How to be an Eco Warrior (ess) – An Event by BITCH Online

I was recently invited along to an event by BITCH Online, How to be an Eco Warrioress. The event was a eco business event aimed and social entrepeneurs and promised a number of speakers from ethical fashion, beauty and social entrepreneurship industries discussing the eco choices they make and giving their stories and expertise on how to successfully set up and run an eco business. I had never heard of BITCH Online before and was slightly concerned that the whole event would be a little unfriendly but was pleased to hear that bitch actually stands for ‘Bold, Intelligent and Totally In Control of herself’!

The event was very friendly and the hosts incredibly welcoming. We were greeted with a glass of wine which got the evening off to a good start and had the chance to chat with the other attendees before taking our seats to listen to the speakers, all hugely informative, inspirational and entertaining to listen to.

The speakers were:

Servane Mouazan, Managing Director founded Ogunte, A Social Innovations Development company in London and Rio to help female social innovators be more influential and better connected.

Seraphina Davis, Partner and head designer at Nancy Dee – affordable, designer fashion label since 2008 with emphasis on day-to-night jersey dresses in unique prints that translate easily from home to office to evening out.

Elena Corchero- Technology Artisan, Founder of Lost Values which holds the vision of innovating craft by melting it with technology and vice versa, to inspire a future where design is environmental and emotional yet smart and playful

Lucy Tammam – a Creative Director of The House of Tammam that is world renowned for its hand crafted couture evening and bridal designs, an expert in eco-couture wedding gowns based in Bloomsbury.

Inspiration and Challenges

I was particularly interested to hear Seraphina, as I really love Nancy Dee. She talked about the challenges that she had faced in finding suppliers and manufacturers and how there was no easy way and how she had used a combination of trial and error and networking. I loved her answer to why she choose to go down the ethical fashion route ”the question to those doing it ethically is why aren’t you doing it ethically”.

Lucy Tammam described how when she started out, starting her own label was the only option as back then the only options of places to work were unethical or un attractive. She also experienced issues with finding suppliers in India and communicating with them and how they didn’t seem to understand that “London Fashion Week would not wait for them”. She stressed how important it was to be “strong willed and motivated or you would just give up”.

Elena Corchero was frustrated with fashion in general and found following trends quite meaningless.  She believes that “anything is possible and wanted to focus on the things that really mattered” As a designer she believes she has a huge responsibilty as someone will consume what you are designing and you can change the way that people interact and behave.

The Contradiction of Marketing and Sustainability

This is an interesting point that I thought was particularly relevant to fashion bloggers. How can you promote sustainability whilst encouraging people to buy new clothes? Lucy commented that you can do this by encouraging people to  buy better things that they actually value. Seraphina agreed saying that you can “create pieces that you invest in, made from quality fabrics and that last a long  time” she stated that she would “like to think that a women would buy a dress and still be wearing it in 10 years time”. Servane also highlighted how the life of a product can be extended by sharing, lending and buying second hand.

Marketing the Ethical Aspect

Seraphina explained how many customers of Nancy Dee don’t even realise that they are buying an ethical brand. She said ” we are pushing it little by little but we don’t want to preach because it is boring”

All in all it was a fantastic evening and the speakers made some really interesting points which are relevant to not only those setting up a fashion brand but those treating their fashion blog as a business with the aim of promoting ethical fashion. Unfortunately I had to dash off to catch my train home but would have loved to have stayed a bit longer and chatted to the many interesting people who attended.

Bitch Online will be running more interesting and informative events in the future. You can stay informed by signing up to their newsletter on the website www.bit.ch-online.co.uk or by following on Facebook or Twitter.

With warmest wishes

Ceri x

All Images courtesy of Bitch Online

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An Interview With Amber Lena Of Fashion Bargainista

blog shop outfits

In March at Ethical Fashion Bloggers we focussed on ways to monetise a fashion blog whilst sticking to our values and ethics. I was lucky enough to get the chance to interview Amber Lena of Fashion Bargainista who believes that you do not have to spend money to look good and has her own blog shop selling thrifted clothes and outfits that she has put together.

How did the idea for your blog shop come about?

I had been getting requests from friends to do some bargain shopping for them, and that of course evolved into putting together outfits for them as well. But the main catalyst was that a thrift store opened about 5 minutes from my house. Because I was already looking out for items that weren’t in my own size, I started finding items that I just couldn’t pass up. The blog shop was born!

Do you treat running your blog and shop as a part time or full time career or more of a sideline?

Definitely a sideline. I work full time and I have twin preschoolers. But, I’m compelled to put together outfits – its one of my favorite ways to unwind! I have a whole room in my house (the “guest” room!) devoted to it.

How do the overall goals of your blog and shop fit with your personal values and do you believe that profit and ethics can go hand in hand? 

I started FashionBargainista.com to share my love of bargain shopping. I think women pay way too much for beauty, whether that is clothing, jewelry or makeup so I love that I can share bargain shopping with my buyers. Profit and ethics can absolutely go hand in hand! When you are providing a service or a product that is affordable and valuable to people, it is only a matter of finding a price point that is comfortable for you. In my case, I treat this as more of a hobby so I can have “pin” money for my own shopping, so I sell my items with a small profit margin. I feel good contributing to the environmental movement by finding new life for pre-owned clothing.
Does making money from your blog take some of the fun out of it?

In general, I would have to say yes.  I have dabbled with “monetizing” my blog with affiliate marketing, ad words, etc. and the time required for SEO is exhausting and totally not worth it! But with the blog shop, its just the opposite! I’m making money doing something that I enjoy; blogging, thrifting and putting together outfits!

It is an interesting idea to sell outfits rather than single pieces of clothing, why did you decide to do this?

I have had a lot of women ask me how to put outfits together – what shirt to pair with a certain skirt or pants, etc. so I just started out matching pieces that I thought would go nicely together. I knew it would be a bit of a stretch because its difficult to find one item that fits, much less 2 or 3! But, in my adult life, I have been a size 8 and I have been a 16, so I know a bit about sizes and I try to put pieces together that are similar in fit – not just by the size on the tag. I have also worked with many different body types, so I try to vary the sizes (ie. smaller on top, larger on bottom or vice versa). And, I provide measurements of each item. I also tell buyers they can purchase just one piece of an outfit. Or, I’m happy to take returns.

How do you find such beautiful clothes second hand clothes?

Anyone that has ever thrifted knows that you have to dig. It just so happens that I love to do just that! However, pieces will sometimes just jump out at me! I like to think that I’ve developed a skill for finding good articles of clothing in a sea of not-so-good ones.

How do you maximise sales through your blog shop?

In addition to posting the outfits on my blog and tweeting, I also list them on other market place sites such as smashion.com, yardsellr.com and style.ly. Yardsellr and Style.ly are both linked with Facebook, so that gives me many more potential buyers! I also do some selling on ebay (not the outfits – I found they didn’t do well on ebay) and whenever I mail an article of clothing, I will throw a business card with my blog address on it into the envelope.

Do you have any more tips for others wanting to set up their own blog shop?

Above all, make it easy for potential buyers to purchase. They don’t want to have to email you and wait for an email back, etc. That’s how I started, and it was frustrating on both ends. Then I tried posting paypal buttons so they could just click and pay, but I spent so much time making sure they were correct that I gave up on that too. I paid to have a personalized blog shop on Big Cartel for awhile, but found that most of my sales came from the online market places. It seems that people are most comfortable buying via a bigger organization/website.

Many thanks to Amber Lena for such this useful insight and tips. You can catch up with her at www.fashionbargainista.com, www.taooftwins.com and @amberlenab on Twitter.

If you are a Fashion Blogger with a conscious and would like to join us at  Ethical Fashion Bloggers and be interviewed, please get in touch.

With warmest wishes

Ceri x

 

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Affiliate Marketing For Ethical Fashion Bloggers

As an ethical fashion blogger who wants to promote sustainable and ethical  choices, it can sometimes be difficult to find ways to monetise your blog whilst still sticking to your values. I often find myself turning away advertising because it is not for ethical products but there are ways to make money from you blog even if you set yourself a strict criteria of what you will and won’t promote.

Affiliate marketing offers a great way to make money from your blog whilst choosing exactly which products and retailers you want to promote. Of course, in order to ensure that everything is above board you need to disclose that your post or site contains affiliate links. You should also only promote the products that you really love and would have featured on you blog anyway as this helps to keep it authentic and true to you.

If you don’t already know, affiliate marketing is a way of making money by putting links to retailers or banners on your websites. You will usually get paid a percentage of any sales generated within a set time after the click eg 30 days. There are a number of affiliate networks that represent the retailers and provide links, banners, tracking and payments all managed through online portals. I usually find the links to individual products that I like within posts are far more effective than banner ads.

Basically, the more traffic you get and the more relevant the products you feature, the more will be sold and the more money you can make. I wrote a post quite a while back for IFB which gives a lot more information on how you can maximise income to your blog with affiliate marketing, you can check it out here.

Here is a round up of the main brands and retailers that sell ethical fashion and the networks that you can join their affiliate programmes through.

People Tree – Affiliate Window

Fashion Conscience – Webgains

Ethical Superstore – Affiliate Window

Oxfam Online (second hand and vintage clothes) – Affiliate Windows

Rock My Vintage – Affiliate Window

Seasalt Cornwall – Affiliate Window

Monsoon – Linkshare

Accessorise – Linkshare

Yoox (Yooxygen) – Affiliate Window

Urban Outfitters (recycled clothes at Urban Renewal) – Affiliate Window

Yew Clothing – Webgains

Ecotopia -  Webgains

Wall Luxury Essentials – Webgains

By the way, I just thought I ought to mention this post does contain affiliate links. But this by has no means affected what I have written with the aim of helping bloggers who would like to make money from their blogs whilst promoting ethical fashion.

What do you think? would you consider giving affiliate marketing a go?

With warmest wishes

Ceri X
www.ethicalfashionblog.com

 

 

 

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An Interview With Erica of Recycled Fashion

In the first of a series of interviews with Ethical Fashion Bloggers, I interview Erica of Recycled Fashion about upcycling, blogging and ethical fashion. Erica’s blog features plenty of inspiration in the form of thrifty outfits and DIY projects plus plenty of handy tips, she is also involved in some other really interesting projects relating to sustainable style.

How did you get started blogging?

I started my blog because I wanted to focus some of my time on my two passions; second-hand fashion, and writing.  I read blogs of similar interest, and thought I’d have a crack at starting my own, that was two years ago

How would you describe your style?

Thrifty; only choosing second hand over new

Quirky; it is not uncommon to find out of the ordinary pieces in my wardrobe.

Individual: I try not to be a follower of fashion, and choose instead, to create my own individual style.
 
You are obviously very talented at sewing and recycling clothes, what is it about recycling clothes that you love?

Thank you for such a nice comment.  I like the individuality of designing my own wardrobe pieces to fit my body shape.  We’re not all born the same off-the-rack size, and most of the time, a small size adjustment on a shop purchased garment, will make the world of difference.

From an ethical standpoint, I cannot justify buying new clothing, when there is an abundance of garments already in circulation.  By recycling existing garments, we keep more clothing out of landfill, and in our wardrobes.

What is the refashioning project that you are most proud of?

For a thrifted piece, transformed into something more wearable, I’m quite fond of my butterfly dress refashion.  However, the creation I am most proud of, would be my upholstery patch dress, of which I made some furnishing fabric samples into a patchwork shift dress.
 
Where do you get your inspiration both for recycling projects and for your blogging?

 Most of the time, I am inspired by articles I read on the internet, and on other similar blogs.  Otherwise, fashion I see on the streets, or current fashion topics.
 
I have noticed that ethical and sustainable fashion seems to be quite popular in Australia, how would you describe the ethical fashion scene there?

Ethical and sustainable fashion certainly seems to be on the rise in Australia, we still have a way to go, the ethical fashion scene is small in comparison to some, but we’ve a strong, passionate group of individuals working hard to see a change in the fashion industry.  Being that we have a smaller population that many western countries, individuals involved in the ethical fashion scene tend to know of each other via various networks and word-of-mouth. 

 Which are your favourite eco/ethical/ thrifty blogs and brands?
 Blogs I read frequently >

Refashion Co-op

My Thrifty Closet

Pull Your Socks Up! 

Style Wilderness

Urbandon

C&C 

Not Dead Yet Style

Refashionista

Modest is Pretty

Brands.  I have not purchased new clothing for over two years; however, there are ethical brands which I admire:

Lydra

Siamese Dream Design

Bartinki

JunkyStyling

The Social Studio

 
I see that you have advertising on your blog, how do you go about ensuring that that advertisers/ give away sponsors fit with the values/ethics of your blog?

The majority of my advertising sponsors have worked closely with me prior to their advertisement banners being added to my blog.  If I am approached by potential advertisers that do not have any link to ethical fashion, I generally do not agree to advertise them on my blog.
 
Tell us more about Melbourne Op Shop Tours…

Melbourne Op Shop Tours run sustainable shopping tours across Melbourne.  Tours run through Melbourne’s second-hand wonderlands, on public transport.  Tour groups are kept nice and small to make sure everyone has a chance to pick up some fabulous bargains without having to resort to fighting their fellow op shoppers.   There are currently 6 tour routes, I run Melbourne’s Bayside Tour which appeared on TV here

Tell us more about Recycled Market..

 Last year, I co-founded a new online marketplace dedicated to buying and selling recycled products, Recycled Market. Recycled Market is a unique online venue that encourages buyers and sellers to reduce, reuse, redesign, refashion, rework and recycle as much as possible. A global marketplace focused on showcasing stylish handmade and ethically manufactured pieces made from recycled materials.


 
What tips can you give to anyone who wants to start recycling or upcycling their own clothes?

Get yo’self a sewing machine!  It need not be new, nor anything fancy, but owning a sewing machine will be the best investment if you’re interested in recycled fashion and DIY.

Refashioning tips? Don’t set your goals too high to begin with.  Making a dress from scratch would probably not be a good start, instead, try making a small clutch bag using an online tutorial, a soft toy, or t-shirt refashion, something simple so that you’ll progress with your next sewing attempt.

Many thanks to Erica for sharing her tips and so much with us about herself and her blog. If you would like to be interviewed for Ethical Fashion Bloggers, please get in touch. Also don’t forget to visit the forum and post your links for our DIY/ upcycled round up on Monday. If you are not a member already, you can join here.

With warmest wishes

Ceri X

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5 Ethical Ways to Monetise Your Fashion Blog

Being ethical and making money from your fashion blog don’t have to be mutally exclusive. You just need to stay true to your values and not get tempted by offers that don’t fit. Here are just a few ideas of ways that you can make money without compromise:

  • Advertising – Set yourself an advertising policy on what type of advertising you will and won’t accept. Why not try making  a list of companies that you would llike to work with and try and approach them direct. Networks will usually also allow you to accept or reject ads as you like.
  • Affiliate marketing – there are a number of ethical companies with affiliate marketing programmes. Try People Tree, Fashion Conscience and Natural Collection. Once our community becomes a little more established, I hope to contact some of the affiliate networks to see if they can get more ethical brands and retailers in board for our members to promote.
  • Selling second hand or vintage clothing – you can set up a shop through ebay and use your blog to promote it.
  • Sellling upcycled fashion or accessories – again you can use your blog to promote a shop or store on a marketplace like Etsy or Folksy.
  • Promote your services – are you a writer, photographer, model or designer. Your blog is a great way of promoting your service and getting more work.

If you have any other ideas for ethical ways to monetise your blog, please add them to the comments!

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