"Don't follow the path, blaze the trail."
Posted on October 15 2021
My name is Erin and I am the founder of this small women's active apparel brand called MEAS (pronounced ME), which means GOLD in the Cambodian language.
Born & raised in Cincinnati, OH. I was an active gal that absolutely loved running. What I didn't know growing up was that depression and anxiety was something I was experiencing and it was something that would take over into my teens and my earl y 20's. After high school I watched all of my friends take the traditional path of college as I was lost not knowing my next steps. I spiraled into depression and an eating disorder. This time also led me to run my first marathon in 2002 at the young age of 19. I can now reflect back and say the motive to run the marathon was for all the wrong reasons, however running saved my life. It provided me with a sense of self worth, a goal I could achieve and proved that if I set my mind to something I could do it.
From there I went to Chicago for a few years and attempted a school for fashion design. While there, I was distracted by a job in makeup artistry and followed that path until heading back to Cincinnati for a more affordable setting.
Once back in Cincinnati, I continued to work as a makeup artist, bartender (I could sling beers like no other) and I made my 2nd attempt at school (UC!). Come to find out, that wasn't the right time to go back to school and I managed to drop out once more.
Apparently, 3rd time is the charm! Just before I turned 25, I decided I needed to commit to my education and to clawed my way into DAAP (a Fashion Design program at The University of Cincinnati).
Fast forward to 3 months before graduation and I received a job offer from American Eagle Outfitters in NYC. Of course I took it! I packed 3 suitcases and flew out to the big city where I would finally settle into a 3 bedroom 700 sq. ft. apartment where my good fiend and I rented out the 3rd room to make ends meet.
NYC Fashion Industry
I absolutely loved my time in NYC. I instantly fell in love with the city and everything it had to offer, along with the opportunity to work for large brands like Express, American Eagle & Juicy Couture and grow professional in an industry that could easily chew you up and spit you out. However, my job always left me feeling a bit empty. I was working 15 hour days (and sometimes weekends), designing "throw away fashion", to ultimately present to an executive board of men, all the while neglecting my own health & wellness. Insert *MEAS*
In 2017, I had the opportunity to go on a trip to Cambodia and Thailand with a non-profit organization rescued women and girls from sex-trafficking. We visited 3 cities in Thailand & 3 cities in Cambodia and we interacted with the women and girls who had been trafficked. While there, I learned of an ancient Khmer proverb:
“A man is gold; a woman is a white piece of cloth.” Gold can get dirty or be dropped in the mud, but it can be polished and become as shiny as new; if white cloth is dropped in the mud, it will be forever stained, soiled, and ruined.
I sat with these women/girls who had been through hell and back and played board games with them. They giggled, bantered and had more hope in them than anyone I had ever seen.
As I reflected on this on my 25 hour flight(s) back to the US, I thought that proverb couldn't be more wrong. They were shined off like new. I also reflected on the many challenges that had with my own mental health issues and thought to myself, I went through some really dark times and I was shined off as well. This was the moment I vowed to do more than just design fast fashion for a corporate company. I began focusing on myself, running more, racing in Central park and started to plan how I could merge my 3 passions; female empowerment, running and health & wellness and fashion...
This is how I came up with MEAS Active:
Fashionable & performance-led activewear empowering women through their health & wellness journey!
The Timeline of MEAS
2017-Made the commitment to do more after a trip to Cambodia and Thailand to help women and girls who had been sex trafficked.
2018-Sketching a collection, product development, sampling designs, wear testing the product.
Early 2019-Raised $30k with. KICKSTARTER campaign and went into production.
Fall 2019- Showed product for the first time at the Cincinnati Queen Bee expo!
2020-"The year of covid"! Lost full time job in the fashion design industry, moved out of NYC and back to Cincinnati, OH & put all efforts into MEAS!
2021 to Present-I am having a BLAST surrounding myself with Cincinnati's powerhouse health & wellness experts, along with the woman who love to support one another
Going forward?! I am so excited about the incredible things to come! I look forward to building this community of women who love to run and live an active lifestyle while supporting one another!
Most importantly, THANK YOU for joining me on this journey to empower women through an active lifestyle. Continue to follow along and stay tuned to the many exciting events, new products, collabs, partnerships & MORE!!!
"Behind every successful woman is a squad of other successful women who has her back!"XOXO,
A woman on a mission to blaze her own trail!
After raising $30k in our 2019 KICKSTARTER campaign, I went into production with my first collection.