From teenage runaway to homeless single mother to girlboss extraordinaire, meet million-dollar entrepreneur Mimi G :
From teenage runaway to homeless single mother to girlboss extraordinaire, meet million-dollar entrepreneur Mimi G .
Growing up in Chicago, Goodwin spent summers in Puerto Rico with her father, cutting up and re-sewing anything she could get her hands on, but ran away from home just a few years later at the age of fifteen.“Having been homeless in LA several times, it wasn't easy to continue a hobby,” she admits, “so I sewed on and off over the years,” surviving domestic violence, sexual abuse, and many additional challenges she eventually faced as a homeless teenage mother.
In her early twenties she enrolled in fashion design school but quickly realized that she’d already taught herself what she was paying a steep tuition to be taught, so decided to continue self-teaching.“I was a single mom, struggling to make ends meet and trying my best to stay above water, when I started my blog.”
At first, ‘Mimi G’ shared her personal sewing projects and patterns online, somewhat accidentally teaching people to make clothes they wanted to wear but couldn’t afford to buy.“I didn't realize it at the time, but I had started something no one else was doing. There were many quilting blogs and craft sewing blogs, but there wasn't anyone teaching fashion sewing on YouTube.”
In 2012, she filmed a step-by-step video on how to make a skirt and the rest, as they say, was history. “People went crazy for it,” she says. “I had no intention of sewing for hire but, with the success of that video tutorial, I could turn my blog into a digital business.”
In the first two years of Mimi G Style, Goodwin gained over a million page views, doubled her income, and decided to quit her day job.After signing her first licensing deal for a pattern line with Simplicity, ‘Mimi G’ began creating a community of DIY sewists that loved getting crafty as much as she did.
“I think I quickly noticed something was missing in the DIY world that I could fill. I happened to start at a time when no one was selling digital downloads—especially sewing tutorials. It was a pain in the butt in 2012; I had to email everyone a link to the download manually.”
She also knew that she could monetize the blog quickly by selling her own products, rather than promoting or selling someone else’s goods.“Eight years later, my business has exploded and has allowed me to help others monetize their hobbies.”Helped in part by a passion project that took her lessons to new heights.
"I had been teaching online via YouTube and the occasional paid tutorial, still, I found that what people needed was a platform where they could learn sewing and design without having had any previous experience or needing to leave their homes.”In 2016, Sew It Academy launched with one course, offering a new class each month to build on the skills learned in the previous lesson.
Now, four years later, the Academy offers over seventy courses, covering menswear, womenswear, childrenswear, pattern making, draping, fitting, and sketching.“I always had trouble learning, reading a paragraph several times until I got it, but if I could see someone doing something with their hands, I would retain it—so, that is how I designed Sew It Academy.”
“I wanted to make learning fun and easy and without a lot of confusing terminologies that would turn people off,” which she has done successfully, currently serving over 12,000 students.Mimi G Style Inc now generates seven figures from a series of branded products and sponsored content, while Sew It Academy makes over a million dollars a year selling affordable sewing school subscriptions.
“Over the last five years, there has been a steady increase in sales and subscriptions. I think people have become frustrated with retail shopping and the standard ‘sample size’ which can leave you feeling bad about yourself when you can't find things that fit.”
At its recent resurgence, Goodwin—who is Latinx and married to an African American man—was quick to notice a lack of major brand support around Black Lives Matter, so decided to speak up.Though the pair had suffered a miscarriage just a few days prior, and Goodwin was under contract with some of the brands at the time, she felt their silence was deafening,
so took to Instagram to call out Joann's, Hobby Lobby, Michael's and Simplicity Patterns for their lack of solidarity.“I felt that if they couldn't publicly support the black and brown community that spent their hard earned money on their products, then maybe it was time for me to rethink those relationships,” she says.
Luckily, the brands were listening. She was immediately contacted by the CEO of Simplicity, calling her in for a meeting, and promising change.“I was and still am under contract with many of the companies I mentioned online. If they had chosen not to continue those relationships or end my contracts with them because I exercised my right to speak about the injustices that I was witnessing, then so be it.
“One of the luxuries of having multiple revenue streams is that I can choose to walk away from those who no longer serve my community, or me and not think twice about it.“I think many times people just need to be educated. If I had chosen to be angry and walk away, I would have missed an opportunity to educate them on how to be inclusive, how to improve the way they do business, and how to acknowledge and serve
ALLtheir consumers.”Some things can be done quickly, she says, like being inclusive on social media, asking for suggestions and acknowledging insensitivities, but long-lasting change will take time.Goodwin feels companies need to reevaluate their hiring practices, executive teams, internal opportunities, marketing campaigns, and mission statements to speak to equality, reiterating the idea that the people at the top shouldn’t only serve the communities they come from, but the communities that support them.
Mimi G: “I think many times people just need to be educated.”Mimi GContinually looking to expand her own empire, Goodwin is now working towards getting Sew It Academy accredited as an alternative to traditional fashion design schools.“I want to make it accessible to students who are looking to go into a career in fashion design but can't afford the tuition,” she says, “and I’m working on creating a scholarship fund and business funding initiative to help those looking to become self-employed in the sewing and design field.”
But she’s not stopping there; as the living embodiment of all things entrepreneurial, Goodwin is also writing two books, working on new branded products (due at the end of the year), and starting a new pattern company that will adequately represent the sewing community.
“I have the loudest voice in my community, so my job is to stand up and speak out.” Read more: Forbes »
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Wonderful. God Bless America. It’s time to shelf “girl boss”. She’s a BOSS. Full stop. EndSARS EndSARS EndSWAT EndPoliceBrutality ReformTheNigeriaPolice Unbelievable 🔥 wow
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