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TRVST | Act for Change & Social Impact

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  • Ben Hart
  • August 08, 2019 04:20:01 PM
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A Little About Us

We connect people passionate about social impact championing changemakers, their projects, stories & empowering actions for social change purpose and the sustainable development goals. Our content inspires actions for good covering climate change, plastic waste, mindfulness and social responsibility across the board.

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What is a Social Enterprise?

The majority of the businesses we encounter have their primary purpose rooted in profit. And while profit-focused businesses are significant contributors to the economy, their micro impact is limited. This is why people and groups with a social mission are asking, “What is social enterprise?”, and, “How can I build one to make a difference?”  Read more What is a Social Enterprise? › The post What is a Social Enterprise? appeared first on...

The majority of the businesses we encounter have their primary purpose rooted in profit. And while profit-focused businesses are significant contributors to the economy, their micro impact is limited. This is why people and groups with a social mission are asking, “What is social enterprise?”, and, “How can I build one to make a difference?”

What does it mean to be a social enterprise?

There is no universal definition of a social enterprise. Neither is there a unifying guideline of what the social objectives of such an organization should be. These factors are mostly left to the enterprises’ executives to determine. However, according to some popular definitions, there are some things we should come to expect from a social enterprise.

The UK Department of Trade and Industry states that a social enterprise is a commercial organization targeted at social needs. While they generate profit, we expect that the enterprise invests much of this profit into improving their community, rather than maximizing returns for shareholders.

The American academic circle offers a slightly different definition; social enterprises are the types of organizations that achieve social objectives via incomes.

And the Organization for  Economic  Cooperation and  Development holds that a  social enterprise is a non-profit organization in between public and private departments and its financial autonomy is dependent on trading activities.

From these definitions, we can extract a clear understanding of the characteristics and mission of social enterprises.

Characteristics of a Social Enterprise

They are mostly for-profit

A social business is still a business; it collects and records revenue from its activities of selling goods and services. A social enterprise can achieve its social mission when it has the financial ability to do so. Therefore, social businesses are also focused on finding the right market, meeting their sales goals, and improving their profits.

However, they integrate commercial and non-profit methods

Unlike other companies that are on clear sides of the divide, a social enterprise will operate using both commercial and non-profit objectives.

Social impact is the primary objective

Their social mission remains the driving force behind making profit, raising capital, and other commercial activities. A social enterprise still operates within its social objectives, and these objectives differ from enterprise to enterprise.

For example, social entrepreneurs could create enterprises to provide more jobs opportunities for their communities, provide local services, offer health services at an affordable rate, create training opportunities, and more. What is important, is a social and environmental improvement at the same rate at which the enterprise grows.

Why Social Enterprise Matters?

Capitalism serves as a major driver of economic growth. The simple reason why our global economy has expanded quickly over the past century is trade. People can create goods and services out of their ideas, sell them, and make a profit. Today, the world records an $88 trillion economy.

So with all this money floating around, we should all be good, right? Wrong. As the world gets richer, the divide of wealth inequality widens. In 2018, the BBC reported that 1% of the world (by population) held 82% of global wealth. People are growing profits, and rather than redistributing it so that everyone has equal access, they are hoarding this money as personal wealth.

Note that although this is just one section of the problems which social enterprises tackle, this problem forms the basis of why we need social entrepreneurs.

While social enterprises have a profit-making structure, what they do with those profits is what makes all the difference. A social enterprise grows its profits to redistribute to communities, in terms of microeconomic growth, services, access, and support.

The Three Models of a Social Enterprise

Any social enterprise will (either strictly or loosely) take on one of the following models to achieve its intended social impact.

#1- The Profit Generation Model

With this model, the social enterprise engages in trading activities that have no social impact. Then, the social enterprise transfers some or all of the profits made from their business activities to another activity with a direct social impact.

#2- The Trade-Off Model

Here, the social enterprise’s profit-making activities and social impact activities are within the same venture. With this model, a social enterprise will manage the trade-off between promoting their business interests while also making decisions to support their social, environmental goals.

#3- The Lock-Step Model

With this model, the social enterprise generates financial return using a venture that has a direct correlation to the social impact that they are creating. In such a social enterprise, the business activities are the social impact activities, and they will rise and fall at the same pace.

What are some examples of social enterprise?

Every social enterprise has a social mission; the primary problem they aim to tackle in their communities. Here are some examples of such social missions, and some social enterprises working to make a difference in those fields.

Developing rural areas

A social enterprise could focus on bringing development to rural communities. This type of work is often a collaboration between the social enterprise and the local governments or policymakers of those communities. Rural areas often struggle to develop economically. They generate less revenue, have less access to goods and services, and keep losing their workforce to bigger cities. As a result, they may receive fewer allocations from the government, or experience a withdrawal of public services.

Social entrepreneurship, in this case, is a way to step into a role to solve a problem that the government does not currently consider as a priority.

Adventure Alternative

This social enterprise takes tourists to local sites to offer them authentic experiences. They, as a sustainable tourism business, work with the locals to develop high-quality experiences for visitors. Adventure Alternative also works to develop local social entrepreneurs so the community developments can grow beyond what they directly provide.

Babban Gona

Babban Gona is an agricultural franchise based in Nigeria. This social enterprise provides small-scale farmers in rural areas with end-to-end services that improve both farm yield and access to markets to sell their food products at fair rates.

Gulbarn

Gulbarn, a traditional tea company, employs Alawa people in Alawa Country in the Northern Territory of Australia. The Alawa people manage and harvest the plants, and are the exclusive providers of the tea plants for the social enterprise, Gulbarn.

Saving our planet

Many of the social enterprises we see cropping up today have their social goals rooted in environmental issues. This is because our planet is currently facing several crises. There’s plastic pollution, ocean pollution as a result of plastics, climate change, deforestation, global warming, environmental degradation from mining fossil fuels, and so much more to list. All these issues, combined, form the mission for many social enterprises.

A social enterprise with a social and environmental concern would direct its profits towards solution activities. Such as clean up, protection and preservation, recycling, providing people with sustainable alternatives for products and energy, tree planting, and other activities that will aid their social mission.

4Ocean

The 4Ocean social enterprise sells items such as bracelets, single-use alternatives (e.g wooden cutlery sets), drinkware, apparel, and gift sets. The proceeds from these sales go towards their ocean cleanup efforts. This social enterprise promises that the funds from every product sold help to remove about one pound of trash from the ocean, rivers or coastlines.

TerraCycle

TerraCycle is a social enterprise founded in the US which offers national recycling solutions for hard-to-recycle waste streams. They offer both small-scale and large-scale solutions for schools, organizations, and communities. Most of their programs are free to join, but they offer other premium paid-for services. Members can also shop their large selection of TerraCycle products.

Trinity Oaks

This social enterprise is a well-known wine brand for its promise to “plant a tree for each bottle of Trinity Oaks sold”. Since the program began in 2008, Trinity Oaks has planted over 80 million trees and counting. As a commitment to social change, this social enterprise is tackling the global problem of deforestation.

Providing access to basic amenities for developing areas

In many developing nations, access to basic amenities is limited. These amenities include water, electricity, housing, and healthcare. While government structures may exist to provide for these needs, these structures may not be functional. A social enterprise can help in two ways. They can either offer these services at subsidized rates to ensure that the majority of their target users can afford them. Or, they build a social enterprise that realizes its profits from markets outside of the community and redirects the profits from said business to the community.

Communities lacking these basics can experience significant improvement due to the social impact of any successful social enterprise tackling these issues for them.

Solar Sister

Solar Sister is a clean-energy social enterprise that recruits, trains, and enables women in rural Africa to start their own businesses. Their work provides affordable clean energy products to rural areas in Africa, as well as provides economic benefits to the families and communities of the women who work with Solar Sister.

Microcredit and microlending

For most people who live in developed countries, access to credit is the norm. However, a significant portion of the world’s population has little to no access to credit. In Canada, about 83% of the population own credit cards. But in Brazil, only 27% do, and in Uganda, only 2%. This lack of access limits social and economic growth. Fewer people can start a business, get a university degree, pay for expensive medical procedures, and more.

This need drives another aspect of social entrepreneurship as a business model. We now have social enterprises with the social goals of providing microcredit and micro-lending services to communities that need such financial access.

Acumen

Acumen started in 2001 with seed capital from the Rockefeller Foundation, Cisco Systems Foundation and three individual philanthropists. This social enterprise is an investment company specifically created to support the business of the poor and the business of people who serve poor/low-income customers.

Grameen Bank

This is a financial social enterprise established for the poor. Grameen bank, founded in Bangladesh, allows customers to access credit without collateral and other hurdles that usually disqualify poor/low-income people from receiving bank loans.

Giving back

Many social enterprises adopt the giving back approach. In this case, the enterprise founders do not establish need-specific businesses that would serve a community or group. Instead, founders can establish a social enterprise in any industry, and use the profits from the business(es) to tackle the social, environmental concerns included in their mission statement.

Mealshare

Mealshare is a social enterprise that donates a meal to an in-need youth whenever a customer purchases a meal from one of their partner restaurants.

Toms

Toms, a well-known social enterprise, has donated over 100 million pairs of shoes to people in need. The company claims to give away $1 for every $3 they make.

Mitscoots

Mitscoots is an apparel brand established in the US. Every time a customer purchases this social enterprise, they donate an item of similar value to someone in need.

Better World Books

Better World Books is another social enterprise that contributes to its social impact through donations. For every book bought through Better World Books, they donate another book to someone in need.

These are just a few industries and the different ways that social enterprises are choosing to fill different social, environmental need gaps. Many other enterprises are doing similar work, for example, Alison, a social enterprise which offers free courses created by world-class teachers.

Main photo by Olga Filonenko on Unsplash

Further Inspiration:

Sources & References:

The post What is a Social Enterprise? appeared first on TRVST.


How to Start an Online Thrift Store?

Starting an online thrift store is a great idea, whether you’re doing it for charity or looking to build a new income stream. A thrift store is a low-cost, low-entry business that anyone can grow from the comfort of their home. If you’re wondering how to start an online thrift store, this article will cover a 6-step starting guide teaching you everything you need to launch your store.  Read more How to Start an Online Thrift Store? › The post How to Start an Online Thrift Store?...

Starting an online thrift store is a great idea, whether you’re doing it for charity or looking to build a new income stream. A thrift store is a low-cost, low-entry business that anyone can grow from the comfort of their home.

If you’re wondering how to start an online thrift store, this article will cover a 6-step starting guide teaching you everything you need to launch your store.

  • How does an online thrift store work?
  • How profitable is a thrift store?
  • Finding a target market and choosing your niche
  • Where do online thrift stores get their inventory?
  • Choosing a platform for your online thrift store
  • Creating an online marketing plan

And who knows, maybe in a few years you’ll be right up there with the best online thrift stores, retailing loads of second-hand fashion. Fashion therefore more sustainable and better for the planet.

How does an online thrift store work?

Online thrift stores work similarly to the other online stores you’re already familiar with. A business owner, or consignor, puts up items for sale on the store. Potential buyers see these items, and some of them convert into paying customers. This is a straightforward process, but getting from the point of setting up the business to the point of sale is where the complexities happen.

How profitable is a thrift store?

An online thrift store can be profitable, or non-profitable, depending on several business factors. If you’re setting up a thrift store for charity reasons, then you’re not necessarily building for profit. Most likely, the proceeds from the thrifted items would be used to support your charity goals.

However, if you’re starting an online store to build an income stream, then you need to think about profitability. Your store can be profitable, as there’s a lot of money exchanged within the thrifting industry. In the US, the used merchandise stores industry includes about 20,000 stores with combined annual revenue of about $17.6 billion1. In the UK, there are approximately 4,000 second-hand retail shops2.

These numbers show that thrifting is ‘booming’ business. More and more people are looking to buy thrift items for several personal, financial, and environmental reasons. A report from Statista2 shows that in 2019, sales in UK second-hand shops saw a 17.6% rise in value. The industry is growing, and despite how many players it already has, there’s enough space for you to carve a niche and make a good profit with your business.

But regardless of how big the industry is, your focus should be on building a business that is actually profitable for you. This means sourcing products at fair prices, marking-up enough to see a good profit margin, managing your marketing spend, and so on. We’ll discuss all these points in detail in this article. If you can get these aspects of the thrift store business figured out, your store should be profitable.

Finding a target market and choosing your niche

As an online thrift store, you may experience better results by working within a niche. This means a small specialized area within the large thrifting market. For example, you can choose to thrift feminine clothing, furniture, home decor, books, gardening items, electronics, e.t.c., as opposed to all of them at once.

Here are a few reasons why:

Avoid collecting junk inventory

When you try to thrift everything you can find, it becomes easy to collect junk that you may never sell. For example, if your store mostly attracts people looking to buy fashion items, and you’ve collected a lot of books, those books will eventually just take up your space and gather dust. Also, that’s your business money tied up in products you may never sell.

Potential customers can find you better

Your potential buyers are prowling the internet using specific search terms that relate directly to what they want to buy. If your store carries a generic name because you’re trying to appeal to everyone, then it may be hard for anyone to find you.

You can sell better

Remember that what you are doing with an online store is essentially sales. Some potential customers may come to you as ‘ready-to-buy’. But others will have questions and need a bit more convincing. If you run a generic thrifting store, you may not have the specialized knowledge to effectively pitch all your products. But as a specialized thrift store owner, you will have enough time to learn about your niche and learn to sell your thrift items.

You become the go-to store in your niche

When people know that they can get ‘x’ item from you, your store stays top-of-mind for them. They can easily share or recommend your online thrift store to friends, family, or social media contacts with similar interests.

Where to source your inventory from?

Thrift Store Inventory
Photo by Burst from Pexels

The strength of your thrift store is in the quality of items you can offer to your customers. While people come to you looking for used items, they also don’t want items that look used. They want high-quality products that will offer them great value. So a major aspect of your marketing plan (that you should spend enough time researching) is where to get your inventory.

Here are some of the popular options to source inventory for your online thrift store businesses.

Brick-and-mortar thrift stores

The first and most obvious place to find great thrift items is a brick-and-mortar thrift store. These places already hold a wide selection of thrift items for you to choose from. You can find the best stores near you, hunt for items that will appeal to your customers and buy them for your online store. In this situation, what you’re offering customers is accessibility. Many people are not willing/too busy to do the leg work of visiting traditional thrift stores to find what they need. A Google search for “thrifting shops near me” should show you a few places to start.

Yard sales and moving sales

People are always looking to sell off stuff. As a thrift store owner, you should be on the lookout for sales happening within your area. Yard sales and moving sales are especially great because people usually host them to get rid of things. This means that you can bargain for a good cost price and make a decent profit on your thrift store.

Donations

Make sure that the people around you know that you’re accepting the items they don’t need anymore. Inform them of the specific types of items you’ll need. For example, if you run a fashion thrift store, don’t accept electronics donations as you’ll only build clutter in your space.

Your customers

Many online thrift stores buy items from their online community. This is a great way to keep the ‘reuse’ train going, and encourage people to waste less. Simply provide your customers with a checklist of what condition you’ll need an item in. Purchasing high-quality items from your community is an interesting way to keep a niche store stocked with great finds.

Choosing a platform for your online thrift store

Where you sell is just as important as what you sell. As an online thrift store, you’ll need to be findable, accessible, and easy to buy from. You can choose to either host your own web store, or you can sell on third-party platforms.

Hosting your online store website

The first, and most recommended option, is self-hosting; to set up your online store using an independent domain name and host. This means that your store will be fully under your control. You can design and optimize it to suit your business’ needs. Some of the best-recommended self-hosting platforms for an online thrift store include:

  • Shopify *** top recommended *** (starts at $29/month)
  • Wix (starts at $25/month)
  • WooCommerce (free, minus hosting costs)
  • BigCommerce (starts at $29.95/month)
  • Weebly (starts at $12/month for store features)

Using third-party platforms

Many people starting an online thrift store don’t have the money to invest in a website. In such a case, consider putting your thrift items on third-party marketplaces. These are online platforms built to connect sellers with buyers. Many of them don’t require set-up fees but will take a cut out of each sale.

An added advantage of third-party platforms is that they bring the target audience to you. As a business, you don’t need to spend the bulk of your time looking for potential buyers, since they are already on these platforms. So even if you host your online store on a business website, consider using these marketplaces to also get started.

Some of the best marketplaces to start an online thrift store include:

Creating an online marketing plan

An important aspect of your business plan is marketing. How do you plan to bring buyers to your thrifting shop? What would your brand look like? Would you be running ads? If yes, how much ad spend do you have? Attempt to answer these questions early on. As the business grows and its needs changes, your marketing plan will also change. But having a clear outline of your marketing activities would help boost your potential for success.

Here are the basics to make sure you cover before you get started.

  • Create and update a branded social media page. Beyond your sales objectives, social media helps to boost your credibility. Buyers may not easily trust online stores with little to no social presence.
  • You’ll need to optimize your online store’s website to rank for relevant keywords in your niche. Get started with this strategy using your product descriptions, page headlines, or even blog posts.
  • Keep an eye on your competition to see their top-selling products. By watching other online thrift stores, you can stay in the know of what your target audience is looking for.
  • Run regular ad campaigns, and make sure you’re keeping an eye out for the best-performing ones. Using your analytical data, optimize for better performance and repeat.

Conclusion

Ready to start your online thrift store business? Remember to keep researching and stay on the hunt for great quality thrift items. Like every other business, it will take some time before your store establishes itself in the market. But with good products and service, you’re well on your way to building a successful business.

Further Inspiration:

Sources & References:

The post How to Start an Online Thrift Store? appeared first on TRVST.


Being Brilliant and Human September 2020

“Being Brilliant and human” curates and shares human, practical and realistic approaches to life and work for those who are following their own path and are juggling multiple projects or streams of focus. Reflections on Nurturing Friendship Well summer is… Read more Being Brilliant and Human September 2020 › The post Being Brilliant and Human September 2020 appeared first on...

“Being Brilliant and human” curates and shares human, practical and realistic approaches to life and work for those who are following their own path and are juggling multiple projects or streams of focus.

Reflections on Nurturing Friendship

Well summer is over and we are now back to school with a bang (whether or not you have children). September for me is always the new year, I suspect that may be the same for many of us who have 13 years or so of that habit ingrained into us. I am glad that my daughter can now go back to socialising, something children can only learn by doing and in-person. So even with the epic military precision planning that the schools and parents have had to endure, it has all been worth it.

It has meant that I have been reflecting quite deeply on what friendship is, what it means to me and how important it is in my life. Lockdown has made us reflect about how we maintain those ties that bind and hopefully, how we want to nurture them as we navigate the differing health guidelines etc.

I am in that paradox of space where I want to ensure I dedicate intention and effort around my current friendships (business and personal), whilst trying to find good ways to meet new people and develop new relationships. I need to cultivate my desire for serendipity and its ability to bring joyous and bizarre results reminding us that we don’t have that much control over life and that change/uncertainty does have many good points. The podcast below offers so many little gems for you on that front!

If you want to generate some serendipity, one of those magical places is Little Conversations by Katie Elliott, for those that want to dip their toes into a low pressure way of having a thought provoking and gentle conversations with new people.

I hope you enjoy!

Warmest Wishes
Ghilaine

Are you my friend?

I have come across Laurence Yeo recently and I enjoy his fun approach. I have struggled for so long to understand what friendship is and whether I can call someone a friend with very limited evidence that they are or that they think I am one to them. This doesn’t give an answer, but a comforting thought exercise.
Link to article

Its never too late to answer an email

I cannot agree more with the title of this article. We worry that perhaps there is a statute of limitations for responses. That is just our imagination. This article gives permission and some hints on how to do it with some finesse. I have been on the receiving end of some joyful connections unexpectedly responding after a while.
Link to article

The Reliants Project

This is a great project that is looking at how relationships affect us, how we build them, nurture them and the effect they have on our lives. This article shows how our relationships change as our lives do and how hard it can be to maintain, just based on proximity and life circumstance.
Link to article

CNN story

An uplifting story about the amazing gift a doctor and a team of 19 nurses and therapists gave by hunkering down all night to care for the little ones without knowing the condition of their own homes and families. When Hurricane Laura bore down on a hospital in Lake Charles, Louisiana, the staff stayed behind to care for 19 babies in need. Some of the babies were on respirators and ventilators, some weighed less than a kilogram, some of them were born at just 23 weeks.
HT Future Crunch
Link to article

The Age of we need each other!

This article is hard to describe, but it is nourishing to read and not long. You can make a big impact in your small patch of the world, rather than being immobilised with so many problems that need solving.

“Our culture validates and celebrates those who are out there with big platforms speaking to millions of people, while ignoring those who do humble, quiet work, taking care of just one sick person, one child, or one small place on this earth…….I know that their impact doesn’t depend on their kind action going viral on the internet and reaching millions of people…….. On a five hundred or five thousand year timescale, the impact is no smaller than anything a President does.”

Link to article

A great book!

Give and Take by Adam Grant (on Amazon)
This book is proof, if you need it, that altruism and generosity will drive your success. It shares the importance of self-care, not as selfishness, but a fundemental requirement to be of help to others. I can attest to my life being so much better because I try and follow the guidance in this book. Good Karma is alive and well for me.

Podcast worth a listen

Do One Better

Do One Better
Who would have thought that serendipity can be cultivated, a little bit like luck. This is a great listen that gives lots of tips about how to stay open to new opportunities just by a few little behaviour changes and ways to start conversations. I particularly like the approach of a serendipity journal and have started one. HT Aleema Shivji

Main photo by Kayla on Unsplash

Affiliate Disclosure: TRVST is a participant in various affiliate programs, including Amazon Services LLC Associates Program and its international variants. As such, we may earn an advertising fee from qualifying purchases at no cost to you.

The post Being Brilliant and Human September 2020 appeared first on TRVST.


Slow Fashion – How to Join the Slow Fashion Movement

The slow fashion movement is a much-needed response to the growing fast fashion industry and its resulting environmental damage. If you’re asking “what is slow fashion?”, here’s a detailed breakdown of the slow fashion concept and what it means to the fashion industry. Read more Slow Fashion – How to Join the Slow Fashion Movement › The post Slow Fashion – How to Join the Slow Fashion Movement appeared first on...

The slow fashion movement is a much-needed response to the growing fast fashion industry and its resulting environmental damage. If you’re asking “what is slow fashion?”, here’s a detailed breakdown of the slow fashion concept and what it means to the fashion industry.

Slow Fashion Explained

Slow fashion is about approaching what you wear with a clear vision of sustainability and using fashion items in ways that align with eco-ethical values and goals. The point of this movement is that it encourages people to be slow with fashion. Slow to conceptualize, produce, purchase, use, and discard.

In the fashion industry of today, ‘stylish’ is almost synonymous with wasteful. On the surface, new weekly fashion styles, couture dupes, and the extravagance of fast fashion may seem to harm nothing but the pockets of those buying into the culture. But the issues with fast fashion run deep. And it’s these issues the slow fashion movement seeks to address.

The Problem with Fast Fashion

We’re taking too much from the environment

The first and most apparent problem with fast fashion is that these clothing items come from somewhere. Manufacturers make these clothing items from cheap, low-quality materials. This way, after they add up all the overhead costs, their brands can still sell the clothing for very low prices.

Manufacturers source most of the low-quality materials used to make such fashion items from synthetic petrochemical byproducts. Yes, 63% of our textile fibres come from petrochemicals, the chemical products obtained from refining petroleum. This includes polyester, rayon, acrylic, lycra, spandex, elastane, and many more derivatives. Then, manufacturers fulfil 37% of that textile need with cotton, one of the most water-consuming materials to produce in the world.

Production causes pollution

Petroleum, the primary source of synthetic materials, is one of the most significant contributors to pollution. In a world that is trying to move away from fossil fuels for energy creation, mining petroleum to feed a growing fashion industry is counterproductive.

The production process for these clothes is even more polluting. Textile production is using up our limited supply of freshwater, and sending back wastewater into our water bodies. According to one study, “Textile wastewater has a high pH value, high concentration of suspended solids, chlorides, and nitrates. It also contains metals like manganese, sodium, lead, copper, chromium, iron, and high BOD and COD value”. All of this makes it both difficult and expensive to treat and reuse.

Coloured Fabrics
Photo by Waldemar Brandt on Unsplash

Textile production also contributes to the emission of greenhouse gases such as CO2. In 2015, textile production released more CO2 into the atmosphere than maritime shipping and international flights combined. We can measure the results in increased levels of global warming and climate change.

Poor wages and work environments

For fast fashion to work and be profitable, their supply chain exists off the back of poorly paid, poorly treated workers. A report by Kate Fletcher, a popular slow fashion activist, explains how employers pay workers “poverty wages” with no overtime payment. These workers are usually under temporary contracts that offer them no benefits. And we can see this repeatedly from the point of textile manufacturing to the point of tailoring the clothes. In fast fashion, the bottom line is all that matters, and the workers suffer for it.

We’re dumping these clothes back into the environment.

Because fast fashion moves well… fast, clothes come in and out of style at an alarming speed. A survey by Barclaycard shows that one in 10 British shoppers buy outfits to take a picture for social media, and never wear them again. These clothes are either tucked in the back of their closets or sent back to the store. Whichever way, these clothes eventually go to waste.

Eventually, only 1% of these clothes will be recycled. Waste companies will bury the rest in landfills, in the oceans, or sell them off to foreign countries to satisfy the global demand for second-hand clothing.  Even some of the clothing sent off to goodwill or thrift stores can eventually meet this fate as these establishments are already overwhelmed with clothes due to the growing fast fashion industry.

Fast fashion brands are not slowing down, but you should

These brands are all too willing to churn out clothing items that no one needs. Well… until these items exist. Once they are out there, social pressures along with the must-have culture of the fashion industry encourage people to buy, creating more waste. One of the saddening aspects of all of this is the pirating of the works of creative designers.

Fast fashion brands move so fast that they don’t have the structure to create unique pieces of their own. Their solution? To steal from designers. Although laws exist to protect creatives, they are often loosely enforced, or the legal process costs too much to be worth the trouble. There have been a few public allegations of such theft against these fast clothing brands.

Is Slow Fashion a Viable Solution?

Slow fashion is one of the best solutions to tackle the wasteful culture of the current fashion world. Mostly because consumers have the power to build a new slow fashion culture out of this concept. Slow fashion tackles the problem of wasteful fashion from the bottom up. When consumers decide to buy less clothing, this reduces demand.

With a widespread slow fashion culture, brands set up simply to feed the in-and-out frenzy of ever-changing fashion trends suddenly aren’t selling so much. As a result, factory workers do not need to work long hours in poor working conditions to meet up with a demand that they will never satisfy. Further, this also takes the pressure off the textiles industry, which is using up petroleum and our freshwater to create millions of yards of fabrics. All of this change seems beyond our reach, but we can make it happen simply by adopting slow fashion practices.

Additionally, this also brings to mind the need to be wary of brands that title themselves as slow fashion brands. Although there are many fashion brands out there using ethical fashion practices, there’s also a growing problem of brands tagging themselves as ‘sustainable’ or ‘slow fashion’ to fit into the current social climate.

In Kate Fletcher’s report, she talks about how fashion media has adopted the term, ‘slow fashion’ to describe brands that are simply ‘slower’ than fast brands. It’s important to know as a consumer that this is far from what slow fashion is about. The brand should play their part by producing less and using sustainable, eco-friendly materials that can safely go back to the environment. From there on, the work is yours to do.

How to Join the Slow Fashion Movement

How to join the slow fashion movement
Photo by jordi pujadas on Unsplash

Regardless of where you are in the world, you can choose to adopt slow fashion practices and join the slow fashion movement. Here are helpful tips for getting started.

Adopt a minimalist approach to fashion

Sustainable fashion is closely tied to minimalism. A minimalist approach to fashion means that you simply do not buy anything that you will not need regularly. With slow fashion, you should be slow to add any new clothing piece to your closet. Before you do, slow down, and carefully consider if this is something you need to own, or if you’re simply following social pressures. (Also check out our guide on how to minimize your wardrobe)

Research your fabrics

While all fabrics come at an environmental cost, some fabrics are more wasteful than others. First of all, petroleum-derived fabrics, such as polyester, rayon, acrylic, lycra, spandex, elastane are off the list. Only consider them if you want to buy activity clothing, e.g. lycra jersey for workout tights. And in this case, look for clothing made out of recycled materials.

When shopping for slow fashion, make the conscious switch to more ethical fashion fabrics such as linen, organic cotton, wool, peace silk, cashmere, and hemp.

Also, research your brands and labels.

Being a part of the slow fashion movement means that you have the patience to find brands that are the right fit for you. Look for brands that make ethical fashion a priority, And even when you find them, don’t take their promises at face value, even if they claim to be a slow fashion brand. Research the meaning of their labels, the fabrics they use, and their practices. You can always reach out to their customer support team if you have any questions that are not already publicly answered.

Beyond the brand itself, ask what their supply chain looks like. Do their suppliers pay fair wages? Where do they source their textiles? How do they offset the carbon costs of their production and manufacturing activities? Taking the time to assess their slow fashion credentials is part of the change the movement encourages.

Buy good quality

The secret to using less for long is buying high-quality slow fashion items. Fast fashion brands use low-quality materials to keep their products cheap, and fast rather than slow. Avoid those. Shop at places that offer high-quality materials, with excellent quality sewing and stitching. Another tip is to buy at a place that offers repairs. For example, a real slow fashion brand will offer to fix or stitch your broken clothes or shoes, because their values go against throwing out wearable clothing.

Shop local

Sustainable fashion also means using the resources closest to you. When you buy everything online and have them shipped to you, you’re contributing to the massive amounts of CO2 emissions that the transportation industry is responsible for. So instead, adopt the slow fashion method of using what you have locally. Find your local tailors, good quality clothing brands, and thrift stores, and buy from them when you need a new item.

Buy less and use what you have.

If you simply buy less and use the most of what you have, you would be operating by the values of the slow fashion movement. When you absolutely have to purchase new items, choose a sustainable fashion store. And maximize the benefits of every item you have before deciding to repurpose or recycle them.

Conclusion

Slow fashion culture encourages every stakeholder- manufacturers, suppliers, brands, retailers, and consumers- to consider what damages and/or benefits their role may be bringing to the world around them.

As consumers, we have the power to influence the speed of the fashion world and bring on a new culture of balance and respect for the environment. By personally adopting slow fashion values, we can encourage healthy respect and treatment of the people who work in

Main photo by Morning Brew on Unsplash

Further Inspiration:

Sources & References:

The post Slow Fashion – How to Join the Slow Fashion Movement appeared first on TRVST.


How To Minimize Your Wardrobe

Clothing and accessories are significant contributors to clutter. People hoard clothing they no longer wear for various reasons. A report by WRAP says that consumers in the UK have about £30 billion worth of clothes they have not worn for the past year. By learning how to minimise your wardrobe, you can manage your space better, and rid yourself of the mental and physical clutter that comes with having too much stuff. Read more How To Minimize Your Wardrobe › The post How To Minimize...

Clothing and accessories are significant contributors to clutter. People hoard clothing they no longer wear for various reasons. A report by WRAP says that consumers in the UK have about £30 billion worth of clothes they have not worn for the past year. By learning how to minimise your wardrobe, you can manage your space better, and rid yourself of the mental and physical clutter that comes with having too much stuff.

The Problem of Owning Too Much Stuff

As reported by Forbes, the average woman in England has about 22 unworn items hanging in her closet. Assuming each clothing item is worth an average retail/resale price of £50, that would amount to £1,100 sitting in the closet. Every day, people are buying more clothing and fashion items that they simply do not need.

Unfortunately, the most likely destination for such clothing is the dumpster. Lord Taylor, who served as a Minister for Environment in Defra, UK, says that the estimated 430,000 tonnes of clothing that end up in the landfill each year could have been commercially valuable.

The global consumer fashion expenditure amounts to a combined GDP of the 126 most impoverished countries in the world. The total amount is larger than the Italian economy. Retailers sold over 107 billion clothing items and 14.5 billion pairs of shoes in 2016 alone. Experts predict a 13% increase in demand by 2021. This statistic may appear favourable for the fashion industry, but it is not. More clothing might equal more pollution when considering the prevalent system of linear usage and fast fashion.

Keeping Our Clothes Clean

Trying to keep unused clothes clean requires as much effort as maintaining the clothes we wear regularly. When someone in the UK uses a washing machine to dry clothes, they contribute to about 10% of total carbon emissions from vehicles in the UK. Maintaining clothing items we don’t use is easier said than done. Many people already struggle to care for the clothes and accessories they regularly wear correctly.

Long periods of no use and improper closet storage can cause them to develop mould, stains, cracks, tears, and so on. As such, this makes the items lose value way before the due date. The planet is battling with textile waste problems, and hoarded clothing pieces will eventually join those in the landfills.

When Thinking How to Minimize Your Wardrobe – Start with Understanding How a Cluttered Wardrobe Happens

Wardrobe Clutter
Photo by Crew on Unsplash

The strain of dealing with clutter is both emotionally and physically tasking. A survey carried out by the Association of Professional Organizers shows that 54% of Americans find surrounding clutter overwhelming.

The survey also reveals that 78% of them find decluttering daunting. Another study discovered that many mothers who work as primary home keepers suffer from elevated stress hormone levels from managing the family’s clutter. It would be much better to avoid the traps of accumulation than trying to control the clutter. Choosing to let go by decluttering and minimizing your closet can help you save more time and money.

Decluttering your wardrobe also ensures that your environment is clean and healthy. Unwanted items may go to charity, thrift stores, friends, and family, while some others will end up in the trash. A minimalist and organized closet makes it easy to get rid of insects and rodents that would generally live unnoticed under an untidy heap of clothes.

Low-Cost Clothing

Frequently, people purchase clothing, shoes, or bags because they got a good deal on it. They usually believe that it wouldn’t hurt to buy since it comes at a low price. A good number of them will discover that it doesn’t match their outfits or fit into their style once they get home. They will likely stash the item in the closet, hoping that it will come in handy someday but may end up forgotten. Minimizing your wardrobe will ensure that you do not spend money on items just for the thrill.

Whether you buy items cheaply, an individual may find it hard to part with it when they consider the price. They can also slip into closet clutter when they buy trending items just to fit in, regardless of whether they like it or not. In the world of fast fashion, trends change quickly without any prior notice. Most consumers will abandon these trendy pieces once they go out of style. Taking a minimalistic approach will require you to put an end to splurging on such items.

Buying Clothes That Aren’t Quite right

Sometimes a person may buy fashion pieces that designers claim as a staple or must-have only to realize that the item is uncomfortable or doesn’t fit their body type. It may tempt them to hold on to the item just to acquire it too. Getting a staple item is a practical thing to do, but without care, it can lead to closet clutter if care.

Other times, consumers can hold on to clothing and accessories because of technical damages. They may have bought the items in excellent condition, only to discover faults before or after the first use. These faults seem to be unfixable, at least by anyone except the manufacturer, whom they don’t have access to. Sometimes clothes shrink, develop colour splotches, earrings break, and a bag’s clasp gets damaged. These faults may develop in integral parts of the design, rendering them useless for the intended purposes.

We may keep these items we bought years ago hoping to fix them, but will later find it impossible or expensive to fix. We can easily find things ready for repair in the closets of most people. While it is excellent to repair clothing and jewellery rather than throwing them away, making a habit of procrastinating the repairs contributes to clutter buildup in our closet.

Clothes That No Longer Fit

Another reason clothing may clutter the wardrobe includes a change in an individual’s body size.

As humans, we experience health challenges, hormonal changes, or intentional weight changes that cause us to lose or add weight. When a person’s body weight changes, they’re bound to have a lot of clothes that don’t fit anymore hanging in their wardrobes.

If the weight change is intentional, they might find it easier to get rid of the clothes that no longer fit. In a case where it is unintentional, they will find it hard to let go of those clothes often because they are hoping to get back to their former size, which may leave those clothes in the closet for quite some time.

Special Occasions

It is common for people to buy or make clothing for special occasions. These clothes are usually elaborate and tailored for a single event, sometimes events that occurred years ago. Although such clothing may be of high value, they lack versatility since we can typically only wear them occasionally. Clothes for special occasions generally are expensive to purchase. Therefore, people keep them in the back of the closet for monetary and sentimental value.

Time-Saving

Some people might also believe that having a lot of clothes means they don’t have to do laundry often. So, they buy enough clothes that can last for weeks without having to wash them.

Having too much clothing, shoes, bags, and other accessory pieces stashed away in the closet demand extra effort for their maintenance. Many people may not have the required time and energy always to organize the clutter that often results from having too many clothes. When you minimize your closet, it will take away the problem of the clutter once and for all.

A minimized wardrobe is one that is easy to organize and manage. Getting dressed will be easier when you know exactly the pieces you have without having to dig through a mountain of clothes.

How to Minimize Your Wardrobe: Where to Start?

Where to start when minimizing your wardrobe
Photo by Sarah Brown on Unsplash

There are many ways to minimize your wardrobe, but according to Suzie Faux, a capsule wardrobe is the best way to go. Capsule wardrobes contain only a few essential clothes and accessories that are timeless, complementary, and durable. The term was first used in the 1970s by Faux, but Donna Karan made it famous in 1985. Karan created the first capsule collection, “Seven Easy Pieces” in the same year.

The Marie Kondo Method

Marie Kondo, a Japanese organizing specialist, invented the KonMari tidying method. The trademark method advocates tidying and organizing items by category instead of a location. As such, you can decide to tackle clothing or any other clutter in every room of your house. The method is one that is not only useful for minimizing your wardrobe; it makes tidying up the entire house easier. You can easily apply the KonMari method for organizing your closet space by choosing to tackle one specific clothing item at a time.

Kondo advises that it’s better to keep things that have great sentimental and functional value, such as t-shirts and yoga pants. In the same vein, dispose of/send to the thrift store all items that you no longer find useful or offer comfort. The famous “Decluttering Bible” was written by Kondo and contained several valuable tips for minimizing wardrobe and maximizing space.

Minimalist fashion is said to be increasing in the appeal for millennials. Minimalism could be by the number of clothing items, exactly like the capsule wardrobe. It could also mean choosing a design with clean shapes, versatile colours, with a focus on the quality of the material. A minimalistic approach to wardrobe setup is being pioneered by scientific and design research into transformable garments. Transforming clothes could change aesthetics like colour and design.

We believe that creating eco-friendly clothing that consumers can wear in different ways will satisfy a wide range of needs. Apart from preventing waste, it will also reduce the strain of shopping on consumers drastically.

How to Practice Mindful Shopping to Prevent a Relapse

One should be intentional every time when attempting to minimize your wardrobe. Each individual has to consider some factors as they make shopping decisions. It would amount to waste and clutter if a student stocks up on executive workwear, just because they look appealing. You won’t need the same clothing as someone who works in a bank if you wear a uniform to work every day. It is essential to outline your clothing needs in a way that fits your current lifestyle and work.

Quality always trumps quantity. Therefore, it is advisable to opt for high-quality garments with a unique design. Buying one piece of high-quality clothing may be more expensive than four cheaper pieces, but the durability each one offers will make it worthwhile. A high-quality item has less probability of developing a technical fault. Before purchasing any clothing item, check the composition of the material on its label and find out if it is susceptible to pilling, fading, or shrinking.

Versatility

If you are not an expert in ascertaining garment quality, you could do a little research before committing to the purchase of expensive pieces. Another critical consideration is versatility. In a minimal wardrobe, each item should be able to serve multiple functions. An example is a camisole that could serve as workwear when combined with a pantsuit and also pair nicely with a blazer and skirt for attending church. You can also pair this camisole with a mini-skirt or skinny jeans complete with ankle boots and wear it to the club, party, or a date.

We should view versatility through the lens of colour, functionality, and design details. You can pair versatile clothing with other accessories to dress it up or down. Avoid items with colours that don’t match most of the ones you already have. When minimizing your wardrobe, take colouring (based on personal preferences) into consideration. Having fewer clothes means you can easily keep a mental track of the colours you have and use that as a guide when shopping for new clothes or accessories.

You can then quickly decide if the colour of an available item would match the content of your wardrobe or otherwise. One fashion item, no matter how stylish, would sit in your hanger closet for a long time if its colour doesn’t match the accessories you already own.

Ways to Prevent a Relapse

Mending broken items on time will significantly help in fixing the problem of clutter. It’s ideal to invest time, effort, and money into repairing damaged clothing instead of getting a cheap temporary replacement. Special occasions such as weddings, festivals, or photoshoots require unique clothing. These events give people a chance to express themselves through clothing differently. Exploring short or long-term clothing rental options can eliminate the need to get a new outfit for each special occasion.

You can sell, rent out or exchange some attires during Halloween or photoshoot sessions and earn some money, which means that they don’t get to take up space in your wardrobe for years without use. Minimizing your wardrobe will be unsuccessful if you keep unwanted clothing around after decluttering. Such clothing will easily find their way back into your closet if they are still accessible. It’s imperative to adopt ethical disposal to tackle the possibility of a relapse into clutter.

Other options include thrifting, donating to charity, or someone who would find a better use for them. The rest may be recycled even if they are no longer useful.

Conclusion

Minimizing your wardrobe is beneficial to you and the environment. It would help you develop a more practical and disciplined attitude towards clothing consumption. Not only will you be saving money, but you will also protect the planet.

Main photo by Shyam on Unsplash

Further Inspiration:

Sources & References:

The post How To Minimize Your Wardrobe appeared first on TRVST.


Eight Climate Change Themed Digital Art Shows

Selva Ozelli shares 8 climate themed art shows with new work curated for the Very first "International Day of Clean Air for Blue Skies Day" Read more Eight Climate Change Themed Digital Art Shows › The post Eight Climate Change Themed Digital Art Shows appeared first on...

Curated for the Very first “International Day of Clean Air for Blue Skies Day”

It has been an unprecedented year which started with raging wildfires in Australia that pushed CO2 levels to 26 times higher than acceptable levels.   Siberia registered the most extreme recorded heat temperatures.  And  COVID-19 — the most devastating plague to ravage humankind this century — rapidly spread all around the world in a border blind fashion along with the higher levels of CO2.   Like many others, my lifestyle changed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and quarantine.  This brought out the artist and curator in me, allowing me for the first time to express my thoughts and feelings about climate change and COVID-19 via paintings in addition to my articles this year.

I took my first step as a curator by curating a brochure for TRVST.world Change Maker and artist Rana Balkis for her “Infinite Possibilities” series.  Since our atelier is grounds for talented artists and interesting artwork, this naturally leads me  to curate:

Atelier Teymur Rzayev’s First Digital Climate Change Art Show”, at Cem Ustuner’s Pinelo Art Gallery which launched during the weeks of United Nations World Environment, Ocean, Desertification, Days as registered United Nations digital events.

Our first group art show was published in the social media accounts of over 90 Museums, Culture Ministries and NGOs in over 30 countries around the world.

The success of the first art show I curated and participated in, lead me to curate 8 and participate in three more climate change and COVID-19 themed digital art shows – 2 group, 2 solo — with paintings that have been acknowledged in six international art competitions this year so far.

I curated these art shows for our atelier artists based on my series of articles on digital technology adoption, solar energy and tax policies in the jurisdictions with the greatest carbon emissions.

The themes and launch dates of these art shows  corresponded with United Nations International Days, since these days mark occasions to educate the general public on issues of concern, to address global problems, and to celebrate and reinforce achievements of humanity as follows:

Clean Air for Blue Skies

Clean Air for Blue Skies, September 7th, 2020

The successful reception of our first group art show encouraged atelier artists to launch a second digital art show titled “Clean Air for Blue Skies” only three months after the first one, on the very first International Day of Clean Air for Blue Skies.

The second group show includes paintings of the seas, trees, flowers which are efficient carbon sinks– that alleviate CO2 pollution.  It also includes paintings of urbanization, wildfires which enhance CO2 pollution that create adverse health effects including COVID-19, global warming and diminishment of biodiversity.

Semine Hazar - Sunset

 

Semine Hazar Lighthouse in a Storm

Semine Hazar -Lighthouse in a Storm , Sunset

Ilhan Sayin – Geranium in the Haze

 

Ilhan Sayin – Pink Breath of Spring

Ilhan Sayin – Geranium in the Haze, Pink Breath of Spring

Gunay Isemova- Morning Haze

Gunay Isemova- Morning Haze

Selva Ozelli – Heartbreak Weather – Inertia in the Face of Wildfires

 

Selva Ozelli – Wildfires in the Time of Corona

Selva Ozelli – Heartbreak Weather – Inertia in the Face of Wildfires, Wildfires in the Time of Corona

Fatma Kadir-Lonely Tree 1

 

Fatma Kadir-Lonely Tree 2

Fatma Kadir-Lonely Tree 1 & 2

Resul Uzay Rzayev- Glacier

 

Resul Uzay Rzayev- Silhouette

Resul Uzay Rzayev- Silhouette, Glacier

Digital Art Show:

Breathe Life

Parallel to the second group art show, I launched my second solo digital art show “Breathe Life” on the very first International Day of Clean Air for Blue Skies to share my paintings of lonely trees, gardens and portraits of artists who were economically impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic with their concert tours and art shows cancelled.  This included composer and singer of  “Heart Break Weather” Niall Horan (“Heartbreak Weather – Inertia in the Face of Wildfires”) and climate change artist Renan Kaleli (“Pollution”).  These artists have turned to launch digital concerts and art shows this year, so I have included a portrait of the creator of 5G technology which is important to the digital economy Prof Erdal Arikan (“Pollution 2”).   Finally, I wanted to support the good work of Climate Change heroine Greta Thunberg who said  “You say children shouldn’t worry. You say: ‘Just leave this to us. We will fix this; we promise we won’t let you down.  And then — nothing. Silence. Or something worse than silence. Empty words and promises which give the impression that sufficient action is being taken. But inaction is fueling the flames by the hour.”  Therefore, my “Breathe Life” art show also includes the portrait of an innocent child who deserves to inherit clean air and blue skies, Can Kir (“Wildlife”).

Art in the Time of Corona

World Patient Safety Day, WHO September 17, 2020

In my first solo art show “Art in the Time of Corona” which I am relaunching on World Patient Safety Day, I explored whether Climate Change caused by carbon emissions might be one reason for such a terrible global COVID-19 pandemic which spread around the world like a tsunami in a border blind fashion alongside heightened CO2, penetrating deep into our respiratory and circulatory systems damaging our lungs, to the point where we become highly vulnerable to the coronavirus.

For this art show, I made paintings to remind us of the importance of appreciating, respecting: life of all who inhabit this world – not only humans; our friendships- including with plants, animals; those who bring technological innovations that make life easier for humans; those who put their lives on the line to save ours – like Dr Esma Akin, Chief of Nuclear Medicine at George Washington Hospital in DC, a COVID-19 hotspot– as we collectively face and are impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

To raise funds for the orphans of health care professionals who lost their lives to COVID-19 (see brochure for my artwork) atelier artists Serife  Akkan, Fatma Kadir, and I donated artwork to the Portakal Cicegi Project.  Our artwork will be on sale at www.portart.org from Sep 15 to Oct 15, 2020.

Sea Watcher

World Maritime Day, September 24, 2020

Semine Hazar explored the theme of artic melting in her solo art show “Sea Watcher” which she is relaunching on World Maritime Day.

The inspiration behind Semine’s art show “Sea Watcher”  was her trip to the Antarctic in 2017 where she first hand witnessed the melting of the ice and with a great sound crash into the sea.  This brought tears to her eyes.

Semine’s late husband was a captain.  Captains determine their sea routes based on the silent light signals from the lighthouses in the sea.  With her sea and lighthouse themed paintings, Semine wants to draw attention to the importance of oceans to our world as the largest carbon sink, our ecology and the need for us to guard them.  She wants the silent signals from the lighthouses to be visible to all of us not only captains of our world.

One Door One Hundred Trees

World Habitat Day, October 5, 2020

Serife Akkan explored the theme of urbanization and its impact on the environment in her solo art show “One Door One Hundred Trees” which she is relaunching on World Habitat Day.  With her art show, Serife wants to bring attention to, to set alarm bells about the destruction humans are making to their environment. Particularly since she first hand witnessed the rapid urbanization occurring in Istanbul during her lifetime.

Bird Watching 1 & 2

World Migratory Bird Day, October 10, 2020

Fatma Kadir explored the theme of biodiversity in her solo art shows Bird Watching 1 & 2 which is relaunching 1 and launching 2 to commemorate Biodiversity in Birds which are important plant pollinators and seed dispersers.

Further Inspiration:

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