“It’s all about tackling the world problem, in a beautiful way. Now is the right time. People are starting to wake up.”

Clock-in. When most people hear this word, they immediately begin to have images of work swirling in their minds. Many people just go through the motions of everyday life without questioning what their motives are for doing the things they do: they just do them. For many, work is an end in itself: something to get done. For Maxine Bédat and Soraya Darabi, founders of Zady, work is not something to just go through in a nine to five job. Instead, Zady embodies all of their passions, all in the while creating a counter-cultural movement in the fashion industry.

Zady, a new retail concept based on ethics and sustainability, questions the fashion industry. Its mission is to give the customer the highest quality items while connecting the customer with the maker of the product. The concept of Zady did not come over night. Maxine explains, “We had a passion that grew over time.” Maxine and Soraya shopped at the mass fast fashion stores, just like most of us, and they would fill their closets with the latest fashions. Even though their closets were full, they did not feel good inside. They realized that fast fashion was not okay, that they needed to make a change.

The Bootstrap Project led to the vision of Zady. Maxine founded the Bootstrap Project, and then Soraya jumped in. With this project, these ladies learned how beautiful products were made, and it opened their eyes to the problem that fast fashion was creating. They realized that a movement truly was happening. Soraya says, “We had the idea and then we put the idea into action, while continuing to share knowledge by talking to trusted sources.” One of their advisors even gave them free office space that allowed them to hash out their ideas. They took it one step at a time. “There were a lot of up moments, but the problem came when we traveled to trade shows: we saw aisles of synthetic products. This made us wonder: Is the product even out there?” Maxine states. Then, they started to find designers with their passions. Maxine says, “When finding designers, it made the finding all the more sweeter.”  Zady will also connect these designers with the customers. Each customer will receive a story about the brand, an in-depth story of each product and a description of the history of the piece.  Also, social media will allow the customers to connect with the designers in a more direct way.

For Maxine and Soraya, changing the world has always been in their blood. Maxine worked in the United Nations in international law. This led to her vision of the Bootstrap Project, where people who deserve to have their story told can have their story told. Soraya was raised in a family that was passionate about philanthropy. As a child in Minnesota, she was an advocate of human rights. As an adult, she became involved with Charity:Water, United Way in New York and Carnegie Hall, where she is an advisor and helps underprivileged children to attend free concerts.

With the upcoming launch of Zady, Maxine and Soraya are hoping for a big reaction in the public. They hope that people get excited about this new concept. Maxine says, “It’s all about tackling the world problem, in a beautiful way. Now is the right time. People are starting to wake up.”

For people who want to create their own “conscious” businesses and create social impact, Maxine’s advice is to “Connect with your community at your earliest. They’re a benefit and having a similar mission of wanting to change the world, and not clocking-in and clocking-out, brings you together.” Soraya advises, “Having a mission makes the team stronger and more high caliber. For most businesses, it is hard to know why they do not have a conscious aspect.”


Maxine and Soraya are strong defenders in fighting for one’s dreams. Maxine left her corporate legal job. “This was a big jump, but you have to take big risks in life- you have to try.” Maxine says. Soraya worked at the New York Times, and by having a NY Times e-mail address, people would respond to her immediately. Now, she does not have this e-mail to fall back on. She explains how it is like starting back at square one. She hopes that one day having a Zady e-mail address will have the same power as a NY Times address. She says, “I don’t miss the corporate world though. I am honored to have this opportunity- I would choose it every time.”

In the future, Maxine hopes that Zady will “speak to the destination of the conscious consumer. We hope to find a solution for every vertical, that will stand the test of time.” Soraya wants to use Zady as a platform to expand knowledge in the public and explain what makes something sustainable. She says, “Expanding knowledge will push the industry forward.” No matter what direction Zady takes, Zady is sure to make a difference not only in the fashion industry, but also in the whole realm on sustainable thought. Now, clock-out, and be part of the movement. After all, as Zady says, “A new dawn is upon us.”

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