Today we’d like to introduce you to MeMe Thepratta.
Thanks for sharing your story with us MeMe. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
As a young mom at 17, I really didn’t have a modern women role model. I found the motivation in my kids to progress in life – starting with going to college right after HS and obtaining a degree in business. Throughout my whole young adult life, I’ve always wanted to own my own business and/or be an advocate somehow but life always got in the way and I just didn’t know how to get there… My self-esteem was low, but I knew I could do more and be more with the little resources given to me. Two children later, a new husband (insert laughing face) and many jobs – doing well at the most current one, but always wanting something more. That something more has come into the form of starting a business/organization for women by women. I’ve always been that friend most would come to for life, legal, and business advice.
It actually took an event of hardship to push me to want more in life than what I thought I could get. My husband and I packed our kids and dogs up from Atlanta, GA and moved towards to the West Coast with only a few thousand dollars to our name and new job to the City of Angels, where we didn’t know anyone. All we had was a dream and our will to make a better life for the kid’s future. My husband is amazing and supportive of every venture I wanted to take on (photography, event planning, lazy bum), me and him grew together in life and career.
In the end, with these two companies, it all came back to my earlier years of being a single mom of two by 21, with little direction and little resources. All I had was a dream to give my kids a better future than what I had as a refugee who came from Thailand/Laos in 1980. I had a good life growing up, but it wasn’t without much challenges, biased, and hurdles. I want women and all people to know that these can be overcome with a positive look on life, a good support system, and motivation. Dressing Well (Conform The People) + Being Well (Girl Social Gang) enhances you and gives you that extra push to be and live your best life as an individual. It’s not a secret that those two have the potential to boost your self esteem.
Has it been a smooth road?
In life, my struggles have always been having kids young but always making them first priority. I’ve gone through times when I was single that I didn’t have food to eat but made sure my kids were fed. They’ve seen me fail many times and seen the hardships we went through. For this, I dedicate all my success towards giving them a better future. Being a single mom young held off a lot of my dreams, but never once did I NOT work towards it. You also question yourself at that time when things are so difficult. Feeling as though I wasn’t given the correct resource, but in reality I was – I just didn’t know how to use them. After many life failures, you just kind of stop feeling sorry for yourself and start making things happen, even if it means going out of your comfort zone.
My current struggles right now is becoming flexible in an ever changing world. I do have a full-time job as a HealthCare data developer, which I love – that pays the bills and helps fund my dreams of helping women become their best. Learning how to balance it all and living a very busy life is not always easy, but it’s very rewarding. I do the website, content, and run the everyday business the majority of the time. I thank my partners for keeping me balance and stepping in to help keep everything afloat. I’m a realist and I know there is so much work to be done and so much to improve myself, but I took the biggest step possible and that is to start it. What makes me smile at the end of day is when I know I’m actually empowering women or men to be their best self possible even if it’s little steps. I really have a love for life and helping people work towards a goal.
So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Conform The People and Girl Social Gang story. Tell us more about the business.
In 2018, the idea of forming Conform The People, a women’s clothing company was conceived. In 2019 we made it happen on a profitable scale. My business partner Nitda Louangkhoth resides mainly on the East Coast, just proof that any idea or company can work as long as there’s great communication and accountability. Our initial idea was to offer affordable women’s clothing via an e-commerce platform. We have now transitioned to a more high fashion but still affordable fashion. We can’t deny it, clothes do make you feel some type of way. We hope to inspire, empower, and make a women feel sexier in our collection. With the whole pandemic we are currently strategizing on how to pivot ourselves to be more flexible in an ever changing world/economy. We always keep the customer in mind when putting out a final product. We are most proud that we have started our dream jobs of helping women enhance themselves on a physical aspect. You dress well, you feel well.
My other baby is a women’s community called the Girl Social Gang. Back in the late 90’s, I was in a local gang. Now, instead of tagging and causing havoc, I’m in a different girl gang. A girl gang that is stronger than the one I was in back in the 90’s 🙂 . This one is more mature and will get you started in the right direction. Gangs have one thing in common, it’s a community and that is why we call ourselves a gang. We are some bad ass women who have gone through some “things” in life, but we have learned from it and using it in a positive way. The inception took place in 2019 when I had many friends asking to do brunch/coffee dates and I was stretching myself thin. So the idea came up to have one brunch date with five friends and they were encouraged to invite 1 of their friends as well. This was a form of networking while having a delicious meal at a nice LA/OC instaworthy spot. Of course, with the pandemic that was short lived but we took it online and have since found other social ways to help women network. We hosted a virtual pop up shop via Instagram for women owned small businesses and have even participated in providing lunches to 3 different front line workers around the US. In 2020, Tram Nguyen joined as a co-founder/Operations Director and Whitney Abbey as our Marketing/Creative Director. Our goal for this girl gang is to help women be the best version of theirselves possible. Mind, body, and soul.
How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
For Conform The People, opening up a textile space in Thailand or Laos. For mostly women to work at making the clothes in a healthy and safe environment. Not only will they get paid well, they will be able to take advantage of English classes, and classes to teach them what they need to know to move up and out in the world. We want to attract employees who will do the best job at our company and in return we will give them the tools and resources they need for their future, whether it be with our company or else where. We would like to see our clothes be worn with confidence and satisfaction. We want to be that brand of high-end affordable fashion that is known and loved.
For the Girl Social Gang our motto is “Level Up!”. Having a virtual platform to obtain knowledge with life/work skills and for employers to go in and look at profiles so they can see they have gone through our training. We want corporate companies to come to us to find women to empower and hire for their own company. We want to teach young women what it’s like out in there in the real world if they’ve have little or no guidance. GSG would also like to plan more events for networking and just be a hub for women who just moved to the area, need a support system, AGAIN….just be the best version of theirselves possible. We hope to have a permanent event space in the next five years to host these things and invite women to gather. We want to be nationwide/worldwide and have these girl social gangs all over! Power in numbers!
- Website: www.conformthepeople.com and www.girlsocialgang.com
- Email: email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @conformthepeople @girlsocialgang