MONDAY Muse: In Conversation With Maggie Hewitt of Maggie Marilyn
To celebrate the New Zealand launch of MONDAY Haircare; a thoughtful, ingredient-conscious brand designed to bring luxury haircare to the masses, MONDAY have partnered with The Twenties Club to bring you this series of conversations between myself and the women who have served as muses to brand-founder Jaimee Lupton in the building of her business.
Jaimee was drawn to how multi-faceted these women are – not just as fashion designers or business owners, but as daughters, sisters, risk-takers, sustainability advocates and role models.
We hope you love these conversations as much as we do, and that they inspire you to identify the muses in your own life.
I remember attending your SS20 show at New Zealand Fashion Week last year and being struck by how special it was to see your mother, father and grandparents sitting in the middle of the front row – seats that hadn’t been saved for international buyers or editors, but for your family. What role have your family played in the success of Maggie Marilyn?
“My family is my support network, I wouldn’t be where I am without them. From the hours spent fraying denim jackets in Season 1 to the home cooked meals after long days at work, they are my rock. My sister Sarah works in our production team and having her in the office every day is a blessing. She is incredible at her job and a vital support to me.”
Net-A-Porter famously ordered from your debut collection, something that almost never happens with the e-commerce fashion retailer. As exciting as that was, I wonder as a newly-graduated 22 year old, what kind of pressure came with that moment? What was your inner dialogue like during that time?
“It was such an amazing moment and I feel incredibly grateful to have had the opportunity for my first collection to be sold globally. When we had that first meeting with Lisa Aiken (Net-A-Porter’s fashion director at the time) in Sydney during Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Australia, I honestly was just so naïve and didn’t know what to expect. I remember feeling incredibly nervous and pacing back and forwards across the room before she arrived. The meeting was a rollercoaster of emotions because Aiken pointed out that Net-A-Porter had never picked up a brand in their first season, so they might just want to “watch” Maggie Marilyn for a while. Then, about a week later, we received an order. It was pretty surreal and of course a dream come true, but I also had no idea what I was doing! So I rallied my family together and it was all hands on deck. I was living at home at the time so we shipped the first order to Net-A-Porter straight out of my parents garage. I feel so lucky to have people around me who have always lifted me up in those moments when the challenges feel all consuming.”
I know that you give a lot of thought to the people and brands you work with, what was it about MONDAY’s business philosophy that appealed to you?
“Something that really resonated with me about MONDAY was Jaimee’s commitment to making luxury haircare available to all women, this is something I felt similarly passionate about when creating our Somewhere line for Maggie Marilyn; I wanted to give our customer the opportunity to buy a high quality product – something that was going to empower her – at an affordable price point. At Maggie Marilyn, the word “affordable” means a price where both our customer and the people in our supply chain are getting the best value; for our customer, this means receiving a quality product at a good price. And for the people in our supply chain, this means we continue to operate at our most ethically and sustainably while having enough margin in our sales to reinvest in revitalising the New Zealand manufacturing industry and supporting our international suppliers in bettering their practices on each level of the supply chain.”
I read an article on The Lily co-written by Saya Ameli Hajebi (a 17-year-old Muslim immigrant and leading climate activist) and Gina McCarty (the 13th administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency), in which they discussed the importance of bringing everyone into the climate crisis conversation, irrespective of our differences or disagreements. They also both spoke about being “climate optimists”, because it is our generation who’s health and future is on the line. Do you share this same optimism?
“Absolutely! It can be easy to be swept up in climate anxiety but ultimately you have to stay optimistic. Optimism is at the heart of Maggie Marilyn. I truly believe staying optimistic is our only option, if you let it all get on top of you, you wouldn’t be able to get out of bed in the morning! I believe we all have the power to make a difference.”
Among other things, MONDAY have sustainably innovated their products by using recycled materials, removing the use of polybags and instead shipping in craft paper boxes, and have opted against plastic labels by rather printing directly onto their bottles. As a leader in this space, what specific measures within the Maggie Marilyn supply chain and design process are you most proud of?
“Switching our polybags to compostable bags was a big feat for us as it wasn’t easy to get our wholesale partners to agree to this change. I’m also incredibly proud of the partnerships we have built with our manufacturers and suppliers. For example, Soktas, one of our cotton suppliers in Turkey, use a software system that helps to control and optimise lighting, heating, ventilation and air-conditioning. They also recycle waste water, pass it through an advanced cleaning treatment and reuse it in their production processes, saving an average of 182,000 tonnes of water each year. That being said, we’re always pushing to be better as a business and still have SO much to accomplish in this space. My hope is that as we grow our community, the impact we have on the fashion industry will inspire other industries to take action too.”
Let’s switch gears to beauty! Your long blonde hair has started to become synonymous with your public profile. What’s your relationship with your hair like? And how does it look so damn good all the time?
“I am so laid back with my beauty routine, the main thing I constantly tell myself is that stress is not good for my hair! So in 2020, I’m trying to find more balance in my life and manage my stress more productively. After washing my hair in the morning I always let it dry naturally. I usually get to the office between 6:30am and 7am so it’s always been important that I only use high quality products like MONDAY that I can trust to protect and strengthen my hair – so that I literally can wash and go. I’m also a firm believer in getting a regular trim to keep your hair healthy!”
And lastly, which businesswomen have been muses to you in the past 12 months? Who do you draw business inspiration from?
“In terms of building a business, Emily Weiss, the founder of Glossier, and Natalie Massanet, the founder of Net-A-Porter, are both incredibly inspiring women who had a unique vision and executed that vision. Stella McCartney is an amazing example of someone who has built a successful business while remaining uncompromised in her values, instead putting them at the heart of what she does and striving to make a positive impact on the world. And finally, while he’s actually a businessman, my forever inspiration will always be Yvon Chouinard of Patagonia. Chouinard is a pioneer in building an environmentally and socially responsible company, their mission statement is literally: “We’re in business to save our home planet.” Patagonia have given hundreds of millions of dollars to environmental NGO’s and Chouinard constantly shows what is possible when you lead with purpose over profit.”