Community is all about connection – connecting people to each other, connecting makers to materials, connecting customers to makers, connecting students to mentors, connecting everyone to the resources and opportunities necessary to make their businesses thrive. NFA Member Mollie Decktor can certainly speak to the power of connection to Nashville’s deep bench of fashion industry resources.
Mollie is the creator of a start-up called mbody which creates custom-fit bras using cutting-edge manufacturing technology. (Ladies, can I get an amen?) When NFA CEO Van Tucker spoke at her alma mater, Owen School of Business at Vanderbilt, Mollie knew that this was a person she needed to connect with. “As a fellow Owen grad, she stood out as someone in the fashion community who would be passionate about our startup and able to provide useful insight as we were building our model. I knew that there was a vibrant fashion community here & I knew Van would be an amazing point person to help us navigate it,” said Mollie in a recent conversation.
“It feels like every interaction I have had with the NFA has led directly to a step forward in our development,” she said. When asked how the NFA’s resources have supported her work, she shared, “Top of mind right now is an introduction to the team at AFFOA, a federally-funded organization supporting the R&D of future fabrics and manufacturing innovation. Unbeknownst to Van, I had been trying to connect with this organization for about a year when she just happened to mention that she had a meeting with them the next day. It was not a public meeting, but Van found a way to get me a seat at the table. AFFOA has since built a headquarters at MIT and launched an incubator program for textile-focused startups. I'm thrilled to report that mbody was accepted into the first cohort of this program, which means I'll be moving this operation to Boston at the end of the month! It's hard to describe the enormity of this opportunity without getting into the weeds, but suffice it to say our connection to AFFOA opened the door to resources that will make our product development possible.”
Though she’s headed to Massachusetts for a moment, Mollie will carry the support of the NFA with her. She said, “My NFA membership isn't only about the connections, it's also a contribution to organizing and fortifying the industry in Nashville. Especially when it comes to startups, a lot of the energy tends to collect around the healthcare and music industries. The NFA is building a coalition of the designers, artisans, and entrepreneurs here, and in doing so is creating an ecosystem that will support new ventures like mine!”
We are so proud of Mollie’s work and look forward to tracking her time at AFFOA closely!