What inspired you to create your brand?
I worked as a designer in the fashion industry for over a decade, the same decade that saw the rise of fast fashion. I watched the industry transform from the inside, valuing quantity over quality and moments over materials. I knew there was a better way to work and so I left and spent 2 years developing a brand that aligned with my values – a fashion brand aimed at protecting the planet and the people on it.
Did you always know you wanted to be a designer? Why or Why not?
I’ve definitely felt a strong pull toward fashion since I was little. My mom still has sketchbooks from when I was 8!
"Everything we do is made with the environment and the planet in mind."
What is the meaning of your brand name?
Everything we do is made with the environment and the planet in mind; hence, the name Hyer (a riff on higher) Goods.
What makes your brand stand out from other brands?
A huge difference between Hyer Goods and a lot of other sustainable brands is that we currently only work with waste. We believe there’s enough waste out there to completely eliminate the massive energy footprint needed to process new materials, and instead focus on diverting existing materials from landfills and keeping them in circulation by making them into beautiful things.
Where do you find inspiration for your brand?
You know what they say, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure! Designing into waste is a completely different way of working and it’s so inspiring to try to make use of the different materials we rescue. I’m also inspired by versatility and functionality. I love making sure every piece we design works hard for you and will last in your wardrobe.
What were some hurdles you had to overcome in your business?
I knew going into this that I didn’t want to accept funding because it often forces brands to grow at a speed and a scale that is inherently not sustainable. I had to find a way to start really small and grow organically and slowly since everything is self-funded. It’s a challenge I still face every day.
"What excites me most right now is material science and innovation, and how we can transform something basic into something better with novel sourcing."
Do you feel working in the fashion industry is different today than from when you started out? Why or why not?
The fashion industry is a different beast than it was when I started working in it. Access to information made style globally more homogenous and fashion in turn, became a less creative space. What excites me most right now is material science and innovation, and how we can transform something basic into something better with novel sourcing.
How did COVID-19 effect your business?
I launched Hyer Goods in November 2019, just 3 or so months before COVID took the U.S. by storm. New York, where I live, was hit so hard and the hospitals in my neighborhood were out of masks. I couldn’t even think about fashion, bags or honestly even the planet. I put the business on hold, whipped out my sewing machine and started sewing masks for medical workers with scraps I had around my apartment. Word spread and I was suddenly fielding orders for masks from people all over the country. I quickly pivoted to a buy-one-give-one mask program that helped support both the community and first responders. As a very purpose-driven designer, it was great to be able to channel my energy and efforts into something that helped the community during this crazy, paralyzing moment. We continue to use deadstock for our masks to this day, supporting our mission to reduce waste.
What do you envision for the future of your brand?
The mission at Hyer Goods is simple: minimize waste. Right now, we’re focused on accessories but there’s so much more waste out there – the sky's the limit!
What advice would you give to someone that is starting their own brand?