Celebrating Women Through Fashion With Cara and Lisa of andieanderin
Note: This piece was originally published on May 6, 2019 on another site of mine. It has since been transitioned to Medium as I transition away from the site.
Neckties have always been a misunderstood accessory for women. Throughout history, women have donned this fashion statement for a number of reasons — most recently in the ’70s and ’80s to blend in more with men.
Yet, there hasn’t really been an impactful company who has come in and decided to ‘own’ the space. That is, until andieanderin came along.
We hope to one day have a large library of different designs that are all inspired by a truly diverse group of badass women.
Cara Ingham & Lisa Santos
andieanderin is a fashion brand co-founded by Cara Ingham and Lisa Santos that designs and sells ‘neckties that celebrate women’ — especially those who are influential throughout history.
Each necktie is inspired by and celebrates powerful and successful women such as Hillary Clinton, Melinda Gates, and Amelia Earhart.
With a unique and beautiful product and a clear and inspiring vision, what isn’t to love about this incredible business and its co-founders? Not much.
So, without further ado…
Read their inspiring journey in the full interview below:
Ashley Hoffman (AH): Tell me about andieanderin. Why neckties?
Cara and Lisa (C&L): We are a two-women show that is on a mission to celebrate amazing women!
We do so by designing silk pussy bow neckties that are directly inspired by influential women from history and today.
Think beautiful silk covered in lemon prints for Beyonce, a solid rich blue for Hillary, or pop art Oprah all over a royal purple base. Our neckties are an ode to the past and a statement for the future.
Neckties are a unique fashion accessory for women. They have been around for centuries and called many names, but for some reason, they haven’t become the closet staple that they are in men’s fashion.
We were directly influenced by the ’70s & 80s, on the heels of the women’s movement, when women were working their way up the corporate ranks. They would wear bows with a pantsuit to emulate a man’s work attire.
We wanted to bring back this accessory, but flip the script. They are no longer meant to be a copycat accessory, but instead a statement piece that makes a woman feel powerful.
AH: What led up to you launching your business? Where did the idea come from?
C&L: andieanderin was built from a wild idea that our co-founder Lisa had while putting her son to sleep one night.
It was on the eve of the 2017 inauguration so there were a lot of feelings happening, especially that lingering gloom from being so close to witnessing our first female president.
We had been talking for months about doing something creative that would align with our passions and that coupled with the resurgence of the women’s movement motivated us to want to help spread the word of trailblazing women.
We were instantly drawn to the idea of designing neckties for women, but wanted to be sure to include a storyboard to tell the larger story as to why the women were so influential. We spent 10 months building the product and then launched a kickstarter to get us over the funding hump and into full production.
AH: Who is an ‘influential woman’? How do you define it and how do you translate that inspiration into various necktie designs?
C&L: For andieanderin, an influential woman is really just that: a person that inspires others and motivates people to want to do more, in any capacity.
They are also someone that has paved the way for other women and girls to follow. Surprisingly, we are still hearing stories of “firsts.” Such as the first all-women piloted commercial flight or the first woman to be awarded a Nobel prize in a specific category. These are stories of influential women that will live on to inspire others.
When designing neckties that are inspired by a given woman, we do a lot of research. We really want each design to be unique and speak to the individual that inspires the piece. We do have to work within the limitations of the size of the accessory, but that is a fun challenge and it’s surprising how many different elements we can bring in to really individualize the design.
AH: You’re donating a part of your proceeds to an organization that supports women. Tell me a little bit about that.
C&L: Yes! We knew from the beginning that we wanted to support an organization that empowers women.
There are so many amazing organizations doing just that, and we have the intention of rotating charity organizations, but we selected Step Up as our first partner and we haven’t changed yet. We were drawn to their mission of mentoring young women in under-resourced communities, preparing them for further education or to confidently join the workforce.
AH: What’s your ultimate vision for andieanderin? What about the fashion industry as a whole?
C&L: So far, we have designed 15 different neckties that are inspired by a total of 18 influential women.
We would love to continue to design neckties to where we could fill a museum exhibit! We hope to one day have a large library of different designs that are all inspired by a truly diverse group of badass women.
For the fashion industry as a whole, we would love to see the silk pussy bow necktie become a staple in the women’s wardrobe, just like neckties are for men, but without the limitations of only wearing them for business or with collared shirts.
AH: What’s been your biggest learning point so far?
C&L: There have been several things that we have learned since starting a business in the fashion retail environment.
Our background is in healthcare technology, which is where we met 10+ years ago, so we had to learn the ropes of production and retail.
Probably the biggest learning point was just how important our external partners are. They are the livelihood of our business and should be people or companies that we are willing to fold into our tight-knit business family. Also, when it comes to production, over-communicate and pad timelines :)
AH: What’s your #1 piece of advice for fellow female entrepreneurs?
C&L: In the land of e-commerce and all things internet, make sure you get your physical self out there to show off your product, get real-time feedback, and network. We promise you it is the best part of running your own show!
There are so many amazing female networks that we have joined since launching andieanderin and these communities have helped us grow as a business as well as given us a supportive network of friends.