Home Inspirational Maya Penn on the Significance of Sustainable Trend

Maya Penn on the Significance of Sustainable Trend

Maya Penn on the Significance of Sustainable Trend


“I used to be a extremely nerdy child,” says Maya Penn, the entrepreneur who began her first firm 15 years in the past on the age of 8. “I’ve been obsessive about each environmental science and artwork for so long as I can keep in mind.”

That firm is Maya’s Concepts—a sustainable style model Penn began by upcycling previous clothes and recycled supplies to make tops, hats, scarves and neck heaters. At this time, Penn serves as founder and CEO. Maya’s Concepts makes use of natural, recycled and classic supplies to create clothes and niknaks.

The curiosity in style design got here from Penn’s creative skills, however it was her love for nature that spurred her analysis into the style business’s immense environmental influence. “In 2008, eco-fashion was nowhere close to a mainstream matter, so I wished to create a greater various,” she remembers.

The start of Maya Penn’s entrepreneurship

Maya’s Concepts took off, and Penn was now not promoting to only family and friends. She leveraged the facility of the web to take the enterprise international, promoting her handmade wares on Etsy and later in her on-line retailer, which she designed and constructed herself.

As Maya’s Concepts started to realize extra traction, Penn discovered her life reworking. At age 11, she appeared in a 2011 Forbes article about grade-school entrepreneurs—the primary of many interviews she’d give.

In 2011 she additionally launched a nonprofit, Maya’s Concepts 4 The Planet, by way of which she started donating 10–20% of her Maya’s Concepts earnings to charities and environmental organizations. (At this time, her basis helps “environmental justice, psychological well being in regard to local weather nervousness and variety in STEM and tech in inventive careers,” in keeping with her web site, and provides again by way of The Pad Challenge to women in Haiti, Somalia, Senegal and different international locations.)

By age 13, she’d given three TED Talks; her third, at TEDWomen 2013, went viral. The identical yr, Black Enterprise named her Teenpreneur of the 12 months and he or she made her first TV look on The Steve Harvey Present.

Combining ardour and goal

Regardless of working organizations and racking up quite a few commendations, it wasn’t all work and no play—or not less than, it wasn’t all about Maya’s Concepts. Coding on the facet was considered one of Penn’s ardour initiatives, however not the one one. Additionally a gifted illustrator and animator, she started creating brief animated films by age 12, earlier than—shock—beginning her personal manufacturing firm, Upenndo! Productions.

At 16, Penn was “commissioned to provide and animate the opening of the primary ever digital report offered to Congress,” in keeping with her web site, which advocated for the development of an American museum of girls’s historical past in Washington, D.C. That very same yr, she received the Coretta Scott King A.N.G.E.L. Award. Penn has additionally “acquired a commendation from President Barack Obama for excellent achievement in environmental stewardship,” in keeping with her web site. Moreover, she has revealed her first e book, You Received This!, with Simon & Schuster. The e book conjures up youngsters to faucet into their creativity by instructing them about social entrepreneurship, sustainability and giving again.

Penn says that, not like Maya’s Concepts, which was based on a sustainable mission, a number of manufacturers discover issue creating style in a approach that’s extra environmentally pleasant. It’s because most of those firms are solely lately incorporating sustainable practices into their enterprise.

“These are normally massive companies who’ve historically solely had one factor because the cornerstone of their enterprise: revenue above all the pieces, as a substitute of focusing extra on folks and the planet alongside revenue,” says Penn, who at present consults for companies on sustainability greatest practices and teaches biomimetic design.

Manufacturers which have sustainability at their core, like Maya’s Concepts, could take pleasure in exploring new developments and even conventional manufacturing strategies that may be integrated right into a course of to extend the product’s ecofriendliness.

Maya Penn’s deal with environmental justice

Penn attributes her ardour for environmental sustainability to her mother and father, who raised her in an environmentally acutely aware house in Atlanta and have lengthy been cheerleaders for her passions and large concepts.

As Penn appears to mix her creativity and dedication with social justice to depart a constructive influence, her hope is to see quick style changed with eco-friendly style and environmental schooling change into extra accessible.

“Environmental racism is a systemic subject. Whereas environmental points influence us all indirectly, neighborhoods and communities of coloration are sometimes impacted tougher,” Penn says. “Many Black, brown and Indigenous communities are extra liable to experiencing air air pollution, water air pollution, climate-related deaths and sicknesses, and lack of ability to recuperate and rebuild from excessive climate attributable to lack of sources. I feel it’s actually essential for anybody within the environmental area to grasp the significance of this matter.”

By way of Upenndo! Productions, she plans to construct character-driven initiatives centered round subjects near her mission, together with local weather nervousness and environmental justice. Her animation work might be seen in initiatives for LUNA Bars, Adobe, GoDaddy and extra, and he or she’ll make her directorial debut on the upcoming animated brief Asali: Energy of The Pollinators, govt produced by Viola Davis and Julius Tennon.

What’s subsequent for Penn? Though she (and her designs) lately appeared in the January 2023 subject of Vogue alongside Billie Eilish and different local weather activists, she’s targeted on different plans.

“I’m excited to quickly go to Ghana, as I’m on the board of the unimaginable community-led sustainable style nonprofit THE REVIVAL, which is tackling secondhand clothes air pollution impacting the nation,” she says.

This text initially appeared within the Could/June 2023 subject of SUCCESS journal. Picture courtesy of Maya Penn.

Nahla Davies is a software program developer and tech author. Earlier than devoting her work full time to technical writing, she managed—amongst different intriguing issues—to function a lead programmer at an Inc. 5,000 experiential branding group whose purchasers embrace Samsung, Time Warner, Netflix, and Sony.



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