‘Just F****** Do It’. The Wonder Woman of eco-friendly activewear, Jenny Thiel, is on a mission to balance her love for beautiful, subtle clothing with her desire to do good for the planet. She shares the inspirations and motivations behind Evamoso.
What inspired you to launch Evamoso?
For as long as I can remember I’d always wanted to run my own business. However, it wasn’t until university that I became focused on wanting to set up a business around sustainability and ethics; even though I had no idea at that time what that business would look like. It was my husband’s obsession with wearing bamboo tops and how good they were whilst sweating that spurred on the idea of making women’s athleisure made from more sustainable and ecological fabrics. The catalyst that made me go for it was a blessing in disguise redundancy from a branding agency, which finally gave me the necessary push to say….let’s do it!
What are your sustainable priorities for the business?
At the heart of the brand is the aim to make sustainably-sourced clothing the new norm. This is something that we can never compromise on. For us, this means using a factory that upholds a certain level of ethical and fair working conditions for their workers, choosing to use fabrics that we believe have a greater ecological impact, and lastly making products that last. Sustainability for us should mean longevity. We aim to be here for a long time (and a good time)!
How has your eco strategy developed as you have grown?
Having just launched in February of this year we are constantly evolving and finding new ways to try and be more sustainable. Our next big hurdle that we are trying to overcome is to become a 100% circular business; we are still in the research phase and trying to see how we can do this most effectively. Most people don’t realise that although certain fabrics appear to be environmentally better than others, unfortunately when they are mixed with elastane it becomes difficult to separate the fabrics for regeneration/recycling. Our goal is to offer our customers a take-back system at the end life of their pieces. If there is anyone who thinks they could point us in the right direction, we would love to talk!
How challenging has it been to maintain your eco principles?
To be honest, as a start up brand I quickly realised that being a sustainable business and maintaining low costs is hard to achieve. First, from a business perspective, it’s only come with time that I’ve realised if I can ensure what I consider ‘The Big 3’ in terms of sustainability and ethics were being met (factory, fabrics and longevity) then I could give myself less of a hard time when I couldn’t have the most sustainable option straightaway due to cost involved.
Second, it costs us more to choose to be a sustainable business. For example, we choose to use ECONYL® (a regenerated nylon made from fishing nets); we’ve designed a completely unique blend of bamboo and organic cotton to ensure longevity; or simply choosing packaging/stationary that is all recycled, recyclable or the better eco-option. We hope with time these things will slowly change for the better.
What have been your biggest milestones and triumphs until now?
I would say three milestones stand out so far – Without doubt, the day I received my first collection. Opening boxes and looking through the pieces after two years of imagining, designing, sampling was now an actual reality. It’s fair to say there were a few happy tears shed that day!
I hope this doesn’t come across as cheesy but quite honestly becoming an Eco-Age Brandmark has definitely been a big milestone for Evamoso. As a silent admirer of Eco-Age, I never thought I would be part of this awesome organisation that is championing sustainable fashion brands.
And thirdly, the first time I saw a customer that I didn’t know wearing one of my items that was just awesome!
What have been the main prohibitors to your progress in building a sustainable business?
The biggest hurdle has been aligning a sustainable business with an achievable price point. I want Evamoso to be attainable without compromising on sustainable production and ethos. However, with fast fashion embedded in our culture this is a difficult message to convey. The culture of buying and disposing has become the new norm so changing people’s mindset to a new ‘sustainable’ norm is challenging. We’re slowly getting there, but the great thing has been our Evamoso family…these women keep us smiling and reminding us we’re on the right path.
What advice would you give to anyone hoping to launch a sustainable business?
A wise friend once told this wonderful acronym: JFDI – Just F****** Do It. If you feel passionate enough about something to imagine working on every day of your life then the worst thing you can do is not give it a go. Most importantly do it now, don’t waste anymore time.
Do your research. Being a sustainable business means unfortunately that you are being held even closer to the magnifying glass on how ‘sustainable’ you are.
Be content with your product but know that it won’t be perfect. It’s with your customer feedback and platforms like Eco-Age that you can get the necessary feedback to perfect your products and keep evolving them.
Which other sustainable businesses have inspired you?
In terms of transparency and sheer growth I would have to say Everlane have been a great example of a successful sustainable business. I l love that fact that you can see exactly what factory has been used for each product whilst still maintaining a great aesthetic with an achievable price point.
I would also have to say that BAM inspired me as I got my first pair of bamboo leggings from them, which got me thinking of alternative fabric choices.
Lastly, I know this isn’t ONE business as such, however I am constantly being inspired by the women in my life who have set up businesses or are about to; from setting up a floristry or upholstery business or a soon to launch skincare range. These women are all thinking about sustainability as the foundation of their business which is just amazing. With the help of these ladies and all the wonderful Evamoso family behind us we’re well on our way in making sustainably-sourced clothing the new norm.