Women We Admire with Carol Davies and Morgan MacDonald of Mettamade
Carol Davies and Morgan MacDonald are the founders of Mettamade - a size-inclusive Canadian-made clothing company for sizes XS-5XL. The brand was founded in 2018 in Hamilton, as an approach to offering inclusive and timeless clothing, designed and manufactured in Canada. We had the wonderful opportunity of chatting with their lovely founders to learn more about their journey and business.
Can you share how Mettamade was started?
We started the brand in 2018, during which time Morgan was seeking treatment for an eating disorder, and looking for a hobby that would be creative and mindfully redirecting thoughts away from food and weight. Morgan’s weight was fluctuating in response to recovery and body image issues with clothing became loud. Morgan turned to Carol to design a Spring jumpsuit that would be adaptive to weight change, comfortable and stylish. Carol Davies, has extensive experience in fashion design and designed what would become the Morgan Jumpsuit. From there, an entire line of designs were created and launched November 2018.
Mettamade was founded on the principle that all bodies are worthy of clothing that feels compassionate, stylish, and of high-quality. As a result of our relationship with Body Brave, and building a community of diverse folks with similar values and experiences with body image issues, advocating for mental health awareness and the unlearning of diet culture, we connected with folks who shared their experiences of feeling unseen and unheard in the fashion industry. This is how we began collecting body measurements to develop our size chart.
What is it like working so closely with family?
Morgan: It can have its benefits and its drawbacks. Carol and I are very similar in personality (easy going, empaths, slightly introverted). We spent a lot of time in 2018 taking a mindful-self compassion course and sewing out of Carol’s home studio. The path to developing the foundation of the business in 2018 felt fairly easy. Of course, it can be challenging working with family. It is difficult to “turn off” our work conversations outside of work which other family members will remind us about :)
Carol: I really enjoy working with Morgan. As a working mother when Morgan was small I always felt we missed out on the experience of spending time together. It can be challenging of course. We are very similar and have to work at being assertive which is important in what we do. Our roles are very different but necessarily overlap because of the small size of our company. Sometimes feelings are involved that might not be so prevalent if we weren’t family. I think we deal with it all pretty well.
Where do you find creative inspiration?
Our community has been the driving force for our inspiration. Our clothing is designed on the basis of a capsule wardrobe requiring timeless and versatile designs that can be worn across seasons. We often hear from customers what key pieces they are missing in their capsule wardrobe. Something that is well-made, comfortable and stylish for all bodies.
When we had our retail space open to the public (pre-COVID), it was very easy to receive immediate feedback from customers on samples and small batch designs. Since moving towards primarily e-commerce, we collect feedback from surveying, emails, fit models, etc.
What's the best advice you've ever received?
Know your numbers and always ask questions! This is something we’re still learning about. We’ve been working with a business mentor, a CPA, who has been extremely helpful and encouraging us to understand every cost of doing business, speak up for ourselves and ask questions, and understand how to operate sustainably so we can continue to create for our community for years to come.
When do you feel most like yourself? / When are you at your happiest?
Carol: walking outdoors and listening to an audiobook, or nothing at all.
Morgan: also walking outdoors in nature and listening to live music (which I’ve missed a lot throughout the pandemic).
Who do you admire and why?
Carol: I honestly admire my two daughters so much. They have both taken somewhat unconventional routes to arrive at similar places. Morgan has had a variety of experiences that have shaped her and out of each of them she has taken something to build her future upon.
They both amaze me in what they have learned and know how to do that wasn’t learned in classrooms or books. Morgan takes the initiative to learn what needs to be learned for our business and never hesitates to take on the work involved to implement necessary changes. I am honestly so impressed!
Morgan: I admire my mother. She is truly one of the most intelligent humans I know (her friends and our family will always remind of that). She has worked really hard as a designer, and after her business closed in the 90’s, she went back to school and completed three degrees with two small children. She is an extremely hard worker, is fiercely creative and the most compassionate person anyone will meet. I feel very privileged to be able to call Carol my mom and my business partner.
What piece of advice would you like to offer to other women?
Carol : see setbacks for what they are: places to move forward from.
Morgan: Be compassionate towards yourself. As women, we are constantly being told to hate our bodies and that we need to look a certain way to achieve happiness.
There is some awareness emerging about how insidious diet culture can be and its historical roots in racism, sexism, and capitalism. However, it is still really difficult for women to navigate this world and love themselves as they are. My only advice is to speak kindly and compassionately towards yourself and your body - even if it is difficult to believe. The more you talk to yourself and your body like a friend, the happier you will be.
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