123: Making Big Changes After a Decade in Sustainable Business with Proud Mary’s Harper Poe

Is direct-to-consumer the best way to build an ethical fashion brand today? This week’s Spirit of 608 podcast guest is betting yes – and while many founders building conscious companies today bypass wholesale and go directly for the leaner, ecommerce-driven model just based on watching well-known success stories like Everlane and Warby Parker, there are very few entrepreneurs around today who can talk about the pros and cons with the benefit of nearly a decade building a business founded with sustainable, ethical principles and production methods. If you’ve asked yourself which route is right for you and your FEST biz, you are going to scoop this episode up and snuggle it like one of the cozy alpaca sweaters in this bohemian chic brand’s latest collection.

Meet this week’s guest, Harper Poe, Founder of Proud Mary.

What you’ll learn

Direct to consumer might not be optimal for every company, but it works perfectly for Proud Mary. Find out why Harper is making the move to shut down longstanding wholesale accounts with well-known retailers after nearly a decade in business – and why she’s decided it’s the most sustainable, ethical choice for Proud Mary.

How you’ll be inspired

“I definitely did not have a Plan B.” Hear Harper on creating her dream job by putting together the two things she wanted most: to travel and help artisan communities all around the world.

What you’ll tell your friends

Did you know there’s such a thing as an impact calculator? To do the math, check out Proud Mary’s unique website feature that calculates the hours and number of artisans involved in making Proud Mary’s products – and spoiler alert: it’s a lot.

Resource of the week

Planoly: If you’re a female entrepreneur doing your own social media and trying to balance the need to be the face of the brand with a healthy aversion to plastering your face all over Instagram, you’ve got something in common with Harper. Hear how she uses Planoly to market her company and manage her public and private social media accounts while also keeping much of her private life private.


Connect with Harper Poe & Proud Mary

Website: proudmary.org

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/proudmaryglobaltextiles/

Instagram: @proudmaryglobaltextiles

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com.au/harperpoe/

Mentioned in this episode: 

Business Plans for Dummies


Design Sponge


International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF)

New York Gift Show


Cobble Hill


Urban Outfitters



T-shirt motto: Be fearlessly authentic.

Find more episodes featuring women at the forefront of FEST online at www.Spiritof608.com.



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