MAI, a local clothing company in the Twin Cities, makes unique and original activewear inspired by both the city and nature around us. We sat down with owner Emma Holcomb to get the details on the history of MAI, the process and the latest fall collection that just launched.
How did you get started in fashion design and specifically in designing yoga apparel?
I graduated from UW-Stout with a degree in Apparel Design and Development. As my yoga practice grew, I started searching for cute yoga pants and I couldn’t find any! I searched everywhere and couldn’t find what I was looking for. Until I walked in to Lululemon and wanted everything, but couldn’t afford anything! I’d rather spend my money on great food and experiences with friends and family than on fancy clothes. There was a huge gap in the market for affordable but cute and trendy workout clothes and I knew I could fill that! My favorite part about building MAI has been that it is all made locally in Minnesota, and always will be.
Can you tell us a little more about what MAI represents as a company?
The name MAI comes from our mantra: I AM enough. MAI is I AM backwards. We believe that who you are, is exactly who you should be. Loving yourself as you are can bring you the most enjoyment in life.
What is the start to finish process of creating a new product like?
It’s a ton of work, but it’s a blast! We take our time to find the inspiration for our next line and then start designing and sourcing fabrics- this can take a while, but when everything comes together, it is the best feeling! Once we have designs and fabric we start making patterns and testing each piece to make sure it fits great while you live your active life. When that is complete we cut out all the of the fabric in our basement! Then it goes to our wonderful seamstress in Saint Louis Park, we get it back, print our logo on it and then it is time for us to put together our photoshoot and update our website. The best part is shipping it to our customers, we couldn’t do it without all of the support we’ve received over the past 2 years.
Where can we find MAI?
We are located at Minnesota Power Yoga on Washington ave in the North Loop and will be expanding to other local studios this fall! Until then, find us online at www.fashionbyMAI.com and follow us on social media @fashionbyMAI to get our latest updates and info on pop-up events.
What advice would you give to young women wanting to start something on their own like you have done with MAI?
Starting your own business or collection is the hardest part, there are a lot of questions and unknowns, but just start. Keep your expectations attainable and allow yourself to fail, you will learn so much as you grow, in ways you could never have foreseen. And just keep going, and smile and enjoy the ride.
MAI turns 2 this November! Come celebrate with us at Minnesota Power Yoga- Facebook has all of the details. We’d love to offer Taupe & Birch readers 20% off all of our online Fall collection (scarves and summer clearance not included). Use code: TB20.
Photographs by Jake Armour, Hair & Makeup by Kate Carroll, Model is Brianna of Ignite Models.
Content curated by Sara Chars.