Around the World with Harper Poe: Owner of Proud Mary.
I first met Harper Poe about a year ago, at a pop up shop downtown Charleston and ever since then I’ve become an avid follower of her website and social media platforms. It is easy to get sucked into becoming a super fan of Harper and her business, Proud Mary. Proud Mary is a global project in which Harper travels around the world to places like Peru and Morocco to find unique gems of clothing, pillows, throws, shoes and bags to bring back to Charleston and sell on her website. She has started a socially conscious and thoughtful business with ongoing collaborations supporting textile artisans in other countries. Contributing to other societies, by decorating your home and your wardrobe in these treasures, is so very rewarding. Believe me, once you buy one piece, you will want to buy more. Shopping while supporting other communities and cultures? Sounds like a deal, eh maybe a steal even!
Learn more about Harper Poe and her mission with Proud Mary in my interview with the talented lady below:
STYLE: Tell us a little bit about yourself.
HARPER: I grew up in Charlotte, NC. I went to college at Clemson University, where I studied Construction Management. After graduation, I spent time surfing and snowboarding in Costa Rica, France, and Colorado. I moved to Los Angeles in 2003, where I worked for a well known interior designer. It was there that I fell in love with textiles. I moved to New York City in 2005, where I worked in interior and construction industries. I did some volunteer work in 2007 in South America that was the inspiration for starting Proud Mary with a friend in NYC in 2008. I moved to Charleston in late 2008, where I continued to build Proud Mary. I opened Hope and Union Coffee Shop in late 2009, which remained open until August 2012. I now live in Charleston with my cat Marsha, run Proud Mary from my home office, and travel as much as possible!
STYLE: What inspired you to get started with your own company and traveling globally?
HARPER: It was the volunteer work I did in South America, where I saw so many indigenous women making beautiful craft to support their families. It was the catalyst to start Proud Mary.
STYLE: How did you come up with the name of your company, Proud Mary?
HARPER: I started Proud Mary with my friend Molly while living in New York. Both of our real names are Mary, so we knew we wanted to use Mary in some capacity. It actually started as a joke, but stuck around!
STYLE: Do you follow any bloggers? If so, who and why?
HARPER: Instagram has taken the place of blogs for me. It’s the most inspiring platform for me as it’s solely visual.
STYLE: Is social media something you consider essential for businesses and brands to have and use in today’s society?
STYLE: What traveling experiences have you had that changed your life?
HARPER: I think it’s been a culmination of all of my trips, but I studied abroad in Spain in college and it was the first time in my life that I felt like I was in the right place and could really enjoy the now. I love being surrounded by people from all over the world and different walks of life. I decided then that being a global citizen was how I wanted to live my life.
STYLE: what are your top four must see places in the world?
HARPER: Spain, West Africa, Machu Picchu, and the American Southwest
STYLE: What advice would you give to someone wanting to start their own business?
HARPER: Do what you’re passionate about it will keep you going when things aren’t progressing as quick as you’d like.
STYLE: What are your go-to pieces in your closet?
HARPER: Cotton caftans from West Africa and Mexico, raffia shoes from Morocco, APC jeans, and plain tees.
STYLE: What about your must have pieces for fall?
HARPER: This year, I think I’ll live in Proud Mary’s San Marcos wrap. It’s an alpaca, wool, cotton blend piece that is super cozy!
STYLE: What can we expect from Proud Mary in the next year? Any new projects?
HARPER: I’m working on a new home decor project in India and expanding upon our shoe line.
For more information on Harper’s company, Proud Mary, click here.
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