Why did you decide to attend the Fashion Program at Ryerson?
I originally studied fashion design at George Brown college but found it wasn't preparing me enough for the workplace after school. During my first year at George Brown I applied to Ryerson for the Fashion Communications Program since it offered a variety of courses that would apply to many different jobs. Upon doing research of the school and program I realized it would be a great blend of college based hands on courses along with the more academic structure of University. I wanted to make sure my education properly prepared me for the workplace and gave me a variety of skills to work a variety of positions within fashion.
How did your academic experience at Ryerson help you with getting to where you are today? What led to your interest in pursuing your job and field?
My academic experience at Ryerson really prepared me for where I'm at now. I currently am the CEO & Designer of my namesake womenswear lingerie and loungewear line. My time at Ryerson focused on time management and the ability to balance multiple projects at once, which is a huge part of what I do right now. I personally believe the variety of courses I studied at Ryerson gave me a full understanding of how to build and grow a brand.
If you had to do it all over again, what would you change about your time here at Ryerson and why?
To be honest, I don't think I would have changed very much about my time at Ryerson. I do wish I applied for a position for Mass Exodus but at the same time, focusing on typography has given me a lot of skills I use daily. If it would be possible to do both I definitely would have!
What does a day in the life of Mary Young look like?
My everyday is completely different but it often starts with emails. Being an entrepreneur means wearing a lot of different hats, some days I'm working on designs or meeting with influencers to go over new styles and how we can work together. Other days I'm focused on production, managing delivery time lines for materials and production schedule for shipping to retailers. Some of my favourite days are when I get to be more hands on and creative, heading to a studio to produce new content and shoot new pieces is always the most exciting.
What is your favorite part about your job?
My favourite part of my job is being able to connect with my target audience and affect their thinking on self love. The main focus of the brand is to encourage women to wear garments that make them feel comfortable and confident, embracing their natural shape rather than trying to conform to what the industry defines as sexy. When I hear feedback from customers on how the pieces feel so soft and comfortable as well as empowering is all the motivation I need to keep going.
Do you have an area of expertise you want to grow and learn about?
I personally love marketing and strategizing business growth. This is something I learnt very little about at Ryerson, with only two marketing classes, but I love it. I think it's extremely important to know how to connect to your audience and engage with them. Business growth is also very important, knowing how to shape and structure a company to provide space for growth is so exciting.
What is your favorite part about working in the Fashion industry?
My favourite part of working in the fashion industry is being surrounded by so much creativity and inspiration at all times. I tend to feel very unmotivated and sluggish without design around me, whether it's an interior space, a magazine or Pinterest, seeing images or spaces of beauty really encourage me to stay focused and motivated.
What advice would you give a fashion student interested in Fashion Design and starting their own line?
To anyone interested in starting their own line I definitely recommend learning your area of expertise and focusing on that. Trying to do everything can be overwhelming and is often counterproductive. When you first start a business it's important to know all the areas of the company but as you grow knowing your strong areas is important. You can then find others to fill in your weaker areas and together you will all be working in your areas of strength to grow the line.