Hey there! I’m Mallory Ann, founder of Interwoven Collective.
Born and raised in San Antonio, I have a passion for hand made tortillas and Merit coffee. These days, I’m figuring out life a few miles north in Austin, Texas with my husband, Michael, and our eight pound pup, Ollie Reed.
I’ve always adored the creative process as long as I can remember. At a parent-teacher conference in kindergarten, the teacher told my mother “Mallory would be good at school if she just stopped coloring.”
While I certainly have not stopped making life colorful, I did eventually see the merit of education and graduated with a degree in Entrepreneurship from Texas A&M University.
I also graduated college with a minor in Psychology, a certificate in Non-Profit & Social Innovation, and left one class shy of completing my Economics minor in favor of more time to pursue Interwoven. Bob Goff says to quit something every Thursday. I miss most weeks but dropping my third minor was a start to letting go of the good to make room for the great.
Along the way in college I pursued a few side hustles, which included a jewelry business out of my freshman dorm room with more demand than I could keep up with. I ended this first business as it pulled me away from my weekly routine of intentional coffee dates with friends.
Within a year I was exposed to the term social entrepreneur and my heart did a somersault. Hearing my two favorite words as a career path led me down the internet rabbit hole of research. I learned that business did not have to keep me from people, but rather, the right kind of business could hurtle me towards a life of intentionality, love and sustainable impact.
Thanks to a little coffee shop networking I landed my first Ethiopian business partner for Interwoven. Incidentally this same connection also led to a date with my future husband.
On our first date, Michael told me about the Ethiopian women who made the pieces I sold and memories he had made with them while he lived in Ethiopia. I was generally hesitant in dating, but on that first date, I was pretty sure we were going to get married.
Midway through our senior year I sent Michael a text asking if he would like to go to Ethiopia over Christmas break. He told me he had some questions, but enthusiasm was what counted, so he was in. I was elated! This was my first opportunity to meet women who had endured inexplicable hardships and every day turned difficulty into beautiful products and opportunity for their families.
In Ethiopia I found myself climbing marble stairs that led to a light-washed room full of women gathered around a table. They were beautiful. Some women had children nestled beside them, some were outspoken and talkative, some shy at a newcomer’s entrance. These women varied as much as me and you, but this gathering was not unlike any other room of women learning to walk in their inherent worth and loveliness.
I want to make room for other women at that table.
I’ve been told that I can be annoyingly empathetic, but I’m also exceptionally stubborn. Really, it’s my gift.
I stubbornly believe there is a better way for the fashion industry to value women. I’m dead-set on inviting women to impact and cheering one another on, believing that there can be room for us all. Let's build a brand that supports female dignity rather than stealing it away.
Pull up a seat, there’s room at the table.
-Mallory Ann Smith, Founder and Chief Coloring Officer