Written by Sam Leigh - Founder & CEO on Thursday 9th March, 1 week post launching the eco|mono online store.
Buying clothes online can be hard, buying sustainable fashion online can be even harder. You want to know who you're getting into bed with, it is totally understandable.
I have written this article so you can learn a little more about eco|mono, who we are, what the vision is and who we work with, what they are paid and what's in it for us. 100% Transparency.
eco|mono started as a fashion blog back in 2016, sustainable fashion wasn't the original focus but after I did some research into topics to focus on, I began to realise that the fashion industry itself did not align with my personal values. It was then I decided to focus on sustainable fashion.
I took the time to read other sustainable fashion blogs and I'll be honest, I was completely overwhelmed with the amount of information. These were smart people writing about really important issues. I wasn't that smart. Truth. However, I knew I wanted to change my buying habits and I wanted to share my experience. So the blog became a sustainable style blog that was easily relatable for people who wanted to be more conscious with their purchasing. I began educating myself and my readers at the same time, as far as I was concerned we are on a sustainable journey together.
So then, after months of replying to comments, emails and social media messages advising my readers and followers where to shop, what pieces to buy and why, I decided to create a one stop shop. The eco|mono online store was born.
After making the decision to open an online store, the 8 months following was a roller coaster of an experience. From building a business model to drafting proposals, mind mapping logistics, having difficult conversations and being asked questions I just did not have the answers to. It was all part of the journey I was on to open the store. I messed up here and there, the first time is always the worst and then you learn to fail fast and move on quick. I still mess up but I'm a lot smarter and tougher these days. That doesn't mean I still don't have sleepless nights. I definitely do, eco|mono is my baby!
Over the next eight months we locked in 15 brands to sell on the website and lost a couple before we'd even started, I suppose it's hard for people to see your vision before its physically there for them to see. With that in mind I decided to do a pre launch photo shoot. So eco|mono followers, brands, friends, family...everyone could see the look and feel of the brand I wanted to create.
So, I locked in a photographer friend who also worked at a studio in Melbourne. She offered to do my shoot free of charge to help me get started. I think it helped that my partner was helping her with her website, so it was almost a contra deal.
Both the photographer and I did a casting and we hired two models. A week before the shoot I sent the models details of the shoot, where, when, what to bring and how much they would be paid (per hour). The amount I preposed was $22.50 per hour. So (wait bare with me) I hadn't done a shoot before, I didn't know the normal amount. Most of my "model friends" did shoots for free so I thought I was being fair. That was most certainly not the case and the models advised it was too low.
I am thrilled to be partnering with a diverse range of brands and talented designers. Working collectively towards a greater mission. From locally made or minimal waste to handmade or up-cycled all these brands are each doing their bit towards fair fashion.
When people ask us what does sustainable fashion mean and how can they possibly be 100% sustainable? The truth is, they can't, nobody can but what you can do is pick the battles that align with your values. That's why we created 10 values that each of you can relate to and then decide which brands you are going to shop based on your own values and passions.
I'm really excited about the future and building great partnerships with the people I work with. Together we will be hosting events, pop-up stores and expanding into menswear and interiors. It’s going to be a big year and I couldn’t be more ready for it.
Thank you to each and every person who has helped us get here. We ABSOLUTELY could not have done it without you.