Sourcing Plant-Based Textiles from Overseas + Building a ’19 PR Strategy with Nicki Patel of Ethical Fashion Brand Milo + Nicki

In a combined Knowledge Drop and Media Strategy Session episode on the podcast this week, we hear from FEST founder Nicki Patel, whose ethical fashion collection features women’s apparel – including enviable dresses that can be worn in multiple different ways – made using banana plant leaves and other non-fruit materials left over from growing the crop in India. As such, she’s an expert at how a small, made-in-the-USA brand can successfully partner with overseas suppliers to create garments made from plant-based textiles. She shares her story and her knowledge with us in the show, so if you’ve been considering sourcing overseas, this is one episode you won’t want to miss. At the same time, now a number of years into building her business, Nicki has a solid media and PR strategy, but she’s wondering how to amp it up in 2019. I leave her with three actionable steps she can take to do just that.

Meet this week’s guest, Nicki Patel, Founder of Milo + Nicki.

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What you’ll learn

When Nicki wanted to launch a sustainable fashion brand, exploring her Indian heritage led her to banana fabric – yes, it’s fabric made from the non-fruit part of the banana tree. Despite challenges she’s encountered along the way, Nicki stands by banana fabric as an excellent material to explore for FEST brands. Listen to the show to learn more about this plant-based textile and what to know when working with overseas suppliers as a small US-based brand. 

How you’ll be inspired

It might feel like a daunting process to establish business with international suppliers. Nicki agrees that there are many challenges, but setting up a complex supply chain as a small business is a lot easier today than it has been in the past. Listen to the show to hear what Nicki says she learned along the way and why respecting cultural differences may be the key to a successful partnership.

What you’ll tell your friends

Hey, I listened to this FEST founder’s story about leaving her corporate job after health problems changed her life. She went out on her own and made it happen and is now designing her ethical fashion brand in Austin, TX, working with suppliers in India who make textiles using banana plant materials and having it sew in New York. It’s a pretty inspiring story and tells you a lot about what building a fashion brand can loo like today. Check it out on the Spirit of 608 podcast. 

Resource of the week

Low-tech and lovely: Time for yourself. It can be so easy to check your mail or social media accounts, and yet so much harder to set your phone down and take time off. Nicki suggests having an activity that is totally unrelated to your business, just so that you can a barrier and reset when needed.

Connect with Nicki Patel



Instagram: @milonicki

Twitter: @milonicki_

Mentioned in this episode:

Banana Republic


Stitch Fix

Factory 45

Conscious Chatter

How I Built This


T-shirt motto: Be you in a world of others.

Find more episodes featuring women at the forefront of FEST online at



© Spirit of 608