We had the good fortune of connecting with Meghan Forest Farmer and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Meghan, maybe we can start at the very start – the idea – how did you come up with the idea for your business?
The idea for The Bright Factory came at the intersection of several paths in my life. I had been working in the fashion industry for over a decade in various areas of the fashion pipeline. I’ve been a part of the glitz and glamour. But, I also became aware of the unfortunate, darker, underside of the fashion industry.
The tragedy at Rana Plaza in 2013 was the moment that changed me. I chose to stop turning a blind eye towards where all the beautiful fashion was coming from. I educated myself about manufacturing, supply chains, and sustainability
While all of this was swirling through my brain I had also begun working with a volunteer organization visiting incarcerated women in Fort Worth, TX. At every visit I heard the same sentiment. Each woman had hopes to get out, start a new life, take care of her children, and get a good job. But I soon learned that finding dignified work after incarceration is bleak, making it more likely they will return behind bars because of the obstacles in place for those with a conviction on their record.
That’s when the connection came – the human connection. And so The Bright Factory began to come to life.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
The Bright Factory will employ and empower formerly incarcerated women to create wholesale T-shirts, made with sustainable fabrics, at our cut and sew factory in Fort Worth, TX. Our mission is to restore dignity to the garment worker position, and to formerly incarcerated women, through disrupting the current, unhealthy, norms within garment manufacturing and reentry experiences. This mission is what fuels me as an entrepreneur, but pride in what we’re doing has been experienced most when I witnessed others become just as passionate about what we are doing as I am. When we began our crowdfunding campaign to help with initial capital expenses, we had no idea the support we would receive from our local and extended community. I am so proud to be a part of a business that people want to rally behind, and not only support financially, but with their words and actions. Strangers and friends alike became passionate about the mission of The Bright Factory and seeing dignity restored to the garment worker and formerly incarcerated women. Yes, I was proud to accomplish meeting our crowdfunding goal, but I was even more proud of the community we cultivated who are voting for a brighter future.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I am lucky enough to live in Fort Worth and I truly love it. An ideal time spent in Fort Worth would include:
Starting off with a coffee tour; Fort Worth has recently gained so many new cafes and coffee shops, meaning so many to try. Shout out to Summer Moon, Crude, Sons of Liberty, Roots, and Avoca.
Meals would consist of so much Coco Shrimp because I am OBSESSED. But, you can also also head to Zoli’s for Pizza, Cafe Bella for classic Italian, Righteous Foods for healthy options, Morgan’s or Melt for Ice Cream!
For fun, we would definitely hop on our bikes, or throw on some sneakers, and hit the Trinity Trail. The fact that my city has so much opportunity to be active is amazing. We’d also need to check out the Arts District by moving through a few museums; Kimball and Modern to get started.
On a fair weather day, sitting by the water gardens is idyllic. Or, exploring downtown Fort Worth, full of history and unique, surprise gems.
If someone is new to Fort Worth, they’ve got to see the Stockyards and grab dinner at Joe T. Garcias. Even if you don’t like the food, or aren’t in to cowboys, the experience is so fun and worth it. I highly recommend Pawnee Bills Wild West Show.
To finish out an evening, the Coyote Drive in movie theatre is a must, and if we still have energy, Karaoke over at The Poopdeck bar near TCU.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
So many people, organizations, books, and podcasts deserve recognition for preparing, teaching, supporting, partnering, and believing in myself and The Bright Factory, making it difficult to choose just one. However, I will dedicate my shoutout to my Mother, who encouraged me at a young age to find a way to make fashion help others, and give more than it takes. Thanks Mom!
Erin Stetson | Stetson Film + Photo