An Interview with Narvan Founder & Creative Director
There are so many areas of business to consider for small business owners. So much of what Founders do in the first years of business is foundation building and working hard to get the word out about their business, brand, and products. Public relations is an area that is important but can be challenging.
One of the ways I believe we can learn about business and PR is by hearing the experiences of others. Today, Marjar Kragar, Founder and Creative Director of Narvan, a slow fashion brand out of Vancouver, Canada is sharing some of her journey as a Founder, fashion designer, and champion for great sustainability in the fashion industry.
Tell us about your business.
MK: Narvan is a Canadian slow fashion label founded in 2021, guided by art, inspired by femininity, and rooted in respect for the earth. Mixing timelessness with originality, fluidity with structure, and elegance with whimsy, Narvan celebrates the art of being a woman.
We create heirloom womenswear to cultivate a timeless and expressive wardrobe, one to be adored now and ultimately cherished in the future. Our deep respect for people and the planet is foundational to every aspect of our workings and informs each thoughtful, small-batch collection.
What is the main WHY for you? Why did you start your business?
MK: My journey into the world of fashion design has been shaped by a deep-rooted passion and a rich family tradition. In 2021, I took the leap and founded Narvan with a clear vision in mind. I aimed to create timeless, one-of-a-kind pieces that would become a part of each person’s unique story.
Narvan represents the culmination of my lifelong passion for fashion and my commitment to pushing the boundaries of design. I draw inspiration from diverse sources, infusing cultural influences and innovative ideas into every collection. My hope is that Narvan’s creations inspire others to embrace their own creative instincts and celebrate the artistry of fashion.
You mention the importance of sustainability…why is that so important to you?
MK: As widely acknowledged, the fashion industry has been responsible for significant harm to the environment, the exploitation of workers, and the suffering of animals. At Narvan, our mission is to mitigate the fashion industry’s detrimental impact by curbing pollution through decreased production and consumption, all while crafting enduring, artistic pieces that stand the test of time. Our aim is to safeguard our planet for future generations while creating wearable art that becomes a part of generational narratives and enhances the beauty of our everyday surroundings.
What are some of the biggest challenges when it comes to your business?
MK: First and foremost, cost is a constant concern. In the fashion industry, you often need to invest upfront in materials and production for your final products. Additionally, marketing in the fashion industry can be exceptionally expensive, and finding cost-effective ways to promote our brand is an ongoing challenge.
Another hurdle we face, particularly during the startup stage, is the quest for the right staff and employees. As a small business, finding individuals who share our passion for sustainability and align with our brand’s values can be challenging but essential for our growth and success.
Lastly, like many online businesses, we’ve experienced the impact of the COVID and post-COVID landscape. The shift in consumer behavior and the competitive online market present ongoing challenges. Adapting to these changes and finding innovative ways to connect with our customers in this evolving digital landscape is crucial for the continued growth of Narvan.
When it comes to PR and media, what is your main goal?
MK: Our main goal with PR and media is to spread the word about our brand and mission. We aim to tell our story, not just as a fashion label, but as a platform that connects with people who share our values of caring for the planet, appreciating art, and fostering a sense of hope. Our ultimate aspiration is to create a vibrant and engaged community of individuals who resonate with Narvan’s vision.
In addition to sharing our commitment to sustainability and art, we aspire to go a step further. We hope to use our platform to sponsor and support artists, providing them with opportunities to showcase their talent and creativity through Narvan. By doing so, we aim to foster a sense of collaboration and empowerment, where our community can come together to make a positive impact on both the fashion industry and the artistic world.
What is the biggest challenge for you when it comes to PR and the media?
MK: In the realm of PR and media for Narvan, our Canadian slow fashion label, our foremost challenge lies in harmonizing artistic expression with commercial success. Narvan’s designs are art-inspired and intricate, which requires us to navigate the dynamic fashion market while staying true to our creative vision.
Our commitment to responsible production and sustainability is central to our identity. However, in a media landscape crowded with greenwashing, conveying the authenticity of our sustainability efforts is an ongoing challenge.
Building brand awareness is another hurdle, given our relatively young age in the industry. We strive to establish a unique identity that resonates with those who appreciate timeless elegance and responsible fashion.
Securing strategic media coverage and managing crises authentically are continuous endeavors. We prioritize building strong relationships with media partners who align with our values and remain steadfast in upholding our principles during challenging times.
Our PR strategy revolves around transparent messaging, authentic partnerships, and an unwavering commitment to our core values. While the journey may be challenging, it’s fueled by a passion for art, sustainability, and celebrating the art of being a woman in the world of fashion.
When it comes to PR, is there a person or brand in your industry you think is knocking it out of the park and doing great things?
MK: I think every company has its own challenges when it comes to PR, but obviously more established companies have better results when it comes to PR. One brand that consistently stands out for its exemplary PR and commitment to responsible practices is Patagonia. Patagonia has been a trailblazer in promoting environmental and social responsibility within the fashion industry.
What advice would you give other founders about business?
MK: Be patient and don’t give up. It’s a long journey for most of us, so showing up every day is key. Having a clear long-term plan and anticipating unexpected challenges is crucial. The fashion business is not a sprint; it’s a marathon. Recognizing the need for patience and resilience from the outset would have helped me better navigate the inevitable ups and downs.
What advice would you give other founders about marketing and PR?
MK: Don’t forget the power of consistency. I’ve learned that consistency is key to success. Starting early with a commitment to consistent efforts can lead to more efficient processes and higher-quality outcomes. What may initially seem like a struggle can become a habit that drives growth and achievement over time. Remember that marketing and PR are long-term endeavors; consistency, transparency, and a genuine commitment to your brand’s mission will yield enduring success.
Where would you like to see your business in 5 years?
MK: I would love to see more women worldwide enjoying the experience of wearing unique Narvan styles. Our commitment to crafting distinctive, sustainable fashion pieces aligns with our mission to empower individuals to express themselves through their clothing.
I hope that Narvan has become a platform for education. I want to use our influence to educate people on the importance of slow fashion, fostering a deeper appreciation for conscious consumption. We aspire to be a source of knowledge, inspiring individuals to make more sustainable choices in their everyday lives, from the clothes they wear to the way they shop and live.
In five years, I see Narvan expanding its presence. We aim to have a global footprint, with our sustainable fashion available in boutiques and stores across the world. This expansion not only allows us to reach a broader audience but also contributes to the growing movement toward ethical and sustainable fashion practices on a global scale.
In essence, the future of Narvan encompasses a thriving community of women embracing our unique styles, a commitment to education on sustainable fashion, and a worldwide presence that champions the values of conscious consumption and environmental responsibility.
Who would you love to see showing off your product?
MK: I would absolutely love to see Meghan Markle showcasing our products. Her influence in the fashion world, as well as her commitment to sustainable and ethical brands, aligns perfectly with Narvan’s values. Meghan Markle’s endorsement would not only bring significant attention to our unique styles but also amplify our message of slow fashion and environmental responsibility to a global audience. Her choice to wear Narvan would be a powerful statement of support for sustainable fashion.
Is there anything else you would like to add about business, marketing and/or PR?
MK: In today’s dynamic business landscape, the synergy between marketing and PR is vital. They must work in unison to deliver a consistent and authentic brand message to a discerning audience. Storytelling is a powerful tool, and a compelling narrative that reflects the brand’s values can engage customers emotionally. Adaptability and agility are key as trends evolve rapidly. Businesses that prioritize ethics, sustainability, and customer-centricity are best positioned for lasting success.
Hi. I’m Christy Laverty!
I’m so excited to be here getting the chance to share my knowledge with the She Owns It community.
I have spent nearly 20 years working in some of the biggest television and radio newsrooms in Canada. I have seen my share of good, bad, and ugly story pitches and press releases. So, now I am sharing tips, tools, and techniques with entrepreneurs so they can better pitch the media to get mentions, press, and publicity.
It’s a win-win-win really. I get to help people share their business and mission with the world, entrepreneurs learn how to better connect with journalists for press and publicity, and, finally, I get to help my Journalist friends get better stories to share with their audiences.
When I am not doing my media and PR thing, I am blogging, occasionally filling in on the radio, playing news anchor, and I also teach in the journalism program at a Canadian college.
So where else can you find me?
Swing by my website and social media channels for tips, techniques, and strategies to help you get media mentions, press, and publicity. Oh, and of course how to work with me.