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The M Dash

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Ampersand Woman: Ministry of Supply’s Kit Hickey

October 20, 2014 | Filed in: Woman of the Week

MIT isn’t exactly known as a fashion incubator, but in Kit Hickey‘s case, it was the perfect place to meet her future business partners and refine the concept for their company: Ministry of Supply. They created their first prototype in 2011, and today, the company is leading the charge when it comes to “performance professional” menswear.

What’s that, you ask?

Kit Hickey

Kit rocks the Sarah outside Ministry of Supply’s Boston headquarters

Clothing that uses technical fabrics and advanced manufacturing to blend the look of workwear with the functionality of activewear. In other words, the workday just got a lot more comfortable for all the guys out there.

Below, we catch up with Ampersand Woman Kit to hear about how she built her business and what she’s learned along the way.

Kit Hickey

Looking foxy in the Lydia

How did Ministry of Supply come about?
We all came together at MIT through the shared passion of inventing clothing. We all shared the same values, including the desire to build a great team, to continually innovate, and to build a culture of work/life integration.

Where’d the name come from?
If you’ve ever seen the James Bond movies, you’re likely familiar with the character Q, who supplies Bond with his gadgetry. Q was based on a real person, Charles Fraser-Smith. His cover was the Ministry of Supply. Just as Q prepares Bond for everything, we do the same for our customers.

Did you always want to be an entrepreneur?
My mom was an entrepreneur, so I grew up around startup life: My earliest memory is hand-cutting business cards at our kitchen table. However, I never thought I’d become an entrepreneur myself! I was in finance prior to starting Ministry of Supply, so this was a surprising change. I’ve learned that a career can take all sorts of turns, but if you follow your intuition, work with good people, and take chances on opportunities you’re passionate about, it will work out.

Kit Hickey

What are a few of the lessons you’ve learned since starting your own business?
I’ve learned the importance of surrounding myself with positive people. One of the reasons we’ve been successful is because of the team we’ve built. I think that’s true both at work and in your personal life.

What’s your personality at work in three words?
Adventurous, action-oriented.

What’s the best advice you ever got?
When I was running the Boston marathon, my dad yelled at me, “Go you hot dog, go!” Still not completely sure what it means, but it’s good advice for a number of situations.

Do you have a personal style philosophy?
Machine wash or bust.

Kit Hickey

Don’t worry, Kit. This dress is machine-washable!

If you could have a power lunch with anyone, who would it be?
Adrian Nicole LeBlanc. Her book Random Family was written after 11 years of immersive reporting. It’s incredibly inspiring how committed she was to creating a meaningful piece of work.

Success is… having a loving family, fulfilling work, and outdoor pursuits.

Happiness is… a mountain and a dog.

Perfection is overrated.

Good email communication is underrated.

What’s your motto?
Show up.


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