Posts

Earth Day

How many Earth Day emails have you gotten today? Hopefully, a lot! 

But here’s the thing, dedicating a day to the Earth doesn’t mean much without action.

And while fashion isn’t the most obvious choice to associate with “going green,” it is one of the biggest contributors to climate change… 

Which makes our sustainability efforts in the fashion industry that much more important.

Will the small indie brands single-handedly solve the fashion pollution problem? No.

But they will, and have, put pressure on bigger brands while helping to educate consumers on why their purchasing decisions matter.

So, on that note, I asked four Factory45 Alumni to share how they “restore our earth” (the theme of this year’s Earth Day) through their sustainable fashion brands:

IMBUED

Imbued's intention from the very beginning has been to use ‘slow fashion’ to support the restoration of our Earth. By setting high standards to use only organic fabrics grown by small farms, eco-consciously sourced plant dyes for fabric coloring, and offering limited collections, Imbued has made a commitment that almost no fashion brand is making. 

Imbued's botanically hand-dyed bandanas and Intention Setting Dye Kits are small but mighty solutions that support the Slow Fashion + Regenerative Farming movements. It’s a way to create more restorative conversations and actions that support our planet. Imbued’s bandanas and dye kits are for The Earth-Wise Human Who Knows…It’s not just a bandana, but a small act of radical change. 

— Kristin Brown, founder of Imbued

Earth Day


NOVEL SUPPLY CO.

Novel Supply Co creates comfortable, gender neutral apparel that doesn’t pollute the environment or harm the people making it.

We use all natural, organic materials and natural dyes and take our products back at the end of life to ensure they don’t end up in the landfill.

We source undyed, organic cotton and hemp fabrics from a Fairwear Foundation member mill and all apparel is manufactured ethically and locally in our hometown of Vancouver, BC. We only do small batch natural dyeing to ensure we minimize our impact on the planet as much as possible.

— Kaya Dorey, founder of Novel Supply Co.

Earth Day


REPRISE ACTIVEWEAR

Reprise makes plant-based activewear, aimed at reducing the amount of plastics in our workout clothing. Our approach for carbon neutrality is to offset our carbon footprint in our supply chain and have a mix of Reforestation, Renewable Energy and Community projects. We’re based in New York and we produce with local manufacturers. It’s really important for us to build that relationship with them and keep everything local. 

— Mary Bemis, founder of Reprise Activewear

Check out Reprise featured on NBC News this week! Click here.

Earth Day


TRUED APPAREL

We restore the Earth through sustainable fashion by using natural fibers. We ensure that our clothing doesn't contribute to plastic pollution by relying on sustainable and low-impact fabrics like Tencel. We also like to think we lead through example and help heighten awareness around conscious consumer choices.

Many people that are drawn to our aesthetic are also very aware of workers' rights, environmentalism, supporting small business (especially women and BIPOC-led businesses) shopping local, and are willing to go the extra mile to do the right thing.

— Melissa Woods, founder of Trued Apparel

Trued


Happy Earth Day, everyone!

 

 

 


Age-Defying Pillow

“I am so in LOVE with this pillow…”

I’ve said every night for the past week.

My husband is sick of hearing about it, but I’m not quite over it yet.

When Factory45 alumni Lydia Lopez-Astrov asked me if I was a side or stomach sleeper, I admitted (with my tail between my legs) that I am, in fact, both. 

Which I know is the worst, but I can’t kick the habit. 

Not only is stomach sleeping horrible for your back and side sleeping bad for your shoulders, but both styles of sleeping exacerbate every 35-year-old woman’s nightmare:

Wrinkles!

And while I’m all for the natural progression of aging, when Lydia told me she was creating an age-defying sleep-mask-style pillow I’ll admit I was intrigued.

But I knew finding truly sustainable materials for the pillow wouldn't be easy…

If you’ve had a chance to listen to the BEDDING episode of The Clean Living Podcast, then you know there are some problematic things about everyday sheets, mattresses and pillows.

Polyester or polyfill, which are plastic materials derived from petroleum, are the main culprits.

We spend nearly a third of our lives sleeping and yet most of us don’t know what we’re sleeping on… 

A recent New York Times opinion piece from journalist Nicholas Kristoff put a spotlight on endocrine disrupting chemicals — many of which come from plastic materials — and how they’re negatively affecting sperm counts, among other things.

So, while yes, I was excited about a pillow that aims to decrease wrinkles, it was the natural latex filling, organic cotton shell and 100% silk pillowcase that not only has me sleeping easy at night but may also make this one of the most sustainable pillows on the market.

Like I said, I love it.

When Lydia joined Factory45 in 2019 she had worked on upwards of 40+ prototypes and says, “I have slept on every version over the past several years and I am no longer able to sleep on any other pillow.”

I’m so glad the world is waking up to the need for more sustainable sleep.

You can read more about Lydia’s story here and shop the Sleep Goddess Beauty Pillow here.

 

 

 

Lydia is offering the Factory45 community a 20% discount on any purchase. Use the code “Factory45” at checkout — offer expires on March 15th!


clean living podcast

Ethical Fashion

One thing you know for sure: 

You don’t want to create just any ole’ fashion brand.

You want to ensure that it’s ethically-made and prioritizes people and planet.

But what does that mean?

And even more importantly, how do you ensure that ethical labor practices are built into your business model from the start?

Do you ask your factory for a list of wages?

Do you look for safe exits and open windows on your factory tour?

And how do you explain to your customer why your prices are 3X higher than the average fast fashion brand?

With so much greenwashing happening in the fashion space, there are five things you need to do if you want to create an ethical fashion brand.

And in this video, I’m sharing exactly what they are — just click the play button below.

 

 

Enjoy!

 

 

 


LATELY, ON THE CLEAN LIVING PODCAST… 

Listen on Apple Podcasts here | Listen on Spotify here

GROCERY LIST | It’s the first episode of the new year and today’s topic was requested by a listener — she wanted to know what my weekly grocery list looks like and some of the food brands I recommend. So, for today’s episode, here is my grocery list…

TAMPONS | Ladies, we have got to stop putting bleach up our hoo-hahs. “Bleach? I don’t put bleach up there…” you may be thinking. But if you use conventional tampons, you are absolutely putting bleach (among other things) into your vagina 4-7 days per month…

MILK | In the years leading up to the “Got Milk” campaign in the 1990s and early 2000s, U.S. milk consumption was at an all time low. The American dairy lobby knew they needed to do something to stay relevant and survive, so with enough persistence (ahem, money) it convinced the federal government to step in. Here’s what happened…


To celebrate the launch of The Clean Living Podcast, I’m hosting a giveaway featuring four amazing eco-living brands.

There will be SIX WINNERS and here are the prizes:

On Wednesday the 21st I’ll post the details again about how to win but since you’re on my VIP list, I wanted you to hear it here first —

To enter the giveaway on Wednesday:

  1. Subscribe to The Clean Living Podcast (you can actually do this step now)
  2. Listen and leave a review!
  3. Screenshot your review and share it on your own Instagram Stories
  4. Tag @factory45co and @cleanlivingpodcast in your IG Story

*Each additional slide in your IG Story counts as another entry into the giveaway!

I know this takes a bit more effort than your average IG giveaway, but these prizes are so good that I had to make it worth it ; ) 

I’m really excited to share the first four mini-episodes of the podcast with you — 

Go ahead and start listening here!

Always so grateful for your enthusiasm & support,

 

 

 


clean living podcast

clean living

What’s really in the products we use and buy every day?

Is it possible to change our lives by becoming more thoughtful consumers?

For most people, it’s overwhelming to sift through research about pollutants and toxins when you’re just trying to make it through the day, put dinner on the table and get the kids to bed.

But there is so much that we don’t know about the products we use daily.

We don’t know who to trust, which ingredients to avoid, what to switch to and which companies are greenwashing a lie.

And that’s what I’ve set out to explore through The Clean Living Podcast.

With mini episodes under 10 minutes, this podcast helps busy women live more sustainably in the areas of home, food and beauty.

And with one week until the first episodes go live, you can now listen to the trailer (just click the play button below):

Listen on iTunes HERE  |  Listen on Spotify HERE  |  Listen on Google HERE

If you’re interested in learning more about clean living through this podcast, it would mean so much to me if you clicked the “Subscribe” button on your podcast platform of choice.

The success metrics of a new podcast (as determined by iTunes, Spotify, Google, etc.) are based on the number of subscribers and the number of episode downloads in the first week.

Your early support will make a huge difference in helping to spread the word about The Clean Living Podcast.

Subscribe on iTunes here.

Follow on Spotify here.

Subscribe on Google Podcasts here.

Again, thank you so much — I can’t wait to share the first three mini episodes with you next week.

More soon,

 

 

 

P.S. The Clean Living GIVEAWAY is also happening on Instagram next week! Keep an eye out for the chance to win a dress from Factory45’er Vesta, The Clean Beauty Box and more… here: @factory45co


SUSTAINABLE FASHION FORUM tickets are now on sale HERE! Meet me in Portland, Oregon on April 24-26 for what is sure to be a power-packed sustainable fashion experience.

I’m already getting imposter syndrome just looking at the line-up of incredible speakers, but I'm thrilled to be speaking on a panel over the weekend.

Whether you’re in “idea stage,” have an established brand or are a seasoned pro, I’ve heard the Sustainable Fashion Forum does not disappoint (this is my first time attending!). Tickets are available for purchase here.

Sustainable Fashion Forum


SHOPIFY’S SOCIAL IMPACT TEAM launched a Sustainability Forum last week that’s free! You can join in the conversation and ask questions of various people in the field of social entrepreneurship. 

I’m one of the designated “sustainable fashion experts” and this is a great opportunity to get some of your questions answered quickly about supply chain, packaging, social impact and more. You can check out the ongoing conversations or start your own HERE.

factory45 shopify


SUSTAINABLE FASHION STARTUP FROM SCRATCH: WHERE TO BEGIN is now available to watch HERE! I’m running an encore of this episode since we had some email issues when it was originally sent out a few weeks ago. 

In this video, I’m sharing the first five steps to consider when creating a sustainable fashion startup from scratch. You can watch the five-minute video here.

sustainable-fashion-startup


Enjoy!

 


 
 
 


Black Friday and Cyber Monday… they are THE biggest shopping days of the year in the United States and perhaps like you, I’m inclined to ignore them.

The problem? We’ve gotten to a point where small independent brands can’t afford to.

While the “shop, shop, shop til you drop” mentality doesn’t align with the business values of sustainable and ethical brands, consumer behavior has forced the issue.

The justification: If people are going to be shopping anyway, then why not give them better options?

So, if you’re inclined to shop the deals, here are 20 ethical brands that are offering Black Friday discounts and deserve your dollars:

vesta

WOMENSWEAR

Vesta | Modern & minimalist essentials for women that are 100% vegan. SHOP NOW >>

SixChel | Sustainable clothing, ethically made for women with purpose. SHOP NOW >>

Poppy Row | Size-inclusive luxury basics, offering sizes 2-28. SHOP NOW >>

Nine56 Studio | Made-to-order capsule collections, manufactured in Minneapolis. SHOP NOW >>

Harly Jae | Feminine, vintage inspired designs, responsibly made in Canada. SHOP NOW >>

PonyBabe | Eco-friendly loungewear, designed & manufactured in Brooklyn. SHOP NOW >>

GalaMaar | Timeless womens swimwear crafted in Los Angeles. SHOP NOW >>

milo+nicki | Cruelty-free & sustainable womenswear with Indian & Zambian roots. SHOP NOW >>

Sotela | A body-positive women's brand, selling closet essentials. SHOP NOW >>

Dallas Daws | Limited edition, made-to-order apparel handmade in Minneapolis. SHOP NOW >>


cultural detour

MENSWEAR

Cultural Detour | A collection of accessories handcrafted from antique & vintage kimono. SHOP NOW >>

Mayor | Organic cotton, short sleeved, button-downs for men. SHOP NOW >>


novel supply co

UNISEX

Novel Supply Co. | A sustainable lifestyle brand, designed for the urban adventurer. SHOP NOW >>

THOM KELLY | Mens & womens plaid shirts made in the USA from sustainable fabrics. SHOP NOW >>

Be Kind Vibes | Mens & womens eco-friendly apparel for conscious adventurers. SHOP NOW >>


fair seas supply co

ACCESSORIES + CHILDRENS

Fair Seas Supply Co. | Organic Turkish beach towels for life's great voyages. SHOP NOW >>

Regenerous Designs | Versatile, upcycled accessories handcrafted in the USA. SHOP NOW >>

Liz Riden | Handcrafted leather goods that work in every woman's wardrobe. SHOP NOW >>

Mamachic | The do-it-all scarf for the do-it-all woman. SHOP NOW >>

Bevy Goods | Ethically-made handbags that take you from day to night. SHOP NOW >>

Pure Colour Baby | Organic baby clothing and accessories handmade in Canada. SHOP NOW >>


Market45

macbook on desk showing market45.co

For over four years, I’ve worked with designers and entrepreneurs to launch fashion brands that are sustainably and ethically made.

I’ve had the unique perspective of seeing these brands build their supply chains, think carefully about their business models and bring value to shoppers who are looking for better options.

It’s been a ride, and I’m so proud of the work we’ve done.

But, like any serial entrepreneur, I know there’s still so much more to do.

Two years ago, I envisioned a platform where I could sell the products that have launched through the Factory45 program.

I wanted to create a marketplace that would make it easier to shop sustainable and ethical fashion, all in one place.

So, what did I do?

The same thing I do every time I come up with a new (sometimes hairbrained) idea.

I hopped on the phone with my creative director to walk her through the vision:

  • I want to launch with 20 Factory45’ers to start.
  • I want to send traffic to their online stores.
  • I want to offer a discount incentive to shoppers.
  • I want to make enough money to break even.
  • But ultimately, I want to help the brands grow.

Could we make that happen? I asked her. From a tech perspective, is it possible?

And for the sake of full transparency, at first we couldn’t.

The platform I initially envisioned was just too complicated — there were too many moving parts.

So, in June we decided to scrap the whole project.

But what usually happens when you take a deep breath and walk away?

You find clarity.

And thankfully, that’s what happened.

We put aside the ideal for “perfection” and came up with the “good enough” option. (This is a beneficial lesson for any entrepreneur.)

Six months later, we are one week away from launching Market45, an ethical fashion marketplace.

Featuring 20 invite-only brands that have launched through the Factory45 accelerator program, the marketplace will make it easy to shop sustainable and ethical fashion, all in one place.

Before we launch on Thursday, November 1st you can join our VIP list here and get 10% off any Market45 order.

By signing up to the Market45 email list, it will also ensure that you’re one of the first to know when we launch next week.

I can’t wait to show you what we’ve been working on.

Grateful for your support,

 


 
 
 


Market45

Alright, podcast lovers, this one’s for you.

Read on for my top 5 podcast recommendations in the sustainable and ethical fashion space…


MISSION DRIVEN MARKETING BY RISE CREATIVE

The Mission Driven Marketing podcast was started by ethical brand strategist Marisa Flacks, founder of Rise Creative. Launching in July 2018, Marisa has hosted guests from high profile brands like The Yellow Co., as well as members of the Ethical Writers Co.

This podcast is a must-listen for anyone who wants to learn how to effectively market an ethical brand.

My conversation with Marisa about launching a successful brand is on Episode 6 here.


spirit 608

SPIRIT OF 608 BY LORRAINE SANDERS

Spirit of 608 is a weekly fashion business podcast that empowers women and builds female thought leadership at the intersection of fashion, entrepreneurship, sustainability and technology (FEST).

Host Lorraine Sanders is a seasoned journalist who has featured guests, ranging from designers to doctors to strategists to fashion photographers — all who are influencing the sustainable fashion space.

This podcast is perfect for anyone looking for part inspiration, part tactical business advice, part education of the industry.

If you love a good failure-to-success story, start with this episode.


simply lived in

SIMPLY, LIVED IN BY NINE56 STUDIO

Simply, Lived In is a podcast started by Factory45’er Meg Floersch, founder of Nine56 Studio. Following the death of her father, Meg began to question the pace of her life and wondered, “What would it look like if I simplified?”

It’s with this mantra in mind that she interviews guests who are pursuing minimalism, slow fashion, local eating and living a more purposeful life.

This podcast is perfect for anyone who is inspired to slow down, live life intentionally and explore a more minimalist lifestyle.

My conversation with Meg about shopping ethically and always moving forward is here.


conscious chatter

CONSCIOUS CHATTER BY KESTREL JENKINS

Conscious Chatter quickly grew as an industry favorite when it launched two years ago. Boasting over 130 episodes to date, host and storyteller Kestrel Jenkins has interviewed industry experts from across the fashion world.

Whether it’s Mara Hoffman musing about mindfulness, Summer Rayne Oakes speaking about slow fashion or Andrew Morgan talking about The True Cost, there’s something for everyone.

For a refreshing perspective on environmentalism and feminism, start with this episode.


wardrobe crisis

WARDROBE CRISIS BY CLARE PRESS

With five stars on iTunes, the WARDROBE CRISIS works to decode the fashion system and dig deep into its effects on people and planet.

This podcast unzips the real issues that face the industry today, with a focus on ethics, sustainability, consumerism, activism, identity and creativity.

Host Clare Press is Australian Vogue’s Editor-at-Large, sits on the advisory board for Fashion Revolution Australia and has written three books about fashion activism.

Start with this episode featuring Kestrel Jenkins, host of Conscious Chatter, from above.


Know someone who is a podcast fiend and looking to learn more about the sustainable fashion space? Share this link with them!

Happy listening,

 


 
 
 


Market45

Contemporary swimwear

This is an interview with Factory45’er Blakely Wickstrom about the launch of her brand Gala Maar, contemporary swimwear for the modern muse. Blakely took a pre-sales strategy to launch her first collection through her online store. Read on to learn more about her company and hear her advice for new brands.

Tell us about your products and company. What do you make?

Right now, I’m producing women's swimwear and being as sustainable as possible throughout the entire process — from my fabric, made of discarded fishing nets, to sourcing the only made-in-the-USA pad inserts and everything else in between.

The construction is very high quality and the design is more timeless than trend driven, with the intent being that the swimsuits should last my customer an especially long time. Swimwear is the beginning — I’m hoping to expand the product range with every season to grow into an ethical resort lifestyle brand.

Contemporary swimwear

From the beginning, you had a very strong vision for your branding and aesthetic (hello, Instagram). Can you tell us a little bit about how you got so clear on the brand direction you wanted to take and the inspiration behind it?

Coming up with the aesthetic direction was probably the most fun and organic part of the process. For my Instagram, it started with just opening myself up to all the things that inspire me and saving the images to my Pinterest without giving it too much thought.

From there I was able to organize and hone in the branding and be more strategic about what I posted. In the swimwear market, there is not a lot of diversity in the type of imagery brands choose to use. Typically it involves a “perfect” woman on a tropical beach, which is fine but I wanted to do things differently and to portray the qualities of a contemporary woman beyond shallow attributes.

When creating my own campaign images I think the most important part was hiring a photographer who was a natural fit. I loved the way Amanda Bjorn captures her subjects and how comfortable and intimate her photographs are. When casting the models I picked three girls I found super inspiring, from a dancer/ choreographer to an artist. They were all unique beauties and gave their own je ne sais quoi to the project.

And then there was the stunning location of Frank Lloyd Wright's grandson and apprentice, Eric Lloyd Wright, a compound high above Malibu which was a perfect mix of nature and architecture, my biggest inspirations aside from the female form.

contemporary swimwear

You're one of my Factory45'ers who was really conscious about being patient and taking your time with the process. You didn't rush your launch – can you tell us more about your journey with the pre-production process?

In all honesty, it was more the process than my patience that didn't rush the launch. Finding my fabric was the first step and what really set the course for my business. I did some googling and discovered that they had an office in NY so I made an appointment and met with the US sales rep. Swimwear is super technical and when your goal is quality and fit, finding the right manufacturing partner is essential.

I did encounter multiple situations where the quality or communication wasn't working out and I had to move on. Going to trade shows was key, talking to as many people as possible and making the connections so there were options and a point of reference. Although frustrating at the time, I am thankful for the way things played out as it allowed me to really hone my product, message, and branding.

Throughout this time, did self-doubt ever creep up? How did you get past it?

Quite often! Something I remember very well from the Factory45 program was your advice to celebrate the small victories, which I think is key. That and being able to reflect and see how far you have come.

It's easy to be overwhelmed and get caught up in all the things you have to figure out and the laundry list that only seems to grow so it really helps me to reflect on all the obstacles that I have overcome. Entrepreneurship is undoubtedly a rollercoaster of emotion so you just have to welcome it, roll with it and keep checking things off the list.

What has been the best thing about launching and seeing your idea come to fruition?

After working for others for so long it's really great to be able to see an idea through from start to finish and the crazy amount of learning that goes into the process is very fulfilling. I feel like I am finally being able to live my truth and practice my ethics in a proactive way. Something unexpected which I have really loved is all the amazing and inspiring women that I have gotten to meet and work with as a result.

Contemporary swimwear

What is your best piece advice for a new designer or entrepreneur that's just starting out down this road?

I would say be open to the course things take. The path won't always go how you planned and it might be the best thing for you in the end. Also, check the mundane things off the list as soon as possible. Once your launch is on the horizon you will be happy to have things like your shipping and return policies, website copy and sales forms already in place.


To shop contemporary swimwear for the modern muse, visit Gala Maar here. To read more about Blakely’s experience in Factory45, read her alumni story here.

 


 
 
 


Market45