5 Style Startups to Follow

MN Cup’s 2019 division finalists include a sensory friendly clothing line, cloth headbands, and culturally appropriate activewear
Molly Fuller Designs, a startup whose first apparel line made sensor-friendly clothes, was one of the finalists in the 15th annual MN Cup.

Courtesy Molly Fuller Designs

The MN Cup is the state’s biggest startup competition—this year is its 15th birthday!—and it provides a platform for some of the most innovative and noteworthy upcoming entrepreneurial ventures. The nine broad divisions are education and training; energy, cleantech, and water, food, agriculture, and beverage; high tech; impact ventures, for social enterprises; life science and health IT; a student-owned division; a youth-owned division; and a general division, a nice catch-all for everything else. At this point in the 10-month competition, the division winners have been picked, but here’s the rundown on all finalists that the style-minded might be interested in. 

Winner, Impact Venture Division: We Sparkle

Instead of the occasional news roundup of shops and items that give back, We Sparkle is an online directory connecting small businesses with people who care about eco-friendly and ethical businesses as well as those who want to support women-, LGBTQ-, minority-, or veteran-led businesses. The website itself is still building up its participants, but hopefully with some time, this can become a resource for those who want to find everyday ways to support what they find important.


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Runner Up, Impact Venture Division: Molly Fuller Design

Molly Fuller Design’s first apparel line creates sensory friendly clothing for youth by using classic, timeless styles that fit in a way that adds compression to meet sensory needs. The fabric and thread on every piece is as soft as possible, and with no tags, flat seams, and textured design accents specifically created for fidgeters, you might find yourself surprised by how a shirt design can make a difference. Founder and CEO Molly Fuller originally got the idea for clothing that met medical and health needs when her grandfather struggled with wheelchair-friendly clothing, so it’ll be interesting to see if her next product line changes focus to a different health challenge.


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Third Place, General Division: Millea Living

With a sleek, minimalistic design, Jackie Millea’s line of assistive and customizable products, Millea Living, was created to help people with physical difficulties function better in their homes. The height-adjustable Judith Bench, for instance, has a grab bar for stability, a waterfall seat to easily move from bench to wheelchair or bathtub, and a smooth seat texture for user movement that is juxtaposed by the non-slip rubber feet.


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Third Place, Student Division: 2True Headbands

Started by Maggie KNier, a 22-year-old college student in Mankato, 2True Headbands began when she was 13 and now has more than 3,000 sales on Etsy. There’s no bells and whistles to the headbands, but if you have a comfortable, handmade fabric headband that doesn’t slip, you don’t need anything more. 

Fourth Place, Student Division: Modest & Active

Unfortunately, the details about what Muna Mohamed is currently up to with her startup Modest & Active seem to be under wraps. The bottom line, though, is that she’s trying to help lower the barrier between sports and Muslim women of all ages by creating culturally appropriate activewear. 

Meet the top teams of this year’s MN Cup at the Final Award Ceremony on Monday, October 14, at the McNamara Alumni Center at the University of Minnesota.