Meet Sam, a fast fashion addict turned ethical fashion blogger and founder of online ethical marketplace Eco | Mono. I met sam when she was at the beginning of her eco | mono journey and immediately knew I wanted this lady around. She is so full of passion, love and excitement about creating a better future and is so committed to using her platform to try and help others move towards one too. She has helped me when times have been tough and celebrated the wins with me too. It's been so wonderful to be apart of Eco | Mono, i'm so proud to be stocked on her platform alongside some other amazing brands that i have gotten to know because of Sam. She definitely has an exciting future ahead of her and I hope you are all inspired by what she has to say below, just like I was.
You went from a fast fashion lover, to an ethical fashion blogger and now you have a brilliant online store that sells a range of ethically and sustainably made clothes? I would love to know the story behind this journey. Was there a moment that made you change or was it a gradual process?
Originally from the UK I moved to Melbourne in early 2013. When I arrived I moved into a job working in corporate events. However, in 2015 I was made redundant and this forced me to take some time to think about what I am passionate about and how to make that my job.
Whilst searching for new job opportunities, I decided to write a fashion blog as a creative outlet, hobby. As I started to research topics to discuss on the blog, I began to realise just how horrifying the ethics are in the fashion industry and the negative impact the industry has on our environment. I felt as though I had been extremely naive up until this point.
A few people recommended that I watch The True Cost Documentary, it really inspired me and I decided to change the angle of my blog and focus on positive ethical fashion.
I remember sitting in my front room, watching The True Cost and there was a scene that just hit me in the gut and I burst into tears. Up until that point nothing had ever shook me to my core like that did (a few other docos have had a similar effect since) and I just thought “Sam, how did you not know this?, who else doesn't know this? how can we tell more people?”.
Why did you choose to call your online store eco | mono? What is the meaning behind the name?
When I launched eco.mono I wanted the shop to be ethical and eco-friendly hence the “eco” and I also wanted to focus on black, white and grey. Living Melbourne this was my wardrobe and enjoyed thinking people could come to the shop and build their own capsule wardrobe.
However, more recently we have started to add more colour to the shop, customers were asking for it so I thought why not, eco.mono is a small business and what it started off as probably isnt what it will be in 5-10 years and we will adapt as we go. I haven’t changed the name because I have worked hard on building the brand.
What do you love about running eco | mono?
I love working with some really intelligent, creative and passionate people. Building wonderful partnerships with the brands I stock and learning of new innovative things people are working on.
You have created a wonderful community through Eco | Mono, with your customers but also amongst your brands. Do you think it’s important to have a community of like minded people and why?
This may be a little controversial but I don’t think it is important to be surrounded by like minded people. It’s great to have a community of people all working towards different goals and for different causes. Everyone of us is different and has their own agenda. I think we are all fighting for different things and that is great, we can’t all be focused on one world issue but we can respect that what one customer or brand is passionate about may not be the same as another.
This post might explain it better https://www.instagram.com/p/Byms6VMHVcc/
I know running a small business can be hard, stressful, painful and extremely scary, but it can also be incredibly rewarding, exciting and fill you with such proud moments. Could you share some of these moments you have experience through your journey with Eco | Mono?
Oh yes, running a small business is an emotional rollercoaster. Some days you feel like your kicking goals and others you want to throw in the towel. I don’t think I have ever struggled with my mental health as much as I have since running my own business - but that’s a story for another day.
I get a lot of joy out of educating customers on different products and brands, and then hearing their wonderful feedback once they have tried the product themselves and return to again and again because eco.mono has become somewhere they trust to shop online for ethical and sustainable fashion.
Aside from this, I have enjoy getting to meet some customers through pop-ups I have ran over the years here Melbourne. There is nothing better than a face to face conversation with someone you have been social media pals with for some time.
I have also made some wonderful friends through running eco.mono, Jasmine from Ethical Made Easy, Kira from The Green Hub, Esther from Theo the Lable - of course Miss Lois Hazel to name just a few. It’s so wholesome to be surrounded by kick arse women who are also running their own businesses and all working towards a better fashion future.
What item do you think everyone needs in their wardrobe, like the staple ingredient in every ones pantry, and why?
This is super tough, I think there are a few things like salt and pepper, we need both right?
So, I am going to say THREE haha I know you said one but I think it is important to have all three of these things.
- A comfortable slip dress, I think a slip dress can be layered in Winter and worn with just sneakers or slides in summer. It’s the perfect year round dress.
- A good pair of sneakers, you can’t go wrong with comfy shoes that all give you that street style look.
- A trusty bag, something not too big and not too small, your everyday bag.
Have you got anything exciting in the works that you can share with us all?
Next year is going to be really exciting for eco.mono, I feel like you may not have seen much going on the past fews months but that’s because I have been busy working behind the scenes on a number of projects.
What is one of your waste pet peeves and how do you go about changing it in your day to day life?
This is a slightly unusual one, but I absolutely HATE the little plastic containers my contact lenses come in I wear dailies due to my prescription so that’s 60 little pieces of plastic a month! I have tried to not wear them everyday and swap them out for glasses, but I struggle to drive and exercise in glasses so this is a little mini battle I have almost every day!
What is your favourite piece from the new range and why?
I love the Fold Drop Skirt in Colourblock, I think it is the perfect skirt that will be worn for years and could even be passed down. I think investing in clothes you think will be Vintage one day is great and this skirt will definately be vintage!