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September 17, 2020

Meet the Team - Margaret Knowles

Back in 2016, Margaret came on board as MINNA's very first employee. First lending a hand in shipping, Margaret has since become our head of operations and unofficial queen of systems and spreadsheets. We wouldn't be able to get by without her pop culture updates and weekly excel lessons, and we're excited to share a little bit more with you as our Meet the Team series continues.

Margaret Knowles

Where are you from?
Nashville, TN

What do you do at MINNA?
I’m the Head of Operations, which means that I get to do a lot of different things around MINNA! My favorite part is working with people, whether that’s our team based in Hudson, NY, our wholesale clients, or the artisans with whom we collaborate to make our products. I also love organization and Excel, and I get so excited about setting up new functional systems.

How did you get started with MINNA? 
I started with MINNA over 4 years ago, now! I was MINNA’s first full time employee. When I started, we were working out of Sara’s living room; now we have a full store in Hudson and a studio in Germantown! It’s amazing to see how much we’ve grown and changed since I began - how many more people are on our team, how many more artisans we can work with, and how broad MINNA’s influence has become.

What does working ethically mean to you?
It means that we do everything first as humans and second as a business, and we consider everyone we work with not just as suppliers or employees or clients, but as humans as well. That could mean considering personal life changes for an artisan and letting that shape how large or frequently we place orders. That could mean considering the long term career goals of a teammate and factoring those into what work they’re planning to do. That could mean working with a client who’s a small business on a payment plan if COVID has really messed up their ability to place orders. It means that nothing is “just business.” Every decision we make every day is an ethical decision, whether we think of it that way or not. By keeping humanity front of mind, we can make sure we’re always making a decision that’s in line with our values.
An unexpected day off looks like…
Waking up late (I’m a night owl through and through), making coffee and hanging out with my girlfriend and our dog, maybe doing a yoga video in my living room, then some homework (I’m also in grad school!), and, if it’s summer, going for a swim at a local swimming hole. And, in the days when we did this, there’s nothing I love more than going out to a nice dinner and ordering a fancy cocktail.

Secret/hidden talents?
I’ve been a dancer my entire life, and movement is one of my deepest passions. I still take a ballet class from time to time to make sure I don’t lose my skills completely. My love for dance really led me to my love for art and design, and thus I have dance to thank for my career path!

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received? The best piece of advice you give?
Received: "Intention isn’t what matters; it’s impact." I’d heard this before, but it was driven home by racial justice educator Rachel Ricketts. This was a real shift in my thinking about the way I move through the world. It isn’t about what you meant to do, what others think about what you’re doing. The only thing that matters is what you’re doing and how that has an impact on the world around you. This has changed the way I measure success in any endeavor, and it applies to most situations - from fights with your significant other to racial justice work to business.
Given: Those who know me know that I’m really fussy about my space. It drives my partner crazy (sorry!!), but everything in my house has to have a “spot.” The advice I have is not to find a “spot” for everything, but rather just to make the place you live a pleasant place for you. I think we’re all learning (especially in light of COVID) that the space we create has a huge impact on how we live our lives. Set up your space so that you have little reasons to smile each day.