Our Story (the longer version)
We are at a pivotal moment in our history and that’s why I am pursuing the path of most “Resistance” via my new brand, IamMOI. IamMOI is a direct to consumer company that will use its platform and profits to support women who run for office. Let me tell you what inspired me to pursue this mission.
I have been in the footwear business for many (maybe too many) years as a design director and executive. I designed for large shoe companies that represented licensed brands ranging from Rebecca Minkoff to Tahari, as well as big commercial private label businesses with companies like Steve Madden and JCPenney. In short, I was a “ghost” designer. I was the designer and the person that did the work, ranging from designing, sketching, product development in Chinese shoe factories and selling to retailers. I never went to school for design other than a few night classes at FIT. I graduated from Cornell University and was supposed to get a "real" job. I am a Russian born immigrant so my parents insisted that I stay away from design school and pursue a “real career”. Nevertheless, I fell into the fashion industry a few years after Cornell and I haven’t looked back.
My dream was to launch my own brand, and did so several years ago. Unfortunately, it didn’t go as planned (even though we did sell to big stores like Nordstrom and others) and the brand ultimately failed. It was not, however, a complete failure because I walked away with some valuable lessons.
I learned that with the proliferation of e-commerce it would only make sense to launch a brand again if I had the right messaging behind it, since traditional branding these days is worthless. For years, I struggled with brand messaging…women’s empowerment...mehh...so last year. Thankfully and unfortunately, Donald Trump did the hard work of identifying my company’s mission. Like many across the country, my purpose for existing shifted after the 2016 election. Once the fog of being blind-sighted by his win wore off, I became inspired and started to plan.
What was born out of despair but a sense of resolve to overcome was my brand: IamMOI.
I came up with the name in 2017, prior to the #MeToo movement. I was looking for simple wording that was powerful and resonated like Nike’s “Just Do It”. It is not lost on me that Nike’s current spokesperson is Colin Kaepernick, and they too, have joined the political-fashion conversation.
IamMOI will practice authenticity by building powerful partnerships with organizations such as SheShouldRun, Emily’s List, and Higher Heights -- organizations that share the mission of creating and investing in networks that help women run, win and lead when seeking to run for public office. IamMOI will contribute to these organizations in the following ways:
We will donate a portion of our profits from every pair of shoes ordered to one of the above organizations.
We will offer an annual discount code to customers who show proof of membership and donation to any of the above-mentioned organizations.
We will utilize the IamMOI website and social media platform as a space to tell the story of women candidates.
We are launching the brand with leather statement styles, using “statement” words such as “Resist” studded on the uppers. As IamMOI grows, we will expand the line into a full women’s fashion contemporary footwear line. Most importantly, we would like to eventually launch our own foundation that will exist for the singular purpose of providing tangible support to women who run for office.
There is much more that I could elaborate on, such as the close-knit group of friends I have who are running for office, my membership and leadership in my local Indivisible group, and sustainable globalization.
But at a minimum, please check out IamMOI! I hope my story resonated! If so, please sign up and follow us below… if not-well, we tried;)