Myla Davey is an entrepreneur, creative and all around cool gal. She founded Cherry Gardens in 2018, named after a neighbourhood in Kingston, Jamaica, where she lived as a child. It’s a sustainable, all-inclusive loungewear brand with ethical production and community focus at the forefront.
Below, we had the opportunity to ask myna about all things creative inspiration, her entrepreneurial journey and the matriarchal wisdom she’s picked up from her family.
Who in the generations before you served as inspiration in your life? What lessons have you picked up from them, re style, intuition, spirit in life?
My grandma was a very talented artist. She passed away when I was pretty young but I’ve always felt a spiritual connection to her, even now, and I like to think she’s the one I inherited my creativity from. Many of my extended family members and I each own a piece of her artwork which I always thought was such a special, tangible memory to leave behind. It's definitely my most prized possession. Continuing that tradition, I named the Romeo Top from Cherry Gardens after her - it’s her last name/my mother’s maiden name.
My mom is also a huge inspiration - she was one of the first women in the tech industry (like, when it first started back in the 80s). She taught me to follow my passions (strategically) and the work ethic to go along with it. I think I also picked up her dry sense of humour.
What was your incentive in starting Cherry Gardens, and tell us the story behind the name?
I was working in fashion and feeling pretty stagnant in my job at the time, so I wanted to start something of my own, as kind of a pick-me-up passion project that would re-energize my creativity and allow me to use my skillset in a different way. The final straw that lit a fire under me to actually get it going was a bad online purchase experience — this clothing item I had bought arrived and was terrible quality, overpriced, and AND a different colour than I had ordered. On top of that, the owner could care less about delivering a good customer experience.
It sounds trivial but it made me think ‘I could do this so much better—why aren’t I?’
The brand is named after a neighbourhood in Kingston, Jamaica, where my family and I lived for a couple years. I was only 7/8 years old so that was a really formative experience for me; leaving everything I had been familiar with to start a completely new life in a different country. I like to think that I do all of this for my younger self, that little girl in Jamaica. I can’t remember exactly when or how the name Cherry Gardens popped into my head, but I instantly knew it was the one.
What has been the most rewarding part of starting your business and brand?
I'm really proud of and inspired by the little community I've built through working on this brand. Seeing other people getting joy out of my clothing is the most rewarding to me. I’m really into that tangible aspect of art/design/fashion — I want to leave something behind. Bonus points if others are really into it.
How have you overcome the biggest challenges you’ve faced as woman of colour in the entrepreneurial space?
I think there’s a lot of self doubt that comes with being part of a minority group. You always have that lingering feeling that you're different, that you don't fit in. It was especially challenging for me growing up, because as a biracial woman, I didn’t see anyone that looked like me in mainstream media and so I had a hard time cultivating my own sense of self. Eventually, I realized that the differences I had considered to be a weakness are actually my strength--I have a unique perspective and I'm free to write my story any way I want. One of the things I will always prioritize through Cherry Gardens is diverse and inclusive representation, so that everyone can see themselves reflected in this brand.
When do you feel the most comfortable and confident in yourself?
At home alone in my comfies. Or being in nature; it always puts things into perspective.
What does success look like for you? Has that vision changed since you first started?
For me, success has always meant being able to make a living doing something I love - life's too short for anything less.