YEDaily: Megan Doepker

Megan Doepker is an idealist and social entrepreneur with a mission to “Fashion the Change.” She’s the Founder of UNA Fashion, a label to contribute towards sustainable development in India while inspiring conscious consumerism…

Elevator Pitch: Describe your job in a nutshell.
As the Founder of UNA Fashion, I’m pretty obsessed with the making of sustainable and ethical fashion synonymous with “fashion.” For me, that mission encompasses everything I do within UNA Fashion, from the designs, to the supply chain, to sparking conversation about our responsibility as global citizens. In a nutshell, my designs are crafted fair trade in India using revolutionary eco-friendly materials and profits are used to help disadvantaged children in India. 

Why did you start working at your company? What was the inspiration for this career route?
When I tell people my education is in finance, I get, “Oh, Fashion,” to which I confirm, “no, finance!” Through travels I started to understand our interconnectedness more and more, and how everything we do has a positive or negative effect somewhere in the world. All too often this is negative on people and the planet, illustrated by the fact extreme poverty still affects the one billion people living on less than $1 a day, and over half our global population living on less than $2 a day. Spending time in Indian schools and orphanages further shaped the mission to help children have the freedom to reach their full potential. There are 31 million orphans in India, and they too are a critical component to sustainable development.

Business with a mission to conquer a social objective is my passion and I chose to use fashion as the platform to contribute to breaking the cycle of poverty while inspiring others to know they can make positive change in the world as proactive consumers. It’s about understanding the real “power” in purchasing power!

What is the best part of what you do on a day-to-day basis? The most challenging part?
The best part is that no two days are the same, and I’m always learning something new. This goes hand-in-hand as the most challenging part, as things are pretty busy around UNA Fashion. The challenges turn into opportunities – it’s pretty awesome once overcome.

Where do you see yourself in five years?
I’m taking every day as it comes and staying flexible as UNA Fashion evolves. The possibilities of blending traditional handicraft techniques with fashion-forward designs are endless, and I would love to work with artisans in Africa next. I measure success in social impact, so in five years the most important thing will have been to see the evolution in the communities and organizations we work with.

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What does success look like to you?
As I mentioned, I view success personally, and for UNA Fashioned around social impact. Success is living a life you’re passionate about, and I’m grateful to have the opportunity to do just that!  

What is the most memorable milestone in your career?
My biggest milestone was taking the leap of faith and going to India on a one-way ticket to start UNA Fashion. I landed in India a little over a year ago and haven’t looked back!

Do you have any advice for other young professionals?
My advice would be that there’s no better time than the present to go for your dreams. Learn along the way and surround yourself with people who inspire and support you. Remember and believe in the fact everyone has the ability to make a difference. 

Do you support any charities? If so, which one(s) and why is that important to you?
UNA Fashion currently sponsors children at an orphanage in India. If you know of notable organizations helping children in India with impressive missions, I’d love to hear from you! 

What to you is notable?
The Dalai Lama’s message to have a truly compassionate attitude towards others is so simple, and so notable.

Blackberry, iPhone, Android, or Other?
iPhone!