On April 15 and April 16, from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. in the Student Union, students Mia D’Amato and Kody Miles hosted a pop-up shop for their small businesses selling sustainable fashion. Both students run their businesses mainly through their Instagram accounts. Mia D’Amato is the founder of Boho Basement, while Kody Miles is the founder of Exit 44. One of the main reasons both students began their business journeys is to emphasize the importance of buying and selling sustainable fashion.
Sustainable fashion consists of clothes and other accessories that are designed, manufactured, distributed and used in a way that is environmentally friendly. Mia D’Amato speaks on why she started Boho. “I’ve always loved thrifting and found it to be a great way to shop in the most sustainable way. I first created Boho Basement to share my passion for sustainability, and to give me something creative to work on while I was stuck in quarantine last March. I did not expect my page to grow into what it is today, or for my followers to love my style. I’m so fortunate to be able to work every day, doing something I love.”
Most of the clothing and accessories both students sell are found in their local thrift stores. Thrifting is extremely environmentally friendly as it eliminates the amount of textile waste being put into landfills. These clothing pieces are being recycled and reused by other people. Both D’Amato and Miles spend a lot of time sourcing these different items to create and design new pieces or to just sell to others in order for these pieces to not end up in landfills.
Although Exit 44 promotes a lot more male clothing and accessories, and Boho Basement promotes more female clothing, the two businesses are not gender-exclusive; both businesses sell clothing for all genders and sizes.
Kody Miles talks about Exit 44 and the different things that Exit 44 hosts rather than just selling clothing. “Exit 44 is a lifestyle brand that focuses on commu-nity, pop culture and sports. We started off doing sporting events on campus. However, due to the pandemic, we began offering vintage clothing as a way to adapt to the times. This has slowly become a staple of the foundation of our brand and people look to us for unique and sustainable clothing options. As we continue to grow we continue to host events such as kickball tournaments which will be at Saxon stadium April 24/25th signup in my @exit.44 Instagram bio”.
Another amazing part of this pop-up shop was that 20% of the proceeds went towards the Beat the Odds Senior Gift and Scholarship. This was an amazing opportunity to raise money for a great cause and to get help doing so by engaging the Mercyhurst University students and staff. Miles and D’Amato also sold “Beat the Odds” keychains for $3 to help raise money for the scholarship if people were not able to make the pop-up. D’Amato and Miles were both super proud and amazed by the overwhelming support the Mercyhurst community gave them as a part of the team’s first pop-up.
“Before Thursday, Kody and I weren’t really sure of what to expect. Even with the rain, everyone really showed up and enjoyed the event. It was so rewarding to receive the overwhelming response that we did. By the end of the first day, we nearly sold out! This was so unexpected, but we were extremely grateful,” Mia D’Amato stated.
Sophomore Sarah Vosburgh, someone who attended the pop-up, believes that this was a great pop-up and hopes to see something like this again on campus. “This pop-up on campus really gave the students here something to look forward to, especially during this semester since everything has been so different due to the pandemic”.
Mercyhurst students really enjoyed this event and it helped them support a great cause and great businesses. If you are interested in learning more about either of the companies who were present at the pop-up, Exit 44 and Boho Basement can be found via their social media. I would highly recommend following their Instagram accounts, @exit.44 and @boho_basement to keep up to date with other events the companies might do in the future.