your Label, but a favourite is Jack.org, a Toronto-based, national network of young people challenging the mental health stigma. We originally pitched Wear Your Label at the Jack Summit and have supported each other closely ever since. What I love most is their positive, energetic brand and initiatives. Everything they do is with a fresh twist that makes mental health a topic people want to talk about.
7. What is one major challenge that you’ve had to overcome in your career? How did you overcome it?
Balancing work and play. Building a startup is not easy – and super trying on a person’s mental health (ironically). At first, I’d put everything into the business. Late nights, weekends, barely any social life or time for myself. One day, I was posting an instagram photo (for Wear Your Label) about #SelfCareSunday, talking about helping yourself in order to help others. I realized I was so caught up in the “startup grind” that I wasn’t taking my own advice. I started doing little things, like Sundays off, and making time to see friends once a week. The difference was amazing. I was more productive during the days, and happier all around.
8. What does the word notable mean to you?
Worth celebrating and remembering. (So thank you!)
1. Where is your favourite place to wine/ dine in your city and why?
540 Kitchen & Bar. Hands down. Unreal food, great cocktails, cool but cozy atmosphere.
2. What’s the most visited website on your internet browser? The most played song on your phone?
My e-mail. Drive’s Oh Wonder.
3. Who’s one person you think everyone should be following on social media?
4. What’s your favourite country to visit and why? What’s the next one you plan on travelling to?
Hungary. It’s underrated, and unexpected. I went on a whim once, and Budapest is now my favourite place in Europe. Next stop: somewhere warm.
5. What gives you the greatest FOMO?
When friends travel. Or get a new pet. Two things I wish I had more of: international plane tickets and baby animals.
6. What’s your guiltiest pleasure?
7. What’s something you wish you didn’t spend so much money on? What’s something you wish you spent more on?
Lattes. Every. Damn. Day. And nice clothing. I’m notorious for wearing boyfriend jeans and white tees every day.
8. And finally, what does success look like to you? Work, play, or otherwise…
Sustainability, freedom, and happiness.
Stay tuned for Kyle MacNevin’s profile coming soon.