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Sustainable and Strong

Two Sisters are Bringing Ethical Clothing and Accessories to their Community

Article by Susan Baldani

Photography by Emma Melin Studios, The Loui Photography, Cydney Evert

Originally published in Minneapolis Lakes Lifestyle

Sisters Mikaela and Megan Harrod wanted to open a business that mirrored their values. They also wanted to bring unique and natural products from around the world to the people of Minneapolis. Their goal came true last year with the opening of Les Sól, a boutique that focuses on sustainable and ethical women's clothing and other merchandise that carries an endless summer vibe and are made by independent artists, designers, and small brands.

Mikaela has a Bachelor of Science degree in apparel design, which concentrated more on the technical side of the fashion industry. “I learned a lot about the ethics of the fashion industry in terms of waste and pollution,” she says. “And there are many ways to have less of an impact. So, I am super passionate about sustainability and fashion.”

The two sisters love to travel, and seem to meet people and make friends wherever they go. “When we travel, we want to experience the place like a local, so we have our favorite boutiques, cafés, and restaurants,” says Megan. “That’s the foundation of Les Sól - all these ideas coming together in a space that is actually a true reflection of who both of us are and what we love about the world – connection, sustainability, female empowerment, social justice, and more.”

Two summers ago, when the store Mikaela was working at closed, she wasn’t sure what she was going to do next. She asked herself, “Am I going to work for another boutique and put all of my energy into someone else’s dream again, or should I just start my own?” So, she called her sister and asked her if she wanted to be involved in starting a business. Megan, of course, said yes!

The sisters have always had a close relationship. “Megan is 12 years my senior, and our mom is a nurse/midwife who works really hard. Megan was like a second mom to me so we have a very close bond. And, she has an entrepreneurial spirit and was always talking about opening a business.”

“I’ve been with the U.S. Alpine Ski team for seven seasons, so I’m on the road eight months a year managing all the media and PR for them,” says Megan. “I didn’t foresee being able to open my own business anytime soon, so when my sister came to me about doing this, I said yes right away.”

Mikaela knew immediately that this new boutique would feature sustainable merchandise, and both sisters focused on making the boutique a whole lifestyle. In addition to clothing, they offer accessories, skin and body care, chocolates, candles and more.

Les Sól was originally supposed to open last April, so when COVID-19 delayed that, the two decided to launch online first and start building momentum. “The community is so important to us because it’s the people who make the place special” says Megan. “That’s how we feel about Minneapolis - the people make it special.”

The physical store finally opened in September. When they originally found the space at 4353 South Upton Avenue in Linden Hills, they felt like it fit their brand more than anywhere else they had looked. “It’s right next to Sebastian Joe’s, and it’s a great location for us from a community standpoint,” says Megan. “The space is warm, but also minimalist.”

The whole building is made from natural timber, explains Mikaela. “This is a sustainable way to build, and people are going back to it. There are these big beautiful locally-sourced wood columns in the store and the ceiling is timber as well. We have this super light pink paint on the walls and concrete floors, so it has all these natural elements that are really fun and nice.”

The business is a complete family and friends affair. The interior design was done by Mikaela’s friends, and Mikaela herself built the copper fixtures that hold the clothes. Her father made the checkout counter and some of the tables, and her boyfriend and his friends made the big unique display in the center. Even Mikaela’s dog, Django, is involved. His job is to greet everyone who comes in.

“This whole opportunity would not have been possible had our family not helped us,” says Megan. “It also wouldn’t have been possible without my [late] mentor, Pierce McNally, who was a prominent lawyer and lover of art and entrepreneurial endeavors in the Minneapolis community, and Greg Heinemann, (who Megan worked with previously at Olson Denali), who is a marketing strategist, entrepreneur, and also a close friend of Pierce. Again, it’s about community.”

“Being true to ourselves is super important and will continue to be so,” says Mikaela. “We want to empower other women-owned businesses as well, especially BIPOC owned, and uplift each other and our community.”

“I’m so proud of her, and I think it’s awesome that we can do this together,” says Megan.

The two are excited for others to see their new spring merchandise. “Spring is looking very colorful and fun with lots of patterns,” says Megan. “I think that’s what differentiates us from a lot of boutiques in Minneapolis. Instead of a lot of straight lines and muted color blocking, we wanted to be bright and vibrant.”

To find out more, go to https://shoplessol.com/.

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