We have all heard of feminism and we probably know a few feminists ourselves, but founder, Jennifer Shurdat – Babb of Moxie Chic takes feminism and merges it with positive energy to create Moxie-Chic!
I had the opportunity to chat with founder, Jennifer about what inspired this positive feminist movement and her company and to be honest, I left with a new sense of inspiration and a feeling of empowerment! She is the epitome of girl boss and sharing her gifts to empower others. Below is a recap of our interview:
What inspired Moxie Chic?
Moxie Chic was born from a confluence of events. When I was in my 30’s I started a tee shirt company with sassy designs for girls, always in the spirit of projecting a positive self image and attitude. (That company was dormant for many years as I pursued my legal career and had children). When I was closer to 50, I was looking to reinvent myself career-wise — and as a mom (of a boy and a girl and a step-mom of a boy and girl), I had a different perspective than in my 30’s. While there were certainly generic “girl power” shirts on the market, there were also lots of shirts that I found downright offensive, either angry, anti-men or even denigrating to women! I didn’t really see a go-to brand or message that I felt good about buying for me or my girls, so it occurred to me that this would be a terrific opportunity to create a brand and messaging around a positive feminism narrative and mission.As a psychology major in college and believer in the self-fulfilling prophecy (what you believe about yourself will lead to what you make of yourself), I wanted to make clothes that inspired girls to be their best selves, without bringing down the boys (my son, step son, husband and dad — are incredibly supportive men and allies for equity). I also wanted to create a community around my shirts that served to further inspire and educate.The name itself — Moxie Chic — was borrowed from an assignment given to my daughter’s class in school — to do something one summer with MOXIE. I loved the assignment and the word itself. Girls have to bear so many negative terms when they are bold; my hope was to adopt the word MOXIE to girls as a positive expression of female boldness. Again, in the spirit of the self-fulfilling prophecy — I believe that words do matter and being positive will lead to positive deeds and results.
Define feminism in your words.
The advocacy of women’s rights on the basis of the equality of the sexes. My words mimic the dictionary’s, BUT I believe the best way to advocate for those rights is with POSITIVE messaging, both to LIFT UP girls and to encourage them to be their best selves as well as to inspire (rather than alienate) allies to advocate by our side.
What motivated you to offer this youth artist competition?
This competition is hopefully the first of many. It is a way for Moxie Chic to encourage girls to express themselves, use their voices and feel empowered — which is what we are all about! It is a culmination of everything we believe in. . .and are trying to achieve.
The timing of this event was inspired by International Day of the Girl as well as the current heated election. Many young girls understand the civic responsibility of voting, but none are old enough to vote. They feel left out and helpless. This gives them an opportunity to express themselves AND make a difference. The winning design will be converted into a graphic format for a shirt and sold on http://www.moxie-chic.com, with 100% of the proceeds donated to Girls Inc.
What do you expect to see from the competition? How do you expect it to impact upcoming artists?
I am looking forward to seeing how young minds express their vision of feminism.My hope is that the winner will feel celebrated and proud to see her unique design and vision translated into a shirt and offered on the site. My hope is that she will feel both especially proud and empowered in knowing her design is helping other girls, as well as a deep connection to our responsibility, as girls, to lift one another up (#girlshelpinggirls).
What encouraged you to donate proceeds to organizations? Why these organizations?
Our mission is synonymous with helping girls/women (we celebrate them in social media and in our designs and messaging) so it makes complete sense for us to carry out that mission to the fullest extent, which logically includes making charitable contributions to organizations that support girls/women in different ways.We rotate organizations based on a variety of factors: current events, societal needs, best fit for any particular campaign etc.
– We launched the company donating to Dress for Success. As a feminist clothing company, we also believe in the importance of what a woman wears as a reflection of what she thinks of herself and strongly believe in the self-fulfilling prophecy, i.e. clothing should serve to boost self-esteem which will lead to greater success.
– For #IWD2020, we contributed to Girls Inc. because we wanted to turn our attention to the younger set; their mission and motto — inspiring girls to be strong, smart and bold — is closely aligned with ours.
– During the initial months of the pandemic, we launched a campaign that gave to the American Red Cross (an organization started by and currently managed by women).
– During the last few months of worldwide focus on racial injustice, we have been giving to the Women of Color Network.
-For our contest, inspired by International Day of the Girl as well as the current election, we turned to Girls, Inc. again because it made sense to focus on giving younger girls who cannot vote in the election, a voice and ability to make a difference.
– We have an exciting holiday season lined up, choosing different organizations that will tie specifically to the shirt designs themselves. Stay tuned for that!
You mentioned sustainable fashion on your products, tell me more about that please.
We are committed to ecological and social justice in our processes and production: (1) we use toxin-free, water-based inks that are vegan and biodegradable (CPSIA compliant and Oeko-Tex certified); it’s safe for kids and reduces environmental waste (2) we print-on-demand which means that each product is made to order, avoiding overproduction and textile waste, and we use direct-to-garment printing which demands less energy and lower carbon footprints than other printing methods (3) our printing facility options allow for us to use the facility closest to each customer (shipping faster and to shorter distances) and (4) we only use garments supplied by manufacturers committed to social responsibility with respect to, the environment, community engagement, labor empowerment and compliance practices, and product and quality assurance.
Aside from apparel you offer home and living decor, tell me more about that?
Yes, we offer pillow cases, art prints and mugs. . .We also offer lots of accessories ranging from sterling silver jewelry to hats and tote bags. We believe that surrounding yourself in positive messaging and images — even just our signature BOLT — is uplifting. We are hoping that the Moxie Chic community will enjoy those positive associations (on all of our products) so that when they see or wear any “moxie” they feel positive and empowered — what I like to call “moxified”.
What do you feel about the girl power movement?
It’s terrific generally EXCEPT. . .Girl Power is more than just wearing a slogan — it’s about understanding the women’s rights journey, where we’ve been and where we are going. It’s about unpacking and understanding the tough work that continues to happen for women to gain equal treatment in the world. And it’s about celebrating real world, real life accomplishments by amazing trailblazers who pave a path for the rest of us.Most offering “girl power” in stores by way of tee shirt slogans are shortchanging girls. Many feminist apparel/lifestyle companies and big box stores are cashing in on the popular fashion trend right now without much — or any — investment in girls specifically, in their ambition and dignitiy. Many are owned and/or operated by men. Very few give back to female causes at all. Most do not — like Moxie Chic — aim to create community, educate (at least with blogs, social media and tee shirt designs), celebrate and support girls by donating sales etc. Certainly having “girl power” plastered everywhere is a terrific start (!) — but it’s just a start.Then, of course, we have to deal with “how” girl power is being expressed. One big concern is the negative messaging that often goes along with the “girl power” messaging. I am personally turned off by much of what’s offered, which I find crude (Feminist as F—-; Chicks Before Pricks), angry (Feminist Killjoy) and anti-male (The Future is Female). I wouldn’t want my kids wearing that — and I don’t want to wear that myself. More importantly, I don’t want my kids thinking in those terms. I think that kind of messaging runs the risk of doing more damage than good. I like3 of 4 to keep it positive. Again, as a fan of the self-fulfilling prophecy — I really do believe that keeping it positive is the best chance we have for girls to strive for and evolve into their best selves.
What are your ideals?
I would sum that up as “positive feminism”, i.e., striving for equality of the sexes using wit, grace, grit and positive energy; encouraging a feminist narrative around female ambition and dignity.
What is one thing you wish your brand provides for girls?
A sense of pride (whatever your color or shape) and freedom to “voice your moxie.”
It was such a pleasure interviewing such a dynamic woman! For more information on the design competition, visit http://www.moxie-chic.com or Moxie Chic on IG at @voiceyourmoxie.