Are Big Brands Stealing Small Brand Thunder?

As you have probably noticed I am all up to support the small brands and talk bad about the big brands, especially if I feel they are taking the small brands thunder with ethical or sustainable things. Not following? Let me explain. Recently I’ve seen a lot of articles about ethical swimwear; it seems there is a boom in the industry. Designers from Europe, USA, Australia and Canada, especially, are producing swimwear with various ethical ways such as GOTS certified cotton, fair trade or recycled ocean waste materials. I find it absolutely amazing to hear that these small brands are making their mark with their ethical produce!

Are Big Brands Stealing Small Brand Thunder? - byLiiL

If you have read about these small brands, you have probably also read about the fashion and sportswear giant Adidas producing swimwear and shoes from recycled ocean waste. My first thought was great, more marketing for the ocean conservation and sustainability. My second thought was, wait…  by using the same technology and marketing tactics isn’t Adidas taking the limelight from all the other brands within the narrow ethical fashion marketing sphere?

Recycled Ocean Waste

The highly marketed recycled ocean waste fabric is Econyl, a trademark by Aquafil which is made in Slovenia. It is a fibre made out of recycled nylon 6 which they collect from few locations around the world and some volunteers collect them discarded fishing nets. The fibre is produced in a closed loop system and can be recycled numerous times. It sounds great compared to virgin nylon and it is definitely a solution for nylon 6 waste. You can check their website if you want to read more about it.

Are Big Brands Stealing Small Brand Thunder? - byLiiL

There are several brands that use econyl to make their swimwear. Auria, a brand from London, was one of the first brands that used the fibre and has built a brand on making their beautiful ethical swimwear by using only econyl fabric. Koru likewise to Auria has built their brand producing ethical swimwear and only using econyl, whilst they are in New Zealand. There are several others that you can find just by googling and on the Econyl blog where they share the brands that are using their fibre. And then, of course, there is Adidas, who made a collaboration with Parley to create an eco swimwear collection and shoes to raise awareness for the ocean and marine conservation. Currently, they produce 50 % of their swimwear out of recycled materials but are aiming for 100%.

Econyl provides any brand with a sustainable new nylon fabric. Small brands don’t have to innovate to create an environmentally sustainable business. What they do with it is the difference. Small brands have to drive their sales with beautiful and unique designs, each catering to a slightly different niche market and retailing for £50-170 per swimsuit. They boast with ethical swimwear that is made out of recycled ocean waste and produced fairly by making it locally or in fair trade factories. Whereas Adidas caters to the mass market with a price to match £25-51 and although they spread the message of ocean and marine conservation to a wider public, the price questions whether the swimwear is made in fair conditions. In addition, when the small brands have been able to build their brands on the sustainable fabric, I wonder why it is taking Adidas this long to do it 100% nevertheless of their aims. Is Econyl production not quite meeting the Adidas swimwear production rates, or is it just green marketing tactics?

Are Big Brands Stealing Small Brand Thunder? - byLiiL

I do think that it is great there are many options to buy more sustainable alternatives than the general high street mass market options, but I do feel Adidas is stealing the thunder from the smaller brands while not being quite as committed to the cause. When googling recycled ocean waste swimwear Adidas collaboration with Parley has several first clicks, whereas I originally read about the smaller brands because I follow several ethical blogs. However, I do not think these small brands could have spread the message as wide as Adidas did, on their own. To make this planet sustainable we do need everybody working for it; producing sustainably, educating people and spreading the word. Maybe this way we challenge each of these brands to be even better and more innovative with their sustainable ways.

Pictures are from Auria, Econyl and Proswimwear websites.

 

What do you think?  Share your thoughts in the comment box below.

With love,

Lii

What I Was Up To In July

In July I wasn’t writing quite as consistently but I cut myself some slack as I was busy with work and enjoying the summer. We’ve had surprisingly quite a few sunny days in Scotland during July (not just the usual greyness throughout), so I spend many days walking, enjoying a drink in a beer garden or dreaming (who else dreams when looking out and it’s sunny?). Books were like magnets to me this month, and I finished my goal for reading 24 books in 2017 in July.

The 2nd 12 Books of 2017 - byLiiL

Sustainability was strongly on my mind through out the month, possibly because I found and got inspired by Anthony Day’s podcast the Sustainable News Report. I wrote about why I rather shop from small brands, about one sustainable fashion brand Doo.Bla.Vey and about natural and organic toothpaste brand Georganix, in addition to sharing articles on different points of view in sustainability and other topics. It is really exciting to be able to write about sustainable topics and research them and quite mind boggling to realise how little I still know about sustainability and climate change.

Happy Favourites of the Week - Happy With Plants - byLiiL

At the beginning of the month, I shared my favourite Instagram pics from June, which looked more green than I imagined they would. I also got some additions to my plant family in my house and have been ogling at them ever since I potted them in the cutest coloured pots.

Overall July was a good month and I hope August will keep the same feeling going! I would love to hear how your July was and if you got up to anything fun or enjoyed something, in particular, share in the comment box below!

With love,

Lii

Introducing – 1 Dress 14 Styles by Doo.Bla.Vey

The minimalistic and sustainable brand Doo.Bla.Vey caught my eye some time ago when they were doing their Kickstarter project, but I didn’t look into the brand until much later on. Similarly to Honest Rosie, a brand which I wrote last about, Doo.Bla.Vey is rocking minimalist principles trying to reduce how much women are buying and dumping fashion. Their vision is to “design multi functional and purposeful clothing toward a minimal, longer lasting wardrobe”. The founder, designer Jiayin Zheng, has so far only designed one dress – the W dress, but styling one dress in 14 ways seems to be so promising I am excited to see what else she will bring in the future!

Introducing - 1 Dress 14 Styles by Doo.Bla.Vey - byLiiL

Doo.Bla.Vey wants to do things ethically and they source their fabrics from surplus vendors and manufacture garments in Taiwanese factories that offer fair wages, good working conditions and skills training for employees.

I am really looking forward to seeing more from this brand, not only for what they design but to see information on their sustainable practices as well! At least they want to spread the message of reducing the mass consumption which is great! I would also like to see designs with less open back for women who would like such a choice. Check their website here and their great Instagram page here. All of the images are from those two sites.

Have you heard of Doo.Bla.Vey before?

With love,

Lii

7 Reasons Why I Choose To Shop Small

It took me working for small businesses and starting my own to really understand and appreciate the work that goes behind running a small business. It is not easy to motivate yourself every day, to believe in yourself and in what you are doing, in addition, to actually doing everything and working through the layers of bureaucracy.

7 Reasons Why I Choose To Shop Small - byLiiL

1. THEY ARE MORE SUSTAINABLE

It, of course, is not a given that all small businesses are sustainable, but the chances are they are more likely to be sustainable. Small businesses often source locally, use less packaging, use fewer air miles through their production cycle and produce in small batches. In addition, with the growing concern for the environment, many businesses start off with the idea of being more sustainable and helping to make the world a better place.

2. HAVE UNIQUE AND CREATIVE PRODUCTS

Small businesses are either making their own creative products/services or curating a selection for their customers from other businesses. In any case, their offering differs from the mass market that mostly looks the same. When it comes to fashion I’ve noticed that the every shop on the high street seems to be selling the same things over and over and there is no individuality. When shopping from small fashion businesses you will stand out of the crowd. Other small shops are great for individualistic gifts that nobody else might have found.

3. I KNOW WHERE MY MONEY IS GOING

Unlike that of with big brands, small brands do not have several layers of supply chains, management levels, stakeholders groups and all the other additional stuff that you do not see but are paying for with your money. When you are shopping from a small brand you can quite easily see what their values are and know that the money you are giving them will pay for their living and them keeping up the business.

4. THEY GROW THE ECONOMY

Small businesses grow their local economy. The money that you are putting into the business will either support the owner of the business or the business itself. In most cases this means the money goes back into the local community through living costs, employing local people or sourcing from local other businesses. In addition, they are a competition to the big companies and the ways they do business.

5. I’M SUPPORTING DREAMS

Running a small business or any size of a business is hard work and there aren’t many people who are prepared to do the work unless it is their dream and something they enjoy doing. So when you are spending your money on that business you are essentially helping to support the business owners dream. Later on, other young entrepreneurial spirits will look at that business owner and get the motivation to start their own business and the dream.

7 Reasons Why I Choose To Shop Small - byLiiL

6. IT DRIVES INNOVATION

Small businesses drive innovation and push the economy and the market forward. We’ve seen the rise of small tech companies that drive the innovation in apps and products. It is funny, as it is the big companies that have the funds for this.

7 Reasons Why I Choose To Shop Small - byLiiL

7. I GET BETTER CUSTOMER SERVICE

Small businesses know that to get customers they have to treat every customer excellently. It is the loyal customers and their word of mouth that will support their business. Small business owners are thankful when you spend your money with them and will do their best to give you the best experience. They listen to feedback and respond and it is much easier to communicate with them.

I don’t always shop at small businesses, but I do try my best. Last Christmas I got most of the presents from small businesses and they were the best and most unique presents that I gave. And although I am spending more money when I shop at a small business, I get more joy of knowing that I supported somebody with their dream.

7 Reasons Why I Choose To Shop Small - byLiiL

Pictures are from this pinterest board.

Do you shop at small businesses?

With love,

Lii

Georganix Natural Toothpaste Review

What first attracted me to natural toothpaste was the small ingredient lists and the absence of extra chemicals in them. Mouth and our teeth is one of the vital elements for our health, so why would I want to add any more chemicals to wash that area? I don’t! But then again I want to make sure that I will find the natural toothpaste that works effectively at keeping the health of my mouth and teeth healthy and out of the dentist appointments. It took me a long time to find one that I would like to try, but georganix fit most of my requirements; it is locally produced in the UK, it is a small company, it has good feedback for the product and the seller, it is reasonably priced and it had enough information on the product.

Georganix Natural Toothpaste Review - byLiiL

Georganix

Georganix is a small brand who manufactures natural and organic oral care products from toothpaste and mouthwashes to toothbrushes and nutritional supplements. Their ethos is to produce oral care without chemicals and preservatives, but rather with natural ingredients which will naturally remineralise the teeth. The company is very open with ingredients they use for each of their products and like to post on their blog about oral health care to assist their clients with it. Sounds great right! Their product prices range from £3.90 for their bamboo toothbrushes to £6.90 for a 60ml jar of toothpaste or 100ml bottle of mouthwash.

Georganix Natural Toothpaste Review - byLiiL

Georganics Remineralizing Natural Organic Coconut Oil Whitening Toothpaste – Spearmint

The toothpaste I tried was the spearmint flavoured one. I read that the flavour and texture are so different from the generic one so I was hoping with the spearmint flavour it would at least remind me of the product that I am so used to. The smell definitely did remind me of toothpaste and I liked it so much I couldn’t wait to use it. Until I tried it the first time and almost felt sick. The paste is made out of clay and coconut oil mostly and although the essential oils to provide it with some scent, the flavour and texture are much closer to clay.

It took me a couple of days to be okay with putting the paste into my mouth and a couple of weeks to get used to it. The aftertaste or feel is not the refreshed one, like when using the generic toothpaste, and I generally do feel the need for mouthwash or oil pulling, but then again I have no problem eating or drinking right afterwards either. However, since I started using it I haven’t had any problems with my teeth. I really feel healthy in my mouth and it is quite amazing to find a toothpaste that leaves me feeling like that! I think we are so used to the generic, chemical full, products that are on the market now, that we feel weird with anything that feels different, but it is all about getting our body and taste buds used to the natural ingredients.

Georganix Natural Toothpaste Review - byLiiL

What I wished in addition

All of this sounds really great, doesn’t it! Well, although I find that they are really trying to make their customers feel comfortable with their products, I didn’t find much of anything to support any sustainable practices other than the toothbrushes being made from bamboo and their products being in glass jars. A bit more transparency on this side would really make the difference with me being completely happy with using this brand and recommending it to everybody.

To check them out Georganix website, Etsy store and Instagram.

Georganix Natural Toothpaste Review - byLiiL

 

Have you tried Georganix products or any other natural toothpaste brands? What do you think?

With love,

Lii

6 Piece Capsule Wardrobe by Honest Rosie

Minimalism and capsule wardrobes have been a trendy topic for quite some time now and although, I don’t really want to restrict my wardrobe by a number I do like to follow some of the principles such as wearing garments more than once #30wears. For many, however, it seems to be difficult to make a capsule collection no matter how much they would like to. People don’t have the time or know how to curate items that would work together or find garments that would last the test of time. If you recognised yourself here, or just became interested then read forward about Honest Rosie. And if you don’t know what a capsule wardrobe is you should check the Honest Rosie blog for an explanation.

6 Piece Capsule Wardrobe by Honest Rosie - byLiiL

Honest Rosie is a brand that has readily curated a 6 piece capsule collection for you. All the pieces work well together and they are so carefully designed that with just 6 pieces you are able to create 30 outfits! Sounds impossible, but the pictures are here to prove.

In addition, Honest Rosie is trying to run everything sustainably and ethically. They are big advocates for fair labour showing videos of the women who make the garments, pay fair wages and raise awareness about environmental issues and working conditions. The garments are made out of pre-consumer, upcycled fabrics.

6 Piece Capsule Wardrobe by Honest Rosie - byLiiL

The collection includes a blue vest blazer, a white shirt tunic, a white jumper, a blue button-down blouse, a light blue skirt and a dress in one and a pair of light blue trousers. So most of the garments are versatile and can be worn in many ways, which is absolutely amazing! The colours work well together and if you don’t want to buy the whole collection you can buy just one item that will definitely complement your own wardrobe. I hope to see in future that they will bring out some other colour variations as well!

6 Piece Capsule Wardrobe by Honest Rosie - byLiiL

When I heard about the brand they had just finished their Kickstarter campaign and earned much more than they were aiming to. With such a great idea I am not surprised! At the moment they are in the process of manufacturing the garments and I hope they will soon be available for sale! They are definitely striving for transparency and I wish they will share their location and how they supply their materials.

To check out their website visit here and definitely visit their Instagram account, where all the pictures in this post are from!

 

Have you heard of Honest Rosie before? Do you want to have a capsule wardrobe? Let me know in the comments below.

With love,

Lii

Happy Favourites of the Week – The Happy Day

New client – It’s always fun and motivating to start a new project and this was no different. It made me take my time more seriously so that I have enough of it for the new client and the other projects I have going.

Happy Favourites of the Week - The Happy Day - byLiiL

My new work chair – I used to work sitting on a stool and believe me if you sit on a stool for several hours your back will be sore. So I finally went and got myself a supporting chair to work on and it has made all the difference! It is supportive, comfortable and the colour and the style makes me smile! Of course, the cats love it as well and during the hot days we had there they were rather sleeping on that chair.

Miroslava Duma launches Fashion Tech Lab with $50 Million To Invest – It is amazing to hear how the big names in fashion want to transform it and help it grow into a more sustainable market!

Happy Favourites of the Week - The Happy Day - byLiiL

The Orphan Master’s Son – This book by David Mitchell has been so interesting, it nearly keeps me of work. Definitely worth a read!

Brunch with a Friend – It’s always lovely to spend some time catching up with your friends and who doesn’t like brunch? I had the loveliest meal at Kember and Jones, who really do make a nice and good sized side salad for your sandwich! And no, I didn’t take pictures. Sometimes you can just enjoy the food!

Lucky Clover – My sister gifted me with the cutest thing! It was a little pot with three seeds to grow my own lucky clover. Somebody knows what I like… It had this little pallet of soil, which I added into a little bit of water and it swelled to fill the whole miniature pot. Now it’s growing and it is so exciting! I just love seeing the plants I have been caring for growing!

2017 Ethical Activist Book Club – I just stumbled upon this and got so excited. I love reading books and knowing more about how to make our planet more ethical and sustainable is always on my agenda. There are only 6 books on the list for 2017, so one book for every two months. That should be manageable!

Happy Favourites of the Week - The Happy Day - byLiiL

Strange man stroking a cat – While working at my desk I looked outside where I saw a cat walking on the pavement. It had come out of the house next to it. It was a sunny day, so it is no wonder the cat was yearning to get out. Along the pavement walked a man towards the cat. Usually, people don’t pay attention to cats, or cats quickly run away and hide, but this time it was not the case. The man kneeled down next to the cat and started stroking it. The cat seemed so happy it dropped on its side and started rolling on it’s back to get some tummy rubs, a sign that the cat is happy. I was sure this man was no stranger to the cat, as no cat would let a stranger touch their tummy. In a few seconds, the man rose up and kept walking away from the cat. Not into the house from where the cat came but kept going along the pavement and the cat the other way. It seems these two strangers just shared a nice moment in the middle of a sunny beautiful day.

The Happy Day – Once I started writing this post I realised I had nothing to add up. For some reason, I didn’t feel happy about anything and it made me anxious. I usually find happiness in the smallest of things and suddenly I just couldn’t think of anything. I gave it a couple of days and I started adding something to this post by force, just to have something to say. Until the happy day came and suddenly I wanted to fill this post with writings of all kind. Suddenly I remembered the happy things from several days previously. Everything seemed to make me happy. I think these are the days that we live for, the happy days. When every little detail makes you smile and you are just happy to be alive and living in the current moment!

 

What is your happy day like?

With love,

Lii