An Austin, Texas-based, woman-owned business, Ponytail Mafia is a fashion brand with size-inclusive available. Meant to make you feel invincible, read more on its beginnings or browse their Woman-empowering clothing.
What drove you to start your business?
Before Ponytail Mafia, I was working as a third-grade teacher for six years. I knew it wasn’t the place I saw myself being for years to come, so I decided to take little steps to make a change. I always wanted to work in fashion (when I was little, I would make outfits for my dolls out of candy wrappers and toilet paper). One day, I decided to try my hand at designing a shirt and I had so much fun doing it. After that, I just kept making one-off shirts that were really dumb (that I still have hanging in my closet). A few people started buying my designs and it felt amazing to have my ideas validated by others that I just kept going! That’s when I realized that I could run my own business that would help me start a new path while also helping others by donating a portion of sales to groups that support women.
Who are your employees or your artisans?
Ponytail Mafia is a one-woman show; I don’t have any employees unless you count the dog, who is my constant support. I work with a local artist collective and screen printing shop called Raw Paw. At Raw Paw, my shirts are screen printed by hand by people who just so happen to be my friends and also my coworkers : )
How did you find them?
Raw Paw started off as a big group of artists and friends which, over time, turned into a screen-printing business. We started this collective years ago while I was still in college and it has evolved ever since.
What do they mean to you?
Raw Paw has been a big part of my life for several years. I’m lucky enough to work there and be a part of an amazing team. Not only does Raw Paw provide me with a full-time job, but it is also why my shirts are printed with such high quality and care. Ponytail Mafia would not be where it is today without the amazing artists and printers that I get to work with every day. So what does Raw Paw mean to me? EVERYTHING!
What made you decide to start producing ethically?
The garment industry has a very bad reputation for having unethical working conditions and standards. Since the garments I choose are representative of what I believe in and what Ponytail Mafia stands for, it is important that I am choosing to support companies that treat their employees fairly and provide a comfortable living wage. The core mission and ethos of Ponytail Mafia is to support and create opportunities for women, so I choose to spend my money with companies that believe this as well.
What impact has your business had on your community?
Ponytail Mafia supports businesses that provide resources and opportunities to women and girls. I love being a part of these networks of women with the same goal in mind.
What was the most difficult part of starting and running your business?
The most difficult part of starting (and maintaining) Ponytail Mafia has been believing in myself. I am a huge self-doubter, always overthinking everything and being scared to put myself out there. The motivational messages I put on my products are to empower the people around me, but also things I tell myself (over and over and over and over until I believe it!)
What has been the most rewarding outcome of your business?
The most rewarding outcome of my business has been being able to give money to organizations I believe in through selling products. It has also been rewarding to grow something that started off as a tiny little idea into something that positively impacts women and the community around me.
What is your company’s mission?
Ponytail Mafia specializes in comfortable, size-inclusive clothing that makes you feel like a badass. My mission is to make women feel confident in what they are wearing and fee good while doing so, knowing that their dollar is going towards the betterment of women.
- Faire.Shop strives to bring 100 million women out of poverty. Please help us estimate the impact of Faire.Shop’s network by sharing the number of women who you are supporting. We appreciate whatever input you can offer to aid our estimates—a rough guess is better than nothing.
- How many women do you help employ through your supply chain? 4
- How many men do you employ through your supply chain? 2
- How many women do you assist OUTSIDE of employment through education, training, sponsoring, mentoring, charity, or other beneficial means? (Please explain) I cannot estimate a number for this. A percentage of sales are donated to organizations such as the ACLU, National Women’s Law Center, and She Should Run. I cannot count how many women Ponytail Mafia has helped through financial means, but I hope it’s many!