“I want to change the
world through fashion.”
THE BIRTH OF A DREAM
In San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua, the city’s electricity goes out … again. Bridget is sitting in a neon green chair at her favorite corner cafe which is dripping in bright colors, eclectic sofas, and ambitious plants. She has just finished an open air yoga session and she’s approaching full zen as she sips her usual coconut milk latte. But Bridget is not here just to relax. She’s here to work. To refocus and reimagine. She is building her dream in the form of a 32 page business plan.
“I believe that clothing and fashion can be so empowering. If you are in the right outfit, it can make you feel amazing - like you can take on the world. But that shouldn’t come with a price tag to the earth or to the garment workers. When I was younger, I looked for cute, reasonably priced, ethically sourced clothes. I felt discouraged when what I found was going to cost me an arm and a leg, or it was made out of hemp and kinda looked like a sack. I knew I could build a business that would fill this gap.”
So in 2014, Bridget left her store management job on Michigan Avenue, moved into what on the lease was called a “closet,” and used the money she was saving to get out of town and start her life. Her real life.
She stayed in San Juan del Sur for 6 weeks, where she was joined by business partner, Becky Jackson. And there they birthed their fashion baby, NOVAA. They are the perfect team for the perfect company. “Wow. Where do I even begin?” Bridget gushes, “With Becky I’m not in this alone, we have each other to lean on for support, and we bounce ideas off of each other. I have more of an armor on with her by my side.” The duo is constantly challenging each other, and 90% of the time they are laughing hysterically.
FAILURE IS GROWTH
“I tend to be overly optimistic and incredibly positive, which in most cases is a wonderful thing. When I started NOVAA I had this unrealistic idea that it would be an overnight success. When that didn’t happen (surprise, surprise), I didn’t find myself discouraged, but I did (and still do) find myself struggling with patience,” says Bridget.
“The learning curve is real. I have learned to embrace the “F” word - failure. Failing is inevitable when you are doing something for the first time... So fail! Fail over and over again and do it as fast as you can. The more you fail, the more you learn, the quicker you grow, and the more successful you become. Can we even call it a failure if we’ve learned? I don’t think so.” She considers this resilience the clay that is shaping her dreams into reality.
THE FIRST STEP IS THE HARDEST
“Since I was 16, my business had been this heroic idea that I obsessively fantasized about. Dreaming about it was so comfortable to me. But actually following through with it (getting out of my comfort zone) was terrifying. I drew a blank on where to begin. So, I started where any smart entrepreneur would – insert sarcasm here – by Googling it. I researched everything from business plans to forming an LLC, and so on. Slowly I was laying the foundation of NOVAA, and it wasn’t nearly as hard as I had convinced myself it would be.”
Bridget continues to explain, “Big projects or life changes can be very intimidating if you let them be. Your mind is such a powerful tool - if you tell yourself that something is too hard, or too impossible, that’s exactly what it will be. But if you remove those mental constraints, if you stop over-thinking it, you will find that every project or change starts with one step. That step could be big, small or anything in between (including Googling it). So stop thinking and start doing; I guarantee it will be one of the best decisions you’ll ever make.”
HACKS ON SHOPPING ETHICALLY
“Start by checking the tag! If it says ‘Made in the US,’ then you’re generally good to go. The US has very strict regulations on working conditions and each state has minimum wage laws, so the chances of the clothes coming from a sweatshop are slim to none. Whereas if it says China or Bangladesh, for example, the chance of the clothes coming from a sweatshop is high.”
In her favorite ethically-sourced, dusty pink Tom’s tennis shoes, Bridget can be spotted running around at a festivals or pop-ups. The most rewarding part, she says, is being an advocate for ethical fashion and sharing her knowledge with vendors and shoppers. “I’ve seen people’s mindsets shift - both among my shoppers and my friends. Creating this change is the best feeling ever!”
BRiDGET's 3 favorite things
“If you want to see me freeze and my mind start racing anxiously... ask me what my favorite wine is. That’s such a loaded question; there are so many variables. What time of year is it? Will it be paired with food? What’s my budget? I love wine, all types. Today, I’m obsessed with Moran Manor Tantrum Chardonnay. But if you ask me tomorrow I will probably tell you something completely different.
“I find my balance and a lot of my inspiration comes when I’m moving. Be it a Soul Cycle class, CrossFit at Memorial Hill KC, riding bikes with my husband, or a juicy deep stretch yoga class. I love to move and always fit it in four to five times a week.”
“I moved back to Kansas City, my hometown, about a year ago. My husband jokes with me that the second I moved back I fully embraced my inner Kansan - as in, all I do is throw open my sunroof and blast some good ol’ country music - specifically Chris Stapleton. His Bluesy/Country/Rock just does it for me!”
Channel Bridget’s energy in this off shoulder top. Its raw hem fuels the raw emotion that will feed your passion and compassion. This top gives you an atypical allure that will color your every move. Have the confidence to show a little shoulder, and and all heads will turn, because hey, Bridget would.
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