A Crafty Business Model – Misssoka’s Take on All Things Eco
An exclusive interview with Misssoka, trendy entrepreneurs crafting chic, eco-friendly products.
By Lisa Sookraj, Staff Writer
“It can sometimes be challenging to work in an eco-angle when designing, unable to predict the availability of certain materials, working in limited runs, but it just means our creative selves are pushed.”
Everything is going green – often at the cost of more green – these days. Which is why I chose to approach design duo Misssoka to discuss their affordable, “salvagewear” jewelry made from found materials and their transition from studio art majors to business-savvy entrepreneurs, who have managed to turn their love of fashion and thrifting into something profitable. Misssoka consists of Dana Dal Bo, who is about to pursue an MFA in Fibres, and MaryAnne Petrella, who currently writes for interior design blog ReNest. Both obtained their BFA degrees from Concordia University in Montreal.
LS: How did Misssoka start out?
Misssoka: Quite often, we would often go out thrift shopping together and noticed that we had very similar tastes. We eventually amassed so many strange and wonderful things that they just had to be put to good use! Much of what we collected was small and in multiples, so creating jewelry seemed natural. In 2005, we created the Misssoka label.
[pullquote]It can sometimes be challenging to work in an eco-angle when designing, unable to predict the availability of certain materials, working in limited runs, but it just means our creative selves are pushed.[/pullquote]Our first public venture was at an indie-craft fair and, fortunately for us, the community was very supportive. During the event, we were approached by the owner of a popular Montreal boutique and that really solidified the notion that Misssoka had potential.
LS: Tell us about how you’ve made your business profitable.
Misssoka: It’s always challenging to find stores with the ability to invest outright in a product – particularly these days. We’ve found that consignment arrangements are an ideal solution, so this is how most of our business is conducted with our retailers. While it does require extra organization from both the vendor and retailer, this model allows for a greater amount of merchandise to be sold through a store because of the increased selection. It also allows us to make sure the shops have enough of what sells well for them. Having a firm handle on what the store receives and when can help maintain and increase sales momentum.
LS: What do you find attractive about the whole eco trend?
Misssoka: For a long time, the term “eco” conjured up images of hippy communes and tie-dye as far as the eye can see. This is far from the case these days. Misssoka is part of a movement where sustainability and fashion share equal representation. It can sometimes be challenging to work in an eco-angle when designing, unable to predict the availability of certain materials, working in limited runs, but it just means our creative selves are pushed.