Marissa Heyl, Etico
I founded Etico last year to create an immersive shopping experience that connects women creators with customers, transporting them to India, Kenya, the Middle East—and Dallas andMcKinney—where each item is handcrafted by amazing artists. I envisioned a beautiful space that celebrated unique artistry, served as a community space for women creatives and offered shared learning on how to live more consciously.I started my own ethical fashion label Symbology in 2012 to make fair trade sexy. I partner with women artisans in India to merge their handcrafted fabric techniques with trend-forward styles.When designing my collections, I incorporate my background in anthropology to celebrate the symbolism imbued into each motif as a means to connect people around the world.My journey to open a brick and mortar store developed from a need for a shop that offers stylish head-to-toe outfits and gifts created by women, for women that put people and planet at the forefront. I called up some of the amazing partner vendors I met at popups in DFW to join me in launching Etico. We all had a shared dream of having our own beautiful store, but it’s risky and expensive to go at it alone. So we all partnered up, took the plunge and are in this together. Advocating for women is a core passion for me. My background is in human rights advocacy with a special focus on women and refugees. I was inspired to start Symbology in 2006 during my research study in India on how fair trade business models empower craftswomen. I visited with fair trade co-operatives in villages and slums where artisans created beautiful textiles by hand. I interviewed them about the impact of working with these organizations and was blown away by how hugely transformative their employment and training was to empowering not just their own lives, but their families and entire communities. My ‘aha’ moment came while watching Gita, a young mother of four, block printing a table cloth. I envisioned it as a beautiful dress, and realized that I could merge my passion for women’s rights with fashion design.I have worked with artisan communities in India, the West Bank, Mexico and the Philippines.My TEDX talk, Weaver to Wardrobe, illuminates the importance of artisanship in fashion and can be viewed at http://bit.ly/2qiQrRY .
About the Brand
Etico is DFW’s first women-owned sustainable collective featuring brands that put people and planet at the forefront, offering beautifully handcrafted clothing, jewelry, shoes, bags and gifts made locally and globally. The majority of the 15 brands represented at the store are owned by BIPOC women. Etico’s business model centers on the shared success of women-owned brands focused on sustainability, serving as a platform to grow small businesses at a lower financial risk without having to seek outside funding. Etico is located at 1455 West Magnolia Avenue in Fort Worth in the Near Southside community that recently received the prestigious designation as a Cultural District. The space merges elements of art museum with specialty boutique, interjecting elements of Instagram—anchored iPads showcase the creative process behind each item, a selfie mural painted by a local artist and inspirational quotes on the wall--to create an interactive shopping experience.