$500 million and counting

Innovative Eco-Fashion: A Conversation with Janelle Funari on Style and Sustainability

Janelle Funari, CEO of Funari Inc.

Janelle Funari, CEO of Funari Inc. shares her remarkable journey from a background in dance to becoming a prominent eco-friendly fashion designer. With a focus on sustainability, she discusses her brands’ eco-couture collections, including lingerie and swimwear under Funari Paris, and a stylish dog apparel line, Maxine Avenue NYC. Janelle delves into the eco-friendly initiatives driving her creations, the longevity of her designs, and her plans for expansion through events and social media, including a cautious step into TikTok. The podcast concludes with an invitation for viewers to support locals and discover the unique, high-quality offerings from Janelle’s fashion world.

Funari New York and Funari Paris are eco-friendly, eco-couture fashion brands for women and men, inspired by New York City, with a focus on high-quality, long-lasting garments that reduce waste in the fashion industry.

Janelle Funari, CEO of Funari Inc.

Hello, everyone. Welcome to our latest Wytpod. I’m Stephen when your host with Wytlabs and -commerce internet marketing agency. Our guest today is Janelle.

Hi, how are you?

And now feel free to introduce yourself and let the viewers know a little bit more about you.

Hi, my name is Janelle Funari. I’m from New York and I’m a consultant and a fashion designer in New York City. And I have two brands. One is Funari New York and we just launched Funari Paris. And we also have a dog apparel line called Maxine Avenue NYC.

That’s amazing. So what inspired you to get into the fashion business?

Inspired. I say that I was like born to do this. I mean, my mother said that I started doing this at three years old. I, my family, I come from a very creative family and background. I was a dancer and a choreographer before I was a designer. A lot of my family members, like my grandmother, were a rocket dancer and traveled the world. My cousins were performing on Broadway and also dancing around the world as ballet dancer professionals.

So I feel like, and my aunt was a fashion designer in New York City, my great aunt back in the 40s. So I feel like I’m holding the torch, so to speak. I feel like it’s in my blood. I started very young. I started at nine years old. So yeah, it’s been a lifetime-long achievement of work.

You guys are awesome. Could you give us a brief overview of both of your brands? So our audience can kind of see what both of them do?

Thank you. Yes, we have Finara New York, which right now is an apparel line. It’s an eco-friendly, eco-couture collection for women and men that could be worn to the street inspired by New York City. So we have jackets, pants, and tops. And those products, like I said, are eco-friendly, which makes us stand out from the marketplace. And we also just launched, we moved back into lingerie and swim in Paris.


So that’s why the line Funari Paris was born. So that just happened fourth quarter, of 2023. We’re very excited that we just did the Curve show in New York, which is the largest lingerie show in the world. And we just launched there this week. So it’s been a very exciting week for us. And then I also have a clothing line called Maxine Avenue NYC, which is a clothing line I designed for my doggy. And then now we’ve created a full collection, including mini-me looks for humans and dogs that can match. So that’s kind of like another brand that we’ve been selling as well for dogs and humans.

Awesome. That’s awesome. So who’s your target audience?

So. Target audience, I mean, hey, it’s a fashionista. It’s someone who wants to be different. They want to stand out, but they also care about the environment. They care about resources, living an organic lifestyle, and wearing products that are eco-friendly, hyper-allergenic, and sustainable is an important part of their purchase. So we find that our clients appreciate what we’re doing with this initiative.

Enough. Can you go more into that? More eco-friendly initiatives?

Eco-friendly, I mean there are so many ways of being eco-friendly. We eliminate the carbon footprint in the fashion industry, meaning that we’re utilizing every single piece. It’s called the zero waste initiative, where you’re trying to utilize every single piece of fabric possible so that you’re not creating so much waste. Because in fashion, there tends to be a lot of waste, which I think everybody knows. We’re creating products that are high quality that last a long time. Longevity is a part of this equation of sustainability. Because you want to be able to purchase a garment that you can own for 10, or 15 years. And our garments do stand the test of time. We say that our dog clothing is so high quality. We say that we guarantee it for the life of your dog. I don’t know many brands who can stand up to what I’ve done. My dog is now nine years old and I have her in the same jacket, I keep it to show people, like the same jacket from when she was born. So this is part of what we’re doing.

I don’t think any of the dogs that I’ve ever got, my dog are still around. So that makes sense.

Yeah, I mean, I got tired of seeing the waste of going, you know, and buying a little t-shirt for the dog, and then you wear it two times and throw it away. I was like, what’s the point of this? You know, I just, do the same thing with the clothing line. We, our clients have had our leggings now for eight years, for, you know, anywhere from five to eight years. So our clothing does stay on the test at the time. So that’s the, I think that’s the equation. Also, our materials are recycled, and organic. hypoallergenic, antibacterial, antimicrobial. So there’s a lot of initiative and a lot of thought that goes into this and there’s a lot of innovation in our products.


Awesome. What are your, what is your best-selling products?

Welcome back to the Internet! Hard to say. I mean, for Funari for the dog, or both.

Both, for both, you can go into both, of course.

Okay, let’s start with the dogs. The dog has been, I’ve been saying the dog’s taken over the world. The dog has been everything. We sell from a hoodie, like a T-shirt, a jacket, a pajama, and a dress. I mean, we pretty much do it all for the dog. And we also have a dog bag that you can carry your doggy around the city. That’s been a great seller. As far as Spinauri, I think our best seller has been our pants. Everybody loves our leggings, our joggers, our pants, and our jackets. We find that we’re constantly selling, I hate to say it, the same thing, but we do sell a lot of the core products. Just, you know, repeat order because everyone who sees the line gravitates towards the same things. So I think that’s standard. I’m excited to say that.

I’ve been doing it since 2016 and I’m still selling the same products, which is showing you that what I’m doing is something classic and it’s never gonna go out of style. So that’s the whole point of Finari is that we wanna create a legacy, something that you can have in your wardrobe for a long period and not just throw it away like next season as you buy from another retailer in the city.

That’s great. What’s your plan for both brands?

The future. The future is bright. I think we’re just going to keep expanding. I mean, we’re just going to keep traveling with the line, doing more events in more cities. We’re going to stick to the same core products, like things that we know are selling, and just add new colors. But we kind of know what we’re doing right now. And I think right now, because of the pandemic, we’ve been locked in, so to speak. Now it’s time to blow up and expand. That’s the goal, to get this brand like in every retailer everywhere.

In speaking of expanding, what are you doing to promote the brand?

Oh, promotion, we’re doing lots of events and shows. We plan to do tons of events and tons of shows. We’re gonna work more on social media. We’re gonna probably be opening up this TikTok very soon, which we’ve been not wanting to do, so to speak. But I think the purpose of TikTok is to talk about how the brand started. So I think we’re gonna work on educating the world about how Funari started why it’s where it is and what we believe in. Because I feel like, that part of the brand is missing. And I feel like that makes people purchase more, so to speak, online when they feel like they know the brand better. So that’s going to be our goal to work on social media in that aspect.

What’s wrong with TikTok? Are you hesitant with TikTok?

I’m so hesitant with TikTok. I mean, I have my reasons. I feel like it’s a little invasive. I’ve heard a lot of bad feedback. I’ve heard that people are afraid to get robbed, you know, that, you know, putting your credit card in, people are very worried. Are these products real? Am I going to get them? Am I going to get robbed? There’s a lot of questions and I’m not sure why. I’ve just been doing a lot of market research study and that’s why we stepped away from not doing TikTok. But I think now we’re going to, we’re going to open up with it.

Which is quite scary, but I mean, I hope it goes well. I do because I’ve heard a lot of brands blow up on TikTok. We do have an online store.

You don’t have an online store as of right now?

Give me an online store. Okay. What is the website for everyone to know?

So we have two online stores. We have Funari, F -U -N -A -R -I -N -Y .com. And then we also have Maxine Avenue, NYC .com, which is for dog apparel. So we do have two brands. We like to let people know that because the connection hasn’t been made lately.

That’s great, great to hear. Is there anyone, or anything else that you want our viewers to know?

No, just I think the biggest thing we ask for our viewers is to check out what we do and to support local. I mean, we make everything in the United States. We use high-quality materials from Italy and we make them locally. So we’re just proud to say that. And if we’re just asking for more support, our best sales have been through word of mouth. We’ve pretty much grown this company through word of mouth.

We just want people to spread the word, spread the love, and come see us at our pop-up events.

Great. Well, I appreciate you having on the having coming on the podcast. I appreciate your time, Janelle. And thank you so much.

Thank you, this was great, thank you so much.





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