Managing a growing brand, getting married, and ending up on the front page of the New York Times amidst all this COVID-19 craziness? Yeah, we were shocked (and impressed) too. Dana Cohen, founder of Hyer Goods, has been busy.

In our most recent Zoom date, we chatted with Dana, founder of the sustainable, ethical bag and accessory brand that’s our newest obsession in the sustainable fashion world. Besides giving us all the deets about her brand and her sustainable journey, Dana gives us a behind-the-scenes exclusive about her recent marriage and how she ended up on the cover of the New York Times amid COVID-19. 

Dana tells us she’s always been passionate about sustainability and waste reduction. After working in the fashion design industry for over a decade, she realized that fashion companies weren’t prioritizing making sustainable, conscious fashion in the way she had wanted. So, back in 2018, she decided to leave her job and find a place where she could make an impact in the industry in ways that were meaningful to her. 

Soon, Dana teamed up with a factory she worked with in the past and devised a plan to use their manufacturing waste to make items for her brand that is now Hyer Goods. Hyer Goods creates bags, wallets, and other accessories made of recycled leather waste that would otherwise be thrown away. Factory waste never looked so good. 

Dana’s worked with recycled materials in designing fashion items in the past, so it just clicked with her that this was something she wanted to utilize in her own brand. While some consumers hesitate to purchase from her line because they want vegan leather, Dana tells us she doesn’t want to create more plastic and waste in the world.

Some may not know, but the majority of vegan leather is plastic material, made using oil, and is not going to degrade. By using waste that’s already here, Dana’s brand is not contributing to the fashion industry’s waste while helping to reduce it. Still, Dana says she understands that consumers have different values and definitions when it comes to sustainability. 

Despite COVID-19, Dana’s clearly still been keeping busy in both her business and personal life. In fact, just a couple of weeks ago, she tied the knot! Congrats Dana!

Though she planned to have a wedding gathering in May, Dana decided to have her wedding sooner due to COVID-19. With everything going on, she realized how quickly the world and our health can change. So she borrowed a dress from her friend, gathered her immediate family, and went for it! Though it may not have been what she had planned, she tells us it was still a memorable experience and she enjoyed the intimacy of it. Oh, and did we mention, her wedding story ended up being featured on the New York Times!?

Yep, it’s true—Dana’s sister pitched Dana’s spontaneous wedding story to the NY Times and the newspaper ended up asking to feature her in a story about how people in New York are dealing with COVID-19! Dana’s wedding turned out to be a very exciting, whirlwind experience for her and her family. Making the front page of the New York Times? Talk about wedding goals!

Before we let the newlywed go, with Dana’s experience in the sustainable fashion industry, we asked for her advice to those interested in becoming more sustainable in their fashion, beauty, and everyday life. In response, Dana tells us to work toward being better, not perfect.

Becoming sustainable is an evolution, not something you can become overnight. Dana advises people to make changes where they can and be better in the ways they can. If people expect others or themselves to be perfect and nothing less, no one will get anywhere! We all define sustainability in different ways, so take it step by step and work toward a sustainable lifestyle that is meaningful to you!

Besides needing some new bags this sunny season (Hyer Goods has us covered on that one), many of us are wanting to refresh our wardrobe as well, so we asked Dana what some of her favorite fashion brands are right now for some much needed inspo.

She tells us that she basically lives in tees by the eco-friendly brand, For Days. She also recommends Sylven New York as a place for sustainable fashion items; her go-to are their killer booties. She also recommends us to shop for vintage items, which make up a large portion of her closet. We’re definitely taking notes for our next shopping spree!

P.S. Right now, Hyer Goods is making limited edition masks out of recycled materials. For every mask purchased, one will be donated to an essential worker in need. Check out their website & Instagram @hyergoods to grab some cute springtime accessories and give back to the community.