For July, we chatted with WAY the Label. WAY the Label is a powerhouse trio with Abby Zamis as their graphic designer and content creator, and Heidi Woelfle and Regena Yu as their apparel designers.
Back in February I began my search for a custom blush pantsuit -- the perfect outfit to represent the MEND brand. Within a few weeks I found WAY the Label (WTL) via Instagram and slid into their DMs praying they wouldn’t think I was a lunatic for requesting a custom tailored pink pantsuit. A week later, I met two of the three ladies for coffee where they presented the perfect fabric swatches and two different sketches & suit options. I have the utmost respect & value for those who can not only show up, but bring along their vision (with immense detail) to the first meeting.
With a couple rounds of tailoring, I had my dream pantsuit in May, just in time for an important event. The suit gives me confidence and I get to share the work of the talented designers. Not to mention it looks great with just about every MEND necklace.
WTL is not just a apparel company, they are a dynamic & professional group of women who understand their customers.
We chatted with WTL on the brand’s vision and collaboration as a team.
Stones they wear:
Abby: Green Onyx for confidence
Heidi: Yellow Chalcedony for clear thinking
Regena: Blue Moonstone for emotional balance
Tell me a little bit about yourselves.
H: We all went to the University of Minnesota for design. Abby went for graphic design; Regena and I went for apparel design and we all graduated in 2016.
M: You are only a year younger than me! That is incredible. You guys are incredible! You’re in your early 20s and you’ve launched a successful brand. That’s so awesome.
Tell us about your brand WAY the Label.
R: Heidi and I were brainstorming for the longest time and were just listing off different words. Eventually, one of us just thought of ‘WAY’ and figured out that stands for our last names. It just worked out and we liked the idea of making it WAY the Label and it just caught on. It was something we fell in love with.
How did you all meet?
R: Heidi and I were in the same apparel design program and it was pretty small, so we had a lot of classes together. Abby and I met freshmen year during orientation.
A: We had a drawing class together and FAB (Fashion and Business) was having a freshman mingle thing, so we went to that. Regena was one of my first friends at college.
H: When Regena and I were getting started, we knew we needed someone with graphic design and content creation experience. We can design clothing, but a brand is a lot more than that. Regena showed me Abby’s stuff and I was instantly like, “Yes, lets bring her on.”
Has your initial vision of the brand stayed the same?
H: Yeah, I think we’ve stayed pretty true to what our intention was which was to create small batch clothing with timeless design and minimal silhouettes that incorporate little bits of trend influence.
I know WTL is currently part-time for you all. Where do you see WAY in five years?
H: In five years I would like to hand off our manufacturing to a local company. I’d like to see WAY as my full-time job.
R: Being able to come back to all of the same things we’ve said and still believe in it.
M: I think it’s really good to have a full-time job while you have something on the side. It is probably one of the hardest things to commit to a full-time job, but then have your passion on the side. Eventually one day I really do believe you guys will be able to venture off on your own.
What made you interested in working with MEND?
H: The MEND Instagram feed was really beautiful. It seemed like the jewelry version of our feed; the same types of colors, inspiration, and even same types of women in the photos. We were really drawn to the idea of MEND , and really respected that you reached out to us to design something that felt like a good fit for us. We really appreciated that MEND saw our brand for what it was, not for just anyone that can make clothes.
Photography by Meghan BaulmerHow do you implement the values of MEND in your life (intention, inspiration, healing)?
A: Empowerment and intention is just such an important thing to being a woman nowadays. You have to be strong, but also be compassionate, and to remind yourself of those things daily that you find to be really important. Whether I’m interacting with friends or coworkers, I really try to remember to have the whole picture, but also stand my ground when I believe in something.
M: The reason why I called it MEND is because we are all going through something at some point that’s good or bad. I always to be reminded of where we’re at. We’re always trying to move forward and where you’re at may be challenging so you have to keep doing things for yourself to keep moving forward.
What’s your daily mantra?
A: “You can either be a hater or creator.”
R: “Ask yourself: will this matter a year from now?”
H: “Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time, for that’s the stuff life is made of.”
What do you find challenging and rewarding about working in the fashion industry?
H: The most challenging thing is having someone look at your price tag and then put it back. The absolute most rewarding thing is seeing someone try something on and just seeing them light up and seeing how you changed their entire mood with something you created.
A: From a design standpoint, a lot of design personality is shy, behind the scenes and enjoying alone time working on your craft. My advice would be to learn how to network, because the challenge is you have to know people to get somewhere. Learn how to be your own advocate but also be a little more outgoing sometimes.
R: I think a big challenge is that a lot of people don’t really understand the idea of sustainability, so they don’t understand the price tag that we put on our items, as well as how much work goes into it.
Photography by Meghan Baulmer
Each month, we will share insights of the women who embody, wear & inspire us. The goal is to feel connected to those around us, through their stories and connection to MEND.