The very day Mallory Ottariano graduated from the University of Massachusetts Amherst with a degree in architecture and design, she bought a $100 sewing machine on eBay and started running an Etsy shop in the corner of her parents’ basement.
Seven years later, Ottariano’s design skills have fashioned Kind Apparel, a Missoula, Montana-based high-tech women’s adventure clothing line. Her colorful Lycra and fleece garments – made in the U.S. mostly out of recycled plastic bottles – have created thousands of loyal customers among indoors and outdoors women alike.
Ottariano says it was a move to Montana – and the women of Montana – that really gave her the confidence to take her “hobby” to the next level. “The women out here really influenced what I’m doing today,” she says.
On this week’s Can Do: Lessons from Savvy Montana Entrepreneurs, Ottariano and Arnie Sherman discuss her delight in disrupting the women’s outdoor clothing industry, how nature inspires her custom-printed designs, her commitment to making clothing ethically, and the ways entrepreneurship has changed her life.