When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, forcing thousands of northeastern students to leave campus last year in accordance with health and safety protocols, Mya Brown packed her things for delivery to her home. family in Atlanta.
“I shipped three huge boxes and only one of the three arrived,” says Brown, a recent Northeastern international business graduate. “The boxes with my clothes and shoes are the ones that didn’t make it.”
Her favorite clothes had been lost by the shipping company. With no better option, Brown rummaged in the back of her closet for things she hadn’t worn in years. She started modifying them with scissors and a sewing machine. And so, much sooner than expected, she found herself realizing her long-term dream of creating a clothing line.
Soon her fashion startup, BLACK JET, was born.
“I’m a big believer that everything happens for a reason,” Brown says. “I don’t know if I would have been so motivated to push myself to launch my brand if I had had a closet full of clothes. I was already locked up during COVID. It was the perfect time to launch my brand.
In support of his start-up efforts, Brown received an initial amount of $ 2,500 Innovator Award north-east Women who empower themselves inclusion and entrepreneurship initiative. The awards recognize 19 female graduates or current students at Northeastern. The organization is distributing a total of $ 100,000 in grants to help fund 17 businesses.
Brown recently moved to New York City to begin full-time employment at Saks Fifth Avenue as an executive intern in the retailer’s ready-to-wear department. She continues to operate JET NOIRE early in the morning, after work at night and on weekends.
The Innovator Award helped Brown fund a Brooklyn production of the new JET NOIRE clothing line. The manufacturing component will allow the business to grow, says Brown, who made everything by hand with recycled materials.
“I basically buy fabric that has been thrown away, and it’s part of our history,” says Brown of JET NOIRE’s sustainability mission. “Everything is super limited. When the fabric is gone, this part will no longer be available.
“A lot of what I do is personal. Each piece is handmade and you invest in our history. Once you become a BLACK JET girl, you become part of our family, part of our community.
JET NOIRE pursues a fusion between fashion and identity. “Mya is known for empowering women to authentically express their identities through fashion,” reads her website. “Like any other form of art, fashion can be shaped to reflect emotions.”
Brown has been a sole proprietor in every sense of the word. “I take care of everything from outreach, customer service, logistics, fulfillment, social media, design, user experience, marketing, philanthropy, etc.” J I started the brand with a white sheet stuck to the wall in my bedroom, my little sister as chief photographer and $ 200 for the license. There was no marketing budget, no material budget, no budget at all .
Brown’s success with BLACK JET came as no surprise Heather Hauck, Senior Co-operative Coordinator and Director of Student Engagement, Affinity and Inclusion at the D’Amore-McKim Business School.
“Mya is a force,” says Hauck, who mentored Brown at Northeastern. “Not only is she immensely talented, innovative and entrepreneurial, she is incredibly kind, compassionate and committed to social justice and improving the lives of others. During her time in Northeastern, she made an impact on our community that will be felt for many years to come. “
JET NOIRE is approaching 300 customer orders, and has attracted more than 2000 Instagram followers.
Brown was 19 when his mother, Tiesha, died after a 12-year fight against non-Hodgkin lymphoma, cancer that starts in white blood cells. In the darkness of her loss, she says she has coped by helping her family in all kinds of ways, from cooking to carpooling, like her mother would have.
“I was able to be strong for myself, and now it’s not too much of a challenge,” says Brown. “I wish she was there to see it.” She would be by my side. She would be so proud. She has always been my biggest supporter. “
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