Avi Loren Fox


School: Temple University, College of Liberal Arts, Honors Program, 2010
Major: Environmental Studies (Geography & Urban Studies Minor)
Company: Wild Mantle

What is your hometown?

Narberth, PA

What are your hobbies?

Travel, photography (also a part of my profession, but I still do it for fun when we travel), bike ride, cozy up with a good book, and most of all spending time with family and friends.

What is your favorite food?

Really good sushi

What business stage is your company?

We’ve completed our “launch” phase via two Kickstarter campaigns and establishing basic operations. Now, we’re switching gears towards strategy and scaling.

What inspired you to start your own company – especially a company with a social impact?

I always wanted a cozy winter hooded scarf and could never find them in stores. Finally, I decided to make one for myself out of some cozy thrifted sweaters, simply because I wanted one. People saw it and said, “What is that? I want one!” Before I knew it, they were asking if they could buy one from me. In terms of social impact, I was really passionate about sustainability before this happened and consciously branded Wild Mantle so that it could also be a vehicle for creating a conscious impact.

Could you provide a personal statement about your entrepreneurial journey and the role that Temple may have played in that journey?

The Temple Honor’s Program definitely served as a training ground for my entrepreneurial spirit. After my freshman year, I decided I wanted to start an environmental organization called Narberth Greens in my hometown of Narberth, PA, to create measurable change and help lower greenhouse gas emissions. Honors Director Ruth Ost really supported me in this venture and helped me to build running the organization into my Temple experience via independent studies and involving other students. At Ruth’s encouragement, I applied for and won a Morris K. Udall Scholarship for my work with Narberth Greens. While Narberth Greens was a non-profit organization, launching and running the enterprise in tandem with my classroom coursework gave me a strong entrepreneurial skill set which later came in handy when I launched Wild Mantle.

What has been your greatest challenge?

The entrepreneurial journey is difficult and rewarding at the same time. Some days you feel fueled, energized, and unstoppable. The very next day, you can feel defeated with worthless ideas. Do not ever compare your Chapter 1 to someone’s Chapter 20. When you stay in your lane, there is only you, your vision, and the end goal. If you continue to be persistent, confident, and adaptive, you will be successful!

What has been your greatest challenge?

Managing my own expectations.

What/who has made the greatest positive impact on you throughout this journey?

My boyfriend Jason has had such a positive impact on both my personal relationship with Wild Mantle and the brand itself. I remember back when I was barely considering it as a serious idea, Jason was basically like: this is awesome, I believe in you, you can totally do this. He is one of the most talented people I’ve ever met, and I feel really lucky to have had his consistent active participation behind the scenes when it comes to design, strategy, photography, and brand vision.

What lessons have your learned?

When it comes to social impact, it’s great to want to change the world in one day — but real change comes from small actions over time. It takes patience and time, and if you want to make real progress you have to get good at managing the tension between practicality and idealism.

Who is your mentor/idol and why?

My most influential mentor has been Josie Maran. I’ve been really lucky to have her support since the start of Wild Mantle as a friend, customer and business coach. I greatly admire her business and how she runs it. She has been instrumental in helping me to discover and trust my own instincts and journey.

What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?

Whatever you want to launch, test it on a small scale so you can get feedback and course correct and grow from there. Being an entrepreneur, especially with the way it is glorified on social media, has become the new American Dream so a lot of people will encourage you and be really excited. This is amazing, but the only feedback that really matters is sales. Sales have to lead the way, and it’s important to pay attention to what is IPA (income-producing activity) and what isn’t. If you keep this as your guiding principle, you’ll never get in over your head.

What’s next for you and your business?

After spending the first few years creating and launching the brand, I’m shifting focus on how to maintain a solid foundation while also scaling the business. I’m also having fun going back to our original Janey collection, which is made from reclaimed sweaters. I’ve started to focus more on how I am curating the aesthetic and color palate of the materials to reflect what I’ve learned my customers like and don’t like over time. And, after forming many partnerships with online retailers, we also just established our first retail partnership with a brick and mortar store chain called South Moon Under and I’m excited to grow more retail partnerships. It’s a really exciting time!