Yana Barankin is the female lead of TAMGA Designs, a clothing line with integrity at its center. Before embarking on this journey, Yana and her business partner asked themselves two simple questions is it too expensive to produce a socially and environmentally responsible piece of clothing? Does style have to be sacrificed for accountability? The obvious answer was no  so they set out on a mission to prove it. Here’s her story.

 


 

My first job ever was… sales clerk at a clothing store!

 

I decided to be an entrepreneur because… I realized that I can have much more of a positive social and environmental impact by pursuing my passion rather than sitting at a 9-5 desk job. 

 

My proudest accomplishment is… Getting my Masters in International Development from Kent University.

 

My boldest move to date was… Taking a leap of faith and buying a one-way ticket to Indonesia with my fiancee to set-up a responsible and transparent supply for the company.

 

I surprise people when I tell them… I lived in Dhaka, Bangladesh for 2.5 years working in international aid.

 

My best advice to people trying to get an idea off the ground is… Surround yourself with creative and like-minded people! Know what your weaknesses are and don’t be afraid to ask for help and inspiration!

 

My best advice from a mentor was… It’s a marathon, not a sprint.

 

“Know what your weaknesses are and don’t be afraid to ask for help and inspiration”

 

My biggest setback was… My personal biggest challenge was moving to Canada at the age of 12 and what felt like at the time adapting to a whole new world.

 

I overcame it by… Giving it time.

 

Work/life balance is… Knowing when to a call it a night (laptop and cellphones OFF) and enjoying the weekend with family and friends.

 

If you googled me, you still wouldn’t know… I’m a self taught photographer.

 

I stay inspired by… Being outdoors.

 

The future excites me because… There are endless possibilities! We’re starting to see a shift where businesses can’t just take away from people and the planet — to get customer loyalty they have to show how they’re giving back. Combining profit and purpose is the challenge of our generation, and there are so many amazing entrepreneurs and companies working on it.

 

“Combining profit and purpose is the challenge of our generation”

 

My next step is… My next steps are all about TAMGA at the moment! We’re developing some amazing new pieces and prints with our team in Indonesia, and will be introducing some awesome new eco materials to our line. This summer we will be doing lots of in-person festivals, pop-ups and markets in the Toronto area. And we can’t wait for lots of sunshine, TAMGA clothing, and meeting all our amazing customers.

 

Meet the founder of Lucky Iron Fish, a company with social responsibility at the heart of its business model.