I’ll be honest. I’ve never had a “passion for fashion.” Don’t be fooled by the photos you see on my Instagram feed. My go-to outfit is a t-shirt with a funny saying, hoody, and my Roots sweatpants. I top the look off with a messy bun to help me get sh*t done.
I’m not really a big fan of dressing up, accessorizing (my type of jewelry is very small, and minimalist), putting on makeup and fixing my hair. Hah. However, I do realize the importance of looking presentable and professional when I meet clients/prospective clients, attend networking events, host workshops and teach my classes at the college.
Which is why I leave that type of thing to the professionals.
Megan Ramwa, the co-founder of Sonder and I connected over…wait for it……INSTAGRAM. On their homepage, Sonder is described as a peer-to-peer rental service for women, by women. When I found out they had launched their early adopter program I jumped at the chance to be part of it. Thanks to Sonder, I have become a big fan of jumpsuits, especially ones with pockets.
Scroll down to read her story below.
1. Growing up did you always have a passion for fashion?
As a young person, I had never considered myself to have a “passion for fashion.” However, when I look back, I believe that passion was cultivated through my love of art and my mother.
I had always loved to sketch and draw beautiful outfits, but I never saw myself wearing these outfits. I believe I had a perception of what beauty was, and I wasn’t a part of it. Growing up, I spent a lot of time admiring my mother who would always take such pride in her outfits. Her passion for beauty wasn’t for anyone other than herself. Deep down, she inspired me to realize that although you can wear the most beautiful dress in the world, beauty still comes from within.
Now that I’m older, I realized that I always had a passion for fashion. It was showcased through my love of creating outfits from a minimal closet or literally ripping and pasting things together to create a new look that suited my style.
Dressing up and creating things has always been at the core of my personality. Now that I realize beauty is not just what you see in the magazines, I feel more confident about building a platform to showcase beauty and fashion in all forms. As they say “the joy of dressing is an art,” and art is a beautiful thing.
2. How did you come up with the idea of Sonder and the name?
While I was in university, I spent a lot of time attending networking events. I always wanted to look the part but it wasn’t easy finding good outfits at an affordable price. I was tired of having to run around the mall last minute looking for something to wear when I knew there could be a simpler solution. I thought to myself “…maybe I could rent from a friend,” and thus, the idea for Sonder was born.
As for the name, I was scrolling through Tumblr and came across a list of interesting words. On that list, Sonder stood out to me immediately. After reading the definition, I felt as though a story could be made – a story about women and their incredible closets. A story about how each article of clothing defines a woman and her style, I felt that by borrowing clothes, a woman had the opportunity to put another life into a statement piece i.e. a dress was worn for a wedding, a first date, a cocktail reception, etc., it’s as though we’re creating a sisterhood of the traveling closet, and to me, that was what I wanted Sonder to stand for – a community to empower women through fashion.
Sonder – n. the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own
3. How would you describe your personal style?
It really depends on the time of day! Most of the time, my style is considered chic and preppy, but during work, I love to dress the part of a classic businesswoman. You can find me sporting a pencil skirt with a comfortable top or a stylish dress with heels and a matching blazer.
4. Who are some of your favourite brands and designers?
Brands: TOPSHOP, Aritzia/Wilfred, Oak+Fort, Le Chateau & Dynamite
Canadian designers and brands: Manik Jassal, Hilary MacMillan, Haunts Fashion, Lesley Hampton and Caitlin Power
International designers: Ralph Lauren and DKNY
5. What do you like the best about having a side hustle?
I love having the opportunity to connect with ambitious and creative people! Before starting my own business, I hadn’t realized how many women were pursuing their own side-hustle. It’s inspiring to see a community creating value with good intentions and paving the path for a generation of leaders to come.
6. What advice would you give to women who aren’t sure about their personal style or are having a hard time developing their personal style?
I never considered myself to be “fashionable.” I always explored styles which made me feel comfortable and that’s the key. The goal of creating a personal style is to remove the pressure of being trendy and follow your instinct.
Personal style is all about creating an everyday look that is curated based on your taste and lifestyle. I would recommend starting your closet off with “basics,” and slowly adding statement pieces or accessories. It’s also good to experiment to see what you like/dislike, it’s all about having fun! You define your style, not the other way around.
7. Are you planning on adding additional items such as bags and shoes in the future?
Accessories are a girl’s best friend! It’s something we’ve considered, but it won’t be in the near future. As of now, we’re focusing on expanding outside of dresses to include blazers, skirts and jumpsuits.
8. Thanks to Airbnb and Uber, home-sharing and ride-sharing have become very popular, to the point where it is the norm. Do you see outfit-sharing becoming popular in the near future?
Yes! People are becoming more aware of our impact on the environment, and fast fashion is a direct contributor to environmental waste.
Renting from local closets is a sustainable solution and allows women (and men) to benefit from supporting a more ethical and forward-thinking initiative. By supporting “slow fashion,” people are more likely to borrow clothes of higher value without breaking the bank. It also gives people an opportunity to explore new styles and trends through local people who may have a different take on fashion. It’s a community-oriented platform which has the potential to grow and become very popular in the near future.
9. How do you find time balancing your full-time job and growing Sonder?
Balancing a full-time job and scaling Sonder has been tough. I’m constantly seeking new ways to manage my time and priorities but it’s never perfect. When I first started working downtown, I made the decision to move from the suburbs to the city in order to reduce my commute and put that time back into my business. Now that I live closer to work, I try different things such as waking up at 6 AM, working after 5 PM or throughout my lunch break. I also dedicate my weekends to Sonder. It’s far from perfect, but I’m learning how to manage it given the circumstances!
10. What advice would you give to someone who is looking to start a side-business?
Don’t overthink it and do not procrastinate! I found that the best ideas usually come from a small inconvenience. If you can find a solution – go for it! If you wholeheartedly love and believe in your idea, you have to at least try and pursue it because you never want to look back and wonder “what if?”
Sometimes the only thing holding you back is your fear.. you have to put those negative thoughts away and think big! What if you pitch and secure $100k in funding, or what if you start a revolution?! Everything around you was once a thought.. so you should never discredit your own.