Saint Harridan Suits You
Designer Mary Going and her form fitting suits made just for you.
Mary Going and her wife, Martha Rynberg both strongly believe in pursuing one’s passions. Going herself is an entrepreneur and social activists with an MBA from Lorry I. Lokey Graduate School of Business at Mills College. Her drive for success catapulted her on the path that she created Saint Harridan which produces a designer line of suits that will revolutionize the way queer women dress. The name Saint Harridan in full means ‘patron and mannish woman’ respectively. And that is what Going’s mission was all about.
According to Going, Saint Harridan is about breaking the glass partition between the Men’s and Women’s departments and exposing the fiction of binary gender. That’s what makes the company unique. That’s what makes it important, because Saint Harridan is providing a choice. “We’ve heard so many stories form people who say they don’t full participate in their lives because they feel uncomfortable with their clothing options,” she says. “Our mission isn’t simply about clothing. It’s about having access to garments that make you look like you.”
This line isn’t exactly about being a ‘must’ for the business savvy dyke. It’s about having that choice to be confident and self-assured in a suit that’s tailored for a woman’s body without being extremely feminine.
The company is all about making you feel comfortable in the suit you choose to wear. The tag line says, “Get up. Suit Up. Show Up.” It’s a statement which screams a certain confidence that cannot be debated upon, which is a confidence that Going herself exudes. In order to get her company off the ground, she took to the KickStarter battlegrounds and came out well above where she thought she would land.
“In spite of the support I received, I did hear from many “experts” that what I want to do just cannot be done,” Going says. “One guy who owns a very successful clothing line told me I’d be lucky to have $50,000 in sales because there just aren’t that many people who want to dress like this. (He then went on to tell me how some of his best friends are lesbians). It feels fantastic to have our Kickstarter campaign go over $100,000!”
But Going did receive support from over 50 people that have contributed their time and energy to the company. She says her living room is practically wallpapered with brainstorm notes and lists of ideas. A sign of a true creative person.
“The response has been overwhelmingly supportive,” she says. “Every day I get emails from people telling their Saint story and offering heartfelt appreciation. There have been naysayers too, although in much smaller proportion. I’ve tried to listen to the wisdom they might offer, but not let them get me down. Some moments are hard, but mostly I've just felt inspired.”
Going and Rynberg have been supportive of each other through this entire journey. “She’s 100% supportive and has been instrumental in shaping the company,” Going says. “Martha’s passion is around solo performance and directing, so she is a natural at helping me sculpt what I'm trying to say. I write all our copy, but Martha edits it, and makes it ten times more interesting. She also designed the Saint Harridan website! Our daughters, ages 13 and 4, have been ardent cheerleaders.”
Wishing that you could get your hands on one of these suits? This March and April Saint Harridan will be popping up stores in 6-8 US cities to feel out the public.
“This way, we’ll get to meet people, and gauge how we are received around the country,” she says. “During that time, we’ll be entertaining the idea of investor/partners. We’re looking for people who truly care about the mission and who can bring something to the partnership in terms of understanding the target market or the industry.”
Saint Harridan is about comfort, self-identity and change. Going has proved many people wrong on her quest for the perfect masculine suit to fit the female form. So what’s next for the company?
“In the long term, the adage that change is the only constant is doubly true for Saint Harridan because that’s what we’re all about – pushing for change. We certainly don’t want to create new boxes in place of the old ones. In order not to be tossed about in this "sea of constant change," we are anchored by strong values. Ours are: imagination, innovation, diversity of perspective, sustainability and faith in the individual.” (saintharridan.com)