Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in clothing but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Mary Bemis, Founder of Reprise, located in New York, NY, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

Reprise is leading the clean fashion movement by creating an entirely new category of natural apparel made from plants, without all of the toxic chemical additives. Our target market is Millennial and Gen X women (we're hoping to expand to men's next year!) who recognize the benefits of nontoxic and clean products, especially in cleaning supplies, cookware, and beauty.

Tell us about yourself

I started my business after being shocked to learn how much of our clothing is made from plastic! I did a quick Google search on Polyester and couldn't believe it was in my entire closet. I consider myself to live a fairly healthy and sustainable life, so the fact that I was eating vegetarian and transitioning to clean beauty products, it didn't feel right that I was dressing in toxic clothing - so I felt compelled to create something better! I've connected with many women who have developed skin and health conditions as a result of the chemicals in clothing, and that drives me to keep working towards spreading education and offering cleaner options.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

There are so many! But as we will hit 5 years in business next month, I would have to say making it to 5 years in business. It has been a rollercoaster, but we have accomplished so much in that time, and I can't wait to see what the next 5 years hold :)

What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?

You are always in problem-solving mode! I started my business without any prior startup or entrepreneurial experience, so I didn't realize all of the different areas I would need to learn. I started my business on a bootstrapped budget, so I needed to become a web designer, fabric sourcing agent, production manager, fulfillment specialist, email marketer, social media manager, etc. It can be a lot to manage, and it takes a bit of experience to learn what parts you are good at and what parts you need to learn or eventually hire for.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. If you've been thinking about starting a business - do it! It is by far the best decision I've made for personal and professional growth
  2. Find a community for support along the way. Friends and family will be there, but having a group of other entrepreneurs who understand the rollercoaster of starting a business and can offer resources is invaluable.
  3. Be prepared to work hard - it's not easy! But you'll learn something new every day and be challenged in ways you never thought possible, but it's worth sticking with it.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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