Gaining The Courage to Step Out In Your Calling
MEET ARROWROOT CLOTHING FOUNDER
EA LEPINE | OWNER + FOUNDER
Arrowroot is an ethical dress company. Our purpose is twofold: We create “Every Day Dresses” - dresses designed so that women can, what we like to call, “throw it on and go.” I love fashion but found myself getting really tired of spending so much time and energy on my outfits every day. I started making dresses for myself and loved the effortless quality they brought to my life, while still allowing me to channel cool, stylish vibes in my outfits. So, that’s the type of dress we strive to make.
Second, we employ a group of women in Honduras to produce our dresses. We pay above a fair wage for sewing work, which is unfortunately pretty rare in the fashion industry. The employment we provide helps create generational change: when women are paid a living wage it allows them to provide for their children and breaks the cycle of poverty. We also hope to spread the word that not all clothes are made fairly and inspire our customers to be more mindful of where they shop.
What was the catalyst for stepping out to start your own clothing line and deciding to be your own boss?
The organization we partner with in Honduras is called Mi Esperanza. I interned with them in college. I had been passionate about fashion for a long time, but it was my time with them that made me passionate about the good that fashion can really do in the world when it’s produced ethically. So, that was what inspired me.
Was there any time when you wanted to just throw in the towel and give up? If so, tell us about it and how you got through it.
Oh, definitely. It was just recently. I had a baby in March and I don’t think I was fully prepared for what the challenges of working with a baby would look like. I felt so tired and overwhelmed and like I just couldn’t do it all anymore. I didn’t want to give up, I guess I just craved being able to focus on one thing. I had to come to terms with the fact that as hard as it is sometimes, I truly want both things - my job running Arrowroot and my job as a Mama. I realized that when I feel the tension of trying to balance both, it should be a reminder of how blessed I am that I get to do two jobs I love rather than making me feel discouraged.
You recently became a momma. How has this changed and enriched the day to day of running your own business?
I guess I touched on this. My days are busier and definitely less productive in the sense of running a business. But they are so sweet. The main way it’s changed is that I have less time to work! I guess I’m just learning to be more efficient and always trying to learn balance. It’s been a process, and I don’t think I'll ever “get it” but I have experienced days where I felt like I managed to be a good wife, a good mom and a good business owner and that’s really encouraging.
If you could give one word of advice to women thinking about stepping out into their own venture, what would it be?
Don’t be afraid of mistakes! You’re going to make them and if you learn from them well, they could become your greatest successes :)
What book is on your nightstand right now?
Missional Motherhood. It’s about being a mom, but actually comes from the perspective that all women are maternal at their core, even if they don’t ever have biological children. It’s about honing that part of ourselves and learning to nurture those around us (little ones or not) the very best we can.