“Prepare For Many “No’s” And Don’t Take Them Personally” 4 Leadership Lessons With Jane Mosbacher Morris
I had the pleasure of interviewing Jane Mosbacher Morris, the visionary and pioneer behind the TO THE MARKET brand. She holds an MBA from Columbia Business School and is the CEO of TO THE MARKET, the world’s first supplier of ethically-made custom goods for both consumers and businesses.
On any given day, you may find Jane walking through a cut-and-sew facility in India employing vulnerable women, crisscrossing Manhattan to meet with the CSR team of a Fortune 500 company, or plotting the roll-out of a collaboration with an emerging brand. TO THE MARKET aims to create a more transparent supply chain for the production of some of the most commonly purchased products such as t-shirts and tote bags, while supporting jobs for vulnerable communities along the way.
Before launching TO THE MARKET, Jane was hardly on a traditional retail path. She worked at the U.S. State Department, specializing in counterterrorism issues, and then was detailed to the Office of Global Women’s Issues. During one of her trips to India to learn about human trafficking, she visited accessories and home goods producers employing disadvantaged women. She immediately recognized the potential of connecting those producers with the growing ethical fashion movement.
Knowing that so many large companies in the United States were also looking for a way to help empower women, Jane recognized the potential synergies of connecting producers making ethically sourced goods to serve the procurement needs of big business.
What inspired you to start TO THE MARKET?
I was inspired to start TO THE MARKET after identifying two underserved markets. On the demand side, there is enormous interest across the board, especially from millennials and Gen Z, for ethically-made fashion goods. People want to see the same transparency in the fashion world that now exists within the food and beverage space. On the supply side, there is incredible untapped production capacity in the artisan industry. It’s the second largest economy in the developing world, behind agriculture, but is largely disconnected from the supply chains of traditional retailers and corporations.
How would you advise large corporations to become more socially responsible?
Consumer, employee, and investor expectations of businesses are changing. If businesses want to maintain and grow their market share, keep talent, and attract investors, socially responsible business practices are a must. Ethical production and sourcing is a powerful place to start. It can be as simple as buying Starbucks’ sustainably-grown coffee for your office kitchen, purchasing corporate gifts from sustainable producers, to making a commitment like West Elm to certify a significant portion of your product as “fair trade”. There’s a reason Starbucks and West Elm continue to perform well.
TO THE MARKET has worked with brands ranging from Hint Water to Hilton that are extending their ethical sourcing footprints beyond food. Corporations have incredible purchasing power and, in turn, an opportunity to make a tangible social impact on the ground by simply tweaking where they choose to spend their money.
What are your secrets to building a successful team?
Surround yourself with people that are mission-aligned, kind-spirited, and hard workers! My team is willing to be on a call at 10:00 pm on a Friday night because we all love and believe in what we do. And we genuinely enjoy each other’s company!
What is your best tip for an aspiring entrepreneur?
Prepare for many “No’s” and don’t take them personally. It’s a part of the process at every stage of your business. My husband Nate has helped me realize that it’s okay if people don’t get what you are doing — it’s about finding the people that do.
What is your top tip for work-life balance?
Get enough sleep! There’s no substitute for a rested mind and body.