Pictures courtesy of Lambert.

“This contest is just a little push to assist a girl go to the subsequent stage together with her enterprise.”

In an effort to encourage and assist feminine Canadian entrepreneurs, Mélissa Lambert — founding father of the eponymous Montreal-based vegan leather-based accent label — has created a contest in honour of Worldwide Ladies’s Day.

The She Leads! initiative provides a grant valued at $5,000 to its winner; $2,500 of the funding will go in the direction of the creation of selling supplies, with the second half allotted to 12 months’ price of teaching from Lambert and members of her model’s staff.

Lambert — whose line launched in 2017 with three bag types, and has since expanded to incorporate merchandise throughout gender classes — was partially influenced to create the competition based mostly on her personal expertise showing on Dans L’Oeil du Dragon (the Quebecois model of the business-focused present Dragon’s Den).

“Initially, I didn’t speak about my challenge in any respect,” she recollects about conceiving the concept for a bag model after developing empty-handed throughout her seek for a chic-yet-practical maternity bag whereas pregnant together with her second little one. Due to her background within the telecommunications sector and with no formal design coaching, Lambert mentioned she wasn’t forthcoming about her ambitions as a result of she had a way of imposter syndrome — a notion that’s reported to disproportionately have an effect on girls, folks of color and members of the LGBTQ+ neighborhood.

The constructive suggestions she acquired from the panelists on Dans L’Oeil du Dragon — in addition to the outpouring of retailers and clients who noticed her on the present — spurred Lambert ahead. “It made me suppose, okay, you’re in the appropriate place with this. And it gave me the arrogance to proceed.”

Now, she’s seeking to give a few of that vitality again with the She Leads! contest. “I learn that feminine entrepreneurs [have been] most affected throughout COVID,” Lambert notes, highlighting that the strain on girls as they juggle careers and child-rearing duties has endured important further pressure as faculties and child-care choices have been placed on maintain. It’s a actuality that deeply resonates with Lambert, a mom of babies herself when she launched her label.

“If you happen to’re at the start of your model, you may be discouraged,” she says concerning the many aspects of entrepreneurialism which have undergone additional challenges all through the pandemic. “This contest is just a little push to assist a girl go to the subsequent stage together with her enterprise.”

As for Lambert’s personal firm, its push ahead comes from a number of initiatives within the works together with additional growth into the Canadian market (it presently has over 200 retailers in Quebec and does a sturdy nationwide enterprise on-line), in addition to the forthcoming introduction of baggage with a lining comprised of 100% recycled supplies. She says her staff can be researching vegetable-based materiality for future designs, and Lambert provides that they’re taking a look at upcycling and recycling choices for the model’s personal items as a strategy to make its mandate much more sustainability-focused.

“The target isn’t concerning the cash, it’s about circularity,” Lambert says, including that when she began the model, using vegan supplies wasn’t as frequent as it’s presently. She goes on to say that whereas eco-conscious textiles are definitely on everybody’s minds lately, there’s a momentum behind their use that takes them past mere development. “I don’t just like the phrase development,” she notes. “I consider it as a game-changer.” And the identical might be mentioned about Lambert’s efforts to present again, too.

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