Behind the Scenes: Spring Farm Photo Shoot

Maureen Dunn Fetscher, founder of fair trade apparel and jewelry company Mata Traders

Hi there! I’m Maureen, Mata Traders’ founder and creative director, here to take you behind the scenes of our latest Spring 2023 photoshoot. Our setting? Beautiful County Rail Farm in Huson, MT.

county rail farm in huson montana
Before I tell you more about this cool little shoot, let’s back up. You’re probably thinking, hey, isn’t Mata Traders based in Chicago? Are they really flying to Montana for a photo shoot? The short answer: yes we are, and no we didn’t.
It’s a long story. The gist of it is: Mata Traders is based in Chicago. We were founded there and have deep ties to the fair trade community there. Missoula is now my home, after my family and I moved to Seattle back in 2017 for my husband's job, then relocated here during the pandemic. Our son and toddler twins have kept life crazy busy (crazy. busy.), but we're loving being close to family and immersing ourselves in the really remarkable, creative community here. It has been intense, juggling family and running a business from another state, but Mata has remained a steady force in the fair trade apparel world, and I'm excited about our future (more on that later).

In a lot of ways, Missoula has felt like a sister city to Chicago - it’s a big, small town - it has a university, natural beauty everywhere, an open and inclusive spirit, and is laden with artists, makers, and entrepreneurs. While our staff keeps things moving back in Chicago, I feel so lucky to have this landscape of amazing women (many of whom are willing to model for us, as you'll see!) supporting the brand here. 

One reason I enjoyed this photo shoot so much was that it gave us the opportunity to work with some seriously bad-ass local Missoulian female entrepreneurs and creatives. The day was so easy and fun. Honestly, this post will read as more of a who’s who of this shoot than a play-by-play of the day, but I promise you’ll love them as much as I do.

Our photographer Rio Chantel, who takes the most exquisite photos and brings out the natural beauty in all of her subjects, really set the tone for the day. The environment felt supportive and collaborative, which is always how I do my best creative work. Here we are just getting rolling:

fair trade photo shoot at county rail farm

The shoot took place at County Rail Farm, a small queer run organic farm owned by Tracy Potter-Fins and Bethany Stanbery. They not only agreed to host the shoot at the farm, but also to be featured in it, and while their abundance of blooms were a major highlight, their adorable little daughter Imogen stole the show. Here they are looking cute in Mata wear:

bethany and tracy of county rail farm and field five flowers
To learn more about the farm and their flower business, Field Five Flowers, check out our Q+A with Bethany.

fair trade photo shoot
Imogen assisting with the photoshoot :)

fair trade photo shoot on flower farm

Side note: if you ever find yourself in Missoula in the summer, stop and see Tracy and Bethany at our farmers market, which was voted the 4th best farmers market in the country in 2022 by USA Today. They have delicious organic greens and their flower bouquets are like little curated works of art (check out Field Five Flowers' Instagram account for some beautiful bloom pics).

sam balk at mata traders photo shoot

My friend Sam Balk, co-owner of Anomal Press, styled and helped me produce the shoot. Sam is a true trendsetter and tastemaker, and I would not have been able to pull off this shoot without her. She’s also been my biggest cheerleader and pep-talker as I start to grow Mata's roots in Missoula.
models in the mirror at mata traders spring photo shoot
More Mata muses! Danielle, on the right, works in early childhood development and has a penchant for roller skating and community building. Kathryn, pictured on the left, owns a local digital textile printing studio called Western Sensibility, which offers sustainable performance fabrics and highlights the work of local artists. Fun fact: Kathryn is a third generation textile printer.
I love working with real women to represent Mata. It’s really what our brand is about - colorful, approachable, flattering fashion for down-to-earth, powerful women. These two were a perfect fit.

And finally, proof I was here that day, too. I might look like I’m chilling, but most of the day I ran around taking loads of video footage to share with you all!

mata traders founder maureen dunn fetscher at farm photo shoot

Speaking of videos - here's a behind the scenes look at the shoot. You can find all these styles in our New Arrivals section on the website.

This photoshoot was a celebration of more than just our latest collection - it was a day to spotlight these fierce Missoula women and everything they're offering the world from our little town. Lately, I've been so energized to reconnect with Mata's design roots, and surrounding myself with this creative group got me even more excited about the Spring/Summer 2024 collection we're currently developing (yep, we start this far ahead!) and this upcoming fall collection. We'll debut some new textiles as well as some tried and true Mata fits that our customers love.

Happy summer and keep supporting ethical fashion!

Xox Maureen