County native helps launch clothing line


After hand stitching the first design into a T-shirt, Vanessa Hamkens decided she was going to take the plunge and take a chance on her dream of starting a clothing company.

With the help of her partner, Rhiann MacDonald, formerly of New Glasgow, the pair decided to start Me Before You.

The clothing company currently has two different styled T-shirts for sale and are getting ready to launch their new website. For now they have been making a push for their product on social media.
“Our goal is to get to the point where we can donate money to mental health organizations,” said Hamkens.

The name of the company came from the idea of self-care for mental health and the premise that self-care doesn’t have to be selfish.

“With keeping yourself in mind,” said Hamkens. “They all have an uplifting meaning to them,” she mentioned about the shirts. Both women agreed that the message of self-care and the cause of mental health are concerns close to them.

“We just kind of wanted to promote putting yourself first,” MacDonald said. “It isn’t selfish to be self aware.”

Support for the clothing line has been overwhelming, said MacDonald. At first, the pair had 20 shirts was able to sell them  quickly. The ordered 60 more and sold them all in about a week.

Next up for the new company will be their website which will have an online store for people from outside HRM to purchase the shirts. For now they can be found under the name Me Before You on Facebook or Me Before You Clothing on Instagram.

The two shirts they have launched so far say “Keep me high love” and “Way up” with a picture of mountains above it. The designs are not screen printed, but stitched into the shirt fabric.

“I feel like what surprised me is how much time it takes,” said Hamkens about the responsibility of the business. She is currently a business student at Dalhousie University and MacDonald was a science student.  Hamkens had not taken an entrepreneurship class and was not familiar with the process until they jumped into it.

“I guess we have a lot more respect for small business owners,” MacDonald said.

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