Updated: Jan 18, 2022
Interested in starting your own sustainable brand, clothing line, or startup company? This week’s article is an interview where we hand-selected two amazing brands that have captivating stories. I went through a series of questions with them and had them write their answers so you can benefit from them! Here are two sustainable brands to learn about; Eira Gwin and the renewable box. What is unique about them is that they have two totally different business plans, but both put their “why” of sustainability first. Through their stories, you will become inspired and educated to start your own. As always, if you have any questions, navigate to the alwaysbeawear.com forum and make a post.
To start, we will learn about the renewable box!
The Renewable Box is a company founded with the goal to help individual consumers adopt greener lifestyles through their purchase decisions and education. The accessibility of sustainability is low. Whether it is price deterrents, knowledge gaps, or inconvenience, we realized that these overwhelm consumers when starting their sustainability journey and can result in not starting at all.
The Renewable Box hopes to make it easy for people to take the first steps of their sustainable lifestyle and see that it is not as confusing or complicated as it may seem at first. Only by empowering more people to start living a more sustainable lifestyle can we hope to save our planet. We can achieve a greener and more sustainable future, but we need to collectively stand together and act. This is why we sell beginner-friendly eco-products that help you start living more eco, and create educational content to raise awareness about these important issues.
Why did you start your brand?
I started The Renewable Box after beginning my own sustainability journey and finding it incredibly confusing and difficult to navigate the information (and misinformation!) out there. I personally wished that there was a sustainability “Starter Kit” that made it easier for me to start and helped me get over the learning curve.
After researching I found that there was no set of products specifically for beginners. I wanted to make it easier for others to start their sustainable lifestyle after going through the struggle myself. So I decided to take it into my own hands and start The Renewable box and our core product- The Sustainability Starter Box!
What does your brand sell?
The Renewable Box sells eco-friendly products all from Canadian small businesses. All the products are also specially selected to be beginner-friendly and easy to use. Aesthetic and sustainable eco-products for your kitchen, bathroom, and more!
Meet the founders! Tell us a little about yourselves and your passions and how it led to your brand!
Hi, my name is Viviana! Growing up learning about climate change in school I was really concerned about the catastrophic problems it would cause, and felt really frustrated that most people/governments didn’t seem to care. As I got older and the effects worsened, I became more interested in sustainability and minimizing my impact on the planet. When I moved out to my own place and became responsible for making household buying decisions, I realized I had the power to spend my money on products and businesses that were more eco-friendly, and so I did. Combined with my interest in entrepreneurship from a very young age, I became empowered to start a business that made it easier for people to live a sustainable lifestyle, and bring more awareness to the issues by creating educational videos on social media.
How are you operating in terms of sustainability?
Sustainability is at the core of our products and how we conduct business. We sell eco-friendly products that are reusable, reduce the use of plastics, and/or cause less emissions from usage. These products help reduce waste, emissions, and help you reduce your impact on the Earth.
We also package our products plastic free by using recyclable packaging, post-consumer recycled filler, and paper tape!
What was your biggest tool in the starting phase? (Ex. Social media, networking connections, outsourced hiring, youtube, or a marketing course, other)
Social media was definitely our biggest tool in increasing awareness of my brand, but also creating awareness on the issues! Our TikTok has grown to a community of 21k which is incredible and I hope to grow on the platform even more by making more videos.
If you could give others one piece of advice when it comes to starting a sustainable business around what they’re passionate about, what would it be?
Do it!! We need more sustainable businesses out there that are doing good for the planet. A “sustainable business” does not need to just be eco-friendly products; a sustainable business could be any product/service but with a sustainability-driven focus.
Where can readers find you?
Follow us on social media @therenewablebox on Instagram and TikTok. Check out our site to get eco-friendly products to start your sustainable lifestyle at www.therenewablebox.com
Moving along, we will learn about Eira Gwin!
What’s your why? Why did you start your brand? The main reason why we started a sustainable brand is the need and the responsibility we feel towards creating a better future for us and for future generations. Our planet is in the midst of a climate crisis, it is up to each and every one of us to do something about it and manage the consequences. If we don’t, it can threaten our existence and the existence of every living being on this planet Ivona: The fashion industry is the second-largest polluter in the world. The way the industry works right now is very unethical and wrong so I as a designer feel a responsibility to change how the industry works.
My partner and I, being huge nature nerds and activists for a better and a healthier living environment, started Eira Gwin with the hope that we are going to make a change in the fashion industry and raise awareness about the issues plaguing it right now.
What does your brand sell?
Our brand sells clothes and accessories, at the time of writing only for women. All of our products are designed and made by the highest sustainability standards. Our designs are timeless and trendless while keeping the quality paramount. We make clothes that last, clothes that you can wear for a long time. These types of garments become a part of who you are, you make emotional bonds and form memories while wearing them. Remember that dress or jacket you wore on your first date with your loved one? Wouldn’t you love it if you could still wear it? We do! Even when the life cycle of a certain garment ends, it having an emotional value, you will probably want to transform it into something else that you can wear or use just so you can keep it. This is one of our goals, making timeless clothes that do not end up in a landfill because believe it or not the majority of the clothes we buy end up in a landfill, to be more precise, as much as 85% of all clothes bought end up as waste.
Personality, simplicity, and practicality are the tenets of my design philosophy. This translates to clothes that can be worn in lots of different combinations and occasions.
Meet the founders! Tell us a little about yourselves and your passions and how it led to your brand! When the pandemic started we moved to a small, rural mountain village where we have been making a life for ourselves for the past 2 years. This allowed us to enjoy everything nature has to offer, she gave us food, she gave us peace and she gave me ideas for my designs, as well as the energy to continue and face every future challenge head on. Ivona: The birth of the idea to start a fashion brand was very emotional. I’ve always been amazed by the process of creating something. Giving life to something new, whether that is art in the form of paintings, sculptures or clothes. Having said that, designing clothes has always been my passion. My greatest childhood memories are of me and my mother making new clothes. I would draw the designs and she would make the clothes I drew on paper into something tangible and real. I always wished that one day I'd be as good as she was. Then, I lost her. Three years have passed since she left us, losing my mother was a big turning point in my life. I felt lost and empty inside for a while, searching for something that will keep her in my life, feel that connection and closeness again. That's how the idea for my own fashion brand was born. The decisions to make it a strictly sustainable fashion brand came after, from my desire to contribute and give back to society and nature. During this time, the biggest support I found was in my partner, Krste. Krste: Like Ivona, I'm a huge nature nerd, I have been one since I was a kid. Love the mountains in particular. Snowboarding, hiking, foraging for mushrooms and berries are pure bliss for me. This tendency to enjoy everything nature led me to get a environmental protection engineering degree although the necessities of life had other plans so for most of my professional career i’ve been working in IT. I’ve been trying to support and help Ivona build Eira Gwin in any way possible but right now I'm using my expertise to develop an online shop.
How are you operating in terms of sustainability? Our ––brand is based upon these principles: Sustainable fabrics Responsible use of resources Recycling or reusing Safe and fair working conditions Slow production -slow fashion- Less is more Vegan fashion In our designs we use organic fabrics with natural fibers such as organic cotton, linen, hemp, etc. that don’t have toxic impact on the environment, use less energy to grow, don’t use chemicals that pollute waters and have lower carbon footprint. Another type of fabrics that we use are recycled fabrics such as recycled polyester which is also beneficial in reducing the harm on the environment. It is created from already made plastic that we are surrounded by and textile waste so its another way of preventing them to end on landfills and oceans, has a lower carbon footprint and also requires less energy to be made.
We are also into idea of upcycling and usage of deadstock fabrics. We prevent these dead stock fabrics from ending on landfills and turn them into beautiful and exclusive garments. Another important practice in terms of sustainability is that we produce in small quantities. Every piece of cloth we make is in limited quantities. This is because we support the concept of slow fashion and promote the idea of less Is more. With this practice we minimize our carbon footprint, reduce waste and save water and oceans. Also as a big advantage is that the whole process of production is made by me – (Ivona) so this really helps In lowering the ecological footprint. As last but not least, in order to make our contribution for a better future even more significant, we plant a tree for every purchased garment. Trees play an important role in our eco system . If there were no plants such as trees, we wouldn’t have air to breathe. They clean the air we breathe by absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere during the process of photosynthesis and when this process is complete as a result they release oxygen back into the air. What was your biggest tool in the starting phase? (Ex. Social media, networking connections, outsourced hiring, youtube, or a marketing course, other) We all know that social media is a powerful tool when it comes to promoting your business. Nowadays having an Instagram business account is not optional but it’s essential especially for new businesses. It gives you valuable insights for your products, possibilities to reach new customers and helps you connect with your audience on a daily basis. You can easily grow your brand with social media platforms. Social media was and still is the number one tool and most effective way for growing and expanding my brand. I've finished courses for fashion design and marketing but most of the knowledge I have is from youtube tutorials, blogs, and books. When it comes to the production of the garments I make everything from scratch which includes sketching, pattern making, cutting the fabric, and sewing. There is a wealth of knowledge on the internet and social media that has really helped me to be able to do all of this by myself. If you could give others one piece of advice when it comes to starting a sustainable business around what they’re passionate about, what would it be? The road to sustainability is long and difficult but a crucial one to take. Giving up is not an option, especially because everyone matters, everyone can make a change, not matter how tiny and insignificant, over time it adds up. So start small and build on it, for a better future for you, for us, and for everyone. Where can readers find you?. Our website is in development now but you can find us on Instagram and Facebook. Our Instagram profile is https://www.instagram.com/eiragwin/?utm_medium=copy_link
I hope you all are inspired and want to learn more about these 2 brands! Definitely give them a follow! If you are a sustainable brand and want to be interviewed, please email or DM us! Our social medias are @alwaysbe_awear and our email is email@example.com ! See you next week :)