MINNA Prides Itself on Being Ethical and a Woman and Queer-Owned Business
Sara Berks, Founder
New York, NY
My name is Sara Berks and I'm the founder + Creative Director of MINNA. I grew up in a small town on the coast of Connecticut, went to college in New York City, lived in Brooklyn for about ten years, and then moved to Upstate New York with my wife about three years ago.
MINNA is an ethically made home textile brand and brick-and-mortar store in Hudson, NY. We collaborate with artisans in Central & South America to produce rugs, blankets, pillows, kitchen textiles, and accessories. What does ethically made mean? To us, it means paying our artisan partners a fair wage, considering our impact on the environment, sourcing natural materials whenever possible, and following fair trade principles.
About six years ago I left my job in the digital design industry to freelance and figure out what I 'really wanted to do.' Around the same time, I taught myself to weave. I really fell in love with the process and started making one-of-a-kind pieces. I luckily was able to garner a nice following on social media and realized it was something I could turn into a business.
I started to research weaving techniques from all over the world and became very interested in artisan production. I took a trip to Mexico, then a trip to Guatemala, and began collaborating with small artisan cooperatives. It all sort of snowballed from there, and here we are!
I've been thinking about this a lot lately. Not necessarily why we are unique, but how to set ourselves apart.
We're still formulating our ideas here but I think part of it is our design approach. We are completely dedicated to making handmade goods, ethically. No matter what we make, that's always the first step. Handmade, ethical production puts a lot of restrictions on the design process - but I sort of love that! Next, we look at the technique and process - what's possible, separate the traditional technique from the traditional design, and put a contemporary spin on it. Everything we make considers the technique and traditional process while creating a design for a contemporary audience and market.
We’re also proud to be a woman/queer owned and run business, which informs how we operate, communicate, and make decisions.