MASI Shop Interview - All Dressed Up

MASI Shop Interview

Today I am bringing you an interview with Aaron of MASI Shop, or, Mother and Son Imports. MASI Shop is a fantastic company that produces and sells harem pants handmade in Hanoi, Vietnam. Pretty amazing right? What's even better is that they provide their customers with a unique opportunity... when buying a pair of their gorgeous pants, you are also giving back to a wonderful cause in the process. With every product purchased at MASI Shop, $2 goes back to a foundation entitled Artists for Orphans. 

I had the privilege of speaking with Aaron about his company, and was thrilled when he offered to share some of his story with you all. Ever wonder what it would be like to start a fashion line in Vietnam? Find out below! 

How did MASI Shop Come About?

MASI is the result of my visiting home and bringing back harem pants for my sister and girlfriend as gifts. They both loved them, and my girlfriend’s friends started asking for them as well! As it so happens, I’m friends with a local Vietnamese gentleman in the textile industry here in Hanoi, and since I live here alone with a little extra time on my hands, I decided I would try and launch my own business. So once back in Hanoi after my visit home, my local friend escorted me to a rural village outside Hanoi to meet an amazing team of six seamstresses and we placed our first order of MASI Shop Harem Pants! Whuala!

What is with the Name?

The name is an acronym which stands for Mother and Son Imports Shop. My mother and I are partners; she handles all of the orders and shipping, while I do the sourcing and run the website. Some people may cringe at starting a business with family, but having the Pacific Ocean between us helps keep tension pretty well under control.

How would you describe MASI Shops’ purpose?

The intention is to eventually provide handmade goods from all over Southeast Asia, and if we are shooting really big, from around the world. My favorite part of traveling thus far in my life has been the night markets in some of these cities. Whether it has been Hong Kong, Spain, or Hanoi, the vibe and energy is always intoxicating. We wanted to bring that feeling of adventure and internationalism to an online store. We just really want to give people access to awesome handmade goods made from all over the globe.

You give $2 for every product sold to a foundation called Artists for Orphans, helping provide services for children in Vietnam born with birth defects as a result of Agent Orange exposure, why was that important?

Living in the United States, you almost never hear about Vietnam. But since living here for the past six months, I am still taken aback at how warm and welcoming the people are here. They will literally give you the shirt off their back after knowing you for a few moments, so it only felt right that we help give back to a country that has been, without hesitation, so welcoming.

What has surprised you so far as someone launching their first start up in fashion?

I would have to say two things have surprised me. The first is how gosh dang supportive people are willing to be; it is the sunny side of Twitter and social media. Whether it has been blogs such as Pleats and Threads or celebrities such as singer/songwriter Malynda Hale, or music executive Christine Infanger, people who have seen what we are trying to do and are willing to use their success to help those who are just starting out, has been such an amazing experience for us.

Secondly, I think the value of being open to trying new things. I played division one sports in college and have a degree in Education, pretty far from the fashion world. But that willingness to just go for it, if for no other reason than the experience of going through the process, can lead to some amazing opportunities, and I think MASI Shop is a testament to that.

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