As this year’s Target Incubator (TI) cohort is off and running with their program experience, the Target team is spending time getting to know the cohort founders and what drives them as they build their businesses. The founders of Modest & Active shared details with the team about the inspiration and impact they hope to have on the world through their modest activewear and athleisure wear.
TI: When meeting someone new, how do you explain what Modest & Active does?
Muna: By combining functionality and modest design, our company provides a collective of modest activewear and athleisure wear for women and girls of all ages. We work to make activewear more accessible and affordable to women and girls who prefer a modest fit. Along with our activewear, we are committed to supporting female Muslim athletes in our community. Through our Modest & Active sisterhood playbook, we provide a platform to accelerate the pace of progress for all Muslim girls to take part in sports, physical activity, and educational opportunities. We are an activewear brand that is built by a community of women and girls and have an on-going commitment to fostering sisterhood.
TI: What inspired you to start Modest & Active?
Medina: Our community common identity and shared values were to have opportunity to be physically active while being culturally and religiously appropriate. This meant having modest apparel wear. Our community of Muslim women and girls voiced their need for culturally sensitive activewear and physical activity programs. Over the course of 5 years, through a collaboration between an interdisciplinary and multi-stakeholder perspective (researchers from multiple disciplines, girls, women, and community members), we conducted several research projects focusing on the creation of culturally-sensitive activewear, sportswear, and physical activity and nutritional programming. Our women and girls were at the center of the project – we actively listened, and actively worked together. We were inspired to start our company. We believe that listening to women and girl’s voices was imperative for understanding their experiences with, and perceptions of, the identity markers and physical activity space, as well as the impact such experiences have on creating our business.
TI: What impact do you hope Modest & Active has on the world?
Muna: In our local Minneapolis community, we saw an impact of the research projects and the activewear had on the participation and perceptions of the girls and women in relation to physical activity and sports. We want to expand the accessibility of modest activewear across communities so more Muslim women and girls can be who they are and engage in a healthy active lifestyle. We aspire to give women and girls a voice, be heard and collectively create change in our community. We hope to take part in the promotion and advancement of girls’ and women’s sport and physical activity opportunities.
TI: What makes you most excited about working with Target Incubator?
Medina: We are most excited to be part of a program that encourages innovation and is inclusive of a diverse entrepreneurs and businesses. Likewise, we believe that the Target incubator is an ecosystem of support. Through the program, we have access to mentors, peer-to peer support and opportunity to learn from experts. We are excited to be part of a community of like-minded people who are all driven by creating a positive change through their business.
TI: As a founder, how are you functioning today that is different than how you were functioning 6 months ago? What keeps you motivated?
Muna: Currently, we are unable to connect with our customers face-to-face, thus, we are creating new ways to interact with our customer. We are staying optimistic and utilizing this time to reevaluate our business plan. These past few months, has challenged us to re-think how our business functions and to consider other creative ways to grow our business. We were focused on the brick & mortar model and currently, are planning to grow our business and transition into e-commerce. Likewise, our passion and commitment to working with our community keeps us motivated during these times. We are taking this time to reinvent and strategically identify new growth pathways.
TI: What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs who are navigating the impact of COVID-19 to their business?
Medina: We recommend you stay connected with your customers. Figure out creative ways to stay actively engaged with your customers. We recommend asking other entrepreneurs to consider reviewing your business plan, short /long term goals, and create contingency plans. Also, we advise folks to reach out to others, collaborate and collectively support one another in times like this. Finally, keep an open mind and stay positive.