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The Conscious Beauty & Wellbeing Podcast
The Conscious Beauty & Wellbeing Podcast

Episode 12 · 5 months ago

Conscious Consumerism

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Jessie Plumley is founder of Asella, an online platform showcasing brands which specialise in sustainable fashion and lifestyle. She has brought a selection of artisans together under this one platform to encourage people to think about the decisions that they make when purchasing everyday items from t-shirts to skincare to home living.

She very kindly set aside some time for a chat about how her brand is going, what inspired her and what the future is for fast fashion & sustainable consumerism.

Hie everyone and welcome to anotherepisode of the conscious beauty and well being podcast with US summer andRabia from sopinskin. The podcast was created to shine te light on ourfavorite topics in the conscious beauty and well being welled together with ourfavorite blar, one of our favorite brand bom of beauty. Today we arejoined by a really special guest, Jess Clumiley from ithank you for happen, HiJesse your win for coming on. Now you have introduced us to a cellawhich is a market place that offers a selection of unique fashion andlifestyle pieces that have been creatid sustainably and ethically, and Icorrect yes Su Jessy. What was your inspirationbehind this venture and how long have you been up in running and what werethe highest and Loas of starting a cellar? Well Thea, the idea f actually starteda couple of years ago. I began looking into the impact of fast fashion on theenvironment and on communities some people as well. I decided I really wanted to set up myown sustainable closing line, but I quite quickly realized it just couldnot generate enough capital to do so. So not I remebouled, I just be startingout. I would be competing with Ha fast fashion. Industry, sustainable frashion seemed entirelyinaccessible and there was, I realized t there was no platform at all forthose small designers to start out. I really became passionate about usingthe platform, also as a conversattion starter, and to really inspire thesesmall designers to actually go grain rather than pop for a fast fashion.Business Template, for example, the site was ready to go for a yearbefor. I even there was any sellers on there. I think starting a business.It's brand new territory for Tmey have never done anything like it, so it wasquite scary to release it to friends and family, but that was definitely ahigh and I think the lows were the unforeseen difficulties such as the t,technical aspects to our website and yeah fnastic sounds like a real journey. Andi think I think, you've hitsomething quite important there, because I think you're right and whenyou consider how much competition there is between fast fashion and obviouslythe industry you're trying to get up and running yeah. It must have beenreally hard. It must have been a real challenge for you, yeah and I think aswell when you're looking at when I started looking in Sertin up, that'sthe sanable clothing line in the early days. I really I really felt that itwould have been far easier to go down the fast fashion, roote and I thinkit's because there isn't really that support for the sustainable designersto start out and that's really why a...

...sebbler became Hoa Gan Yeah Well Donyou for persevering. I think it's absolutely fantastic and- and I thinkin many ways we can relate to this Robyoucan't. We because when we startedout with serent skin there was hot, there were hardly Andy Gen Beautoblands around it. JUS was literally just starting off. It was not in the mainstream at all,and I guess in many ways it' still, I wouldn't say it's in the mainstream.Yet, but I think it's definitely gained a Lotof Mamentu compared to when westartin sort of six or so years ago. Yeah discussions are really starting. Ithink, which is is great. I think it's definitely about getting thoseconversations first and then things were nactually follow hopeful, I thinkconsumans consumers are demanding more as well so theye becoming so much moreaware of conscious consumerism. I should I say that they are demandingmore. They have higher expectations and because they are reading around thesubject, I think they're willing to pay more for their goods their products,their fashion, because they understand the impact that obviously sourcingsustainably has yeh. I think when Ogo ahead, I think when you are based withthe consumer, for example, who is solely price driven? You can't competewith fast fashion. Unfortunately, so the education rally has to come frompeople having a willingness to to change their whole consumption, theiconsumer habits, rather than just scoppting for the Sustainab Le Lotion, it's aboutsort of actively not engaging in the vast fascic fashion industry or insomeing tat into the environment as well, and I think it's still sodifficult. I mean yes, it's emerging, but they're still so difficult to comeby conscious or sustainable fashion. Imean you go into most super, not supermarkets, but more most malls orshopping centers and you're flooded by the likes of Primemark and all theseretailers at have you know obviously very catwork, walk inspired fashion,dirt, cheap prices, and it's very difficult to. I guess, for thesefashion design as even to sort of emerge and sort of get out there infront of people, because they obviously don't have that the accents, like you said to funds tohave retail outfits and spaces. I guess it's primarily online where they wouldsort of try and pitch and try and grab their audience. So I think it's lovely. Could you give us a bit more insightinto conscious and ethical brand? So what is it that distinguishes them fromsay fast fashion yeah, I mean Cek quite hard. Well, I think it'squite hard to distinguish the brands...

...because sustainability doesn't seem tobe regulated. So a big brand can turn around and said. This is our ECO rangeand you're. Only five percent of the products are RECO friendly. So I think from the research I've done.It seems to be that ens to be a balance of three things. Firstlly, I think all the conductsethically made and sourced. So do you know who's made them. Do the workers have rights or yeah so and then? Secondly, I thinkusing ECA Frendi materials and is the manufacturing posess in anyway damagingto the environment. And thirdly, you know wall the products last so will they can you, then they then buy adegrade or can we recycle them and weuse them and avoid them being thrownaway into landfill? And I think a really good indicator is to look for transparency within thasupply chain and within their production meshods. I read somewhere actually that if youcan buy Tshirt for the price of a cup of coffee,then someone somewhere down the line hasn't been paid properly. If at all, Ithink pricism, so a good indicator. That's really interesting, because it must make it very difficult for it's.I guess it's what you started the podcast explaining it puts intoperspective, actually how difficult it is for brands to become sustainable andinto the market in that yeah I mean, I know how difficult it's been for us toremain completely transparent and have and have that transparency all the waydown their supply chain, a as sort of green beauty in of company, but I think for fashion it. Itreally gives you an inpepact into how difficult it must be. So do you thinkthat then puts a lot of people off from going into sustainable fashion lines,creating them, and do you think, therefore, it'saccessible enough to Arive Nof audience? I think naturally it does because it'squite hard at the moment to start out, but I think it's important to rememberthat it's hard to be perfect and I think, if you're headin in the rightdirection and really attempting to just be more ethical and sustainable,it does make a difference. Do you think because of that there's enough brandsand are they accessible widely accessible to ot awiding our audience? I think thete's definitely a growingnumber, but at the moment I don't think theyare entirely accessivly at all because of e Rice range. But it is alsoimportant to remember that it doesn't Hap. You don't have to pay a lot for asustainable light and something as simple as even just prolonging the lifeof your clothes is sustainable of...

...wlying vintage. So there are otheroptions as well, and I think it's also perhaps abouttrying to reeducate all of the contuers. We I mean, I think the industry is sofast paced they constantly every season. It's like. Oh, my God, the new musthave colors. Then you must have prints. It's moved away from key timelesspieces that one could buy and wear for years and years and years and years andyears, it's very much. Oh my Gosh! This is a trend. How can you buy into thetrend and then it? Obviously you wear the trend and then next season it'soutdated to it ends up in landfill. So I guess it's about trying to reallyeducate us as well that you have to be quite mindful of your purchases, and Ithink this is something that is really gaining quite a bit ofmomentum in terms of a movement because people are trying to be more mindful of Thei purchases, not dothose impulse bis and invest in quality as well, because, I guess withsustainable brands, you would get a lot better quality things that will lastyou for absolutely years that you can wear for a really really long time.Yeah, I think as well. The marketing tactics have been quite relentlessrecently. The influences they're really promoting clothing or, for example, sobuying involt, a souce and, and then it's just it's making it the norm tooverconsume, and I think that is also another issue. So your right iscompletely about reeducating and changing the mindsets and that, I think,is really key to the shift and that's why people make changes. Do you thinkthis is just a particular problem here in the UK, or is it more further afieldand does it go into say Europe, because I've noticed that there's a trend thatseems to come predominantly here in the UK, whereby we are a lot more? We spend a lot more timeconsuming overconsuming goods and that could be food that could be clothing,makeup, beauty, products, it's a whole hoase of things. I feel as thoughthere's a clear divide between the UK and America and then say that yes, restof Europe, they seem to have a different minit. Do you think that'sfair to say, or do you think that I think I would agree in the UK? It'sdefinitely you know. We are driven by social media and I don't. I can't talkut, I don't know about the other countries, but it is the norm to justwear an ight and monce and throw it away and perhaps an hemmediate peopleare you shouldn't, wear an OUNC or twice,for example, but I think it's silly to have that attitude and you were talkingearlier about buying a an item like a classic sort of investment piace. Ithink that isn't very common amongst, for example, my friends, I it's justmore normal to bide, multiple itens and...

...where at once, and not be seen in thesame thing twice so ieems quite eems, quite scary o. But I think I hit thename on the HEADROB, its education and it's also convenience as well. Isn't it and it's it autobors on the fact thatthese brands are not as visually apparent as fast fashion.Brands are. But I think this is where platforms like yourself yourself reallyneed to be commended, because you do create that convenience. You do createthat sort of visualyou know everything sort of in one place, sor of shop whereyou can, where you can have all of that, and and you can drop the sting a bleas.Well, so I think it's definitely a stip in the right direction of lits scould.You explain H biefly, how has fast fashion had an impact, Fonthe environment and do you think enough? Consumers have sort ofcoted onto the enviroled environmental impacts that fast fashion has yeah wel. First flashion is damaging tothe environment. I start to finish so. Even before the manufacturing processhappens, rainpice are destroyedg to make ways of growt crops, and then youknow harmful green, how scatis a release through the production and andalso there's toxins leaking into nearby rivers which not only harm theenvironment but also the communityes living there and then obviously not to ignore thelabor process, which is often unregulated, yeah. And then, when we take when etake the item home and we even wash them microfibers are released into theoceans and up the food chain and then, like we said, it's ha trendto wear an ICAM wantes and throw it away so yeah fom start to finish. It isdamaging, but I think I think slowly, there's a growing awareness, but it's it's there's a lot of changesto be made. I think still. I always wonder that in the countrieswhere a lot of fast fashion is actually manufactured, they tend to be textileindustries in those countries, and I always wonder what the workers thinkabout the quality of the clothing that they're making, whether they agree andthey kind of think wel. Hang of what kind of quality is this that we'remaking we you know that they, probably in many cases, were better than whatthey're making to Tun owt yeah quite funny. How can we then increase consumerawareness of all this kind of stuff? Yeahi think that it's through educationand discussions mainly and social media is such a powerful tool to do this andto sort of recall out the brands,...

...perhaps so on, aren't really being fairat all. I think it's important to remember thatit is about the discussions and it you can't really tell someone don't by this,don't buy that they have to come to that conclusion themselves yeah. So Ithink it's thourh education and discussion personally and is thatsomething a Sella may be plans to bronch out into as well maybe kind ofhosting BACIFL conversinen. Definitely definitely we at the minute, there'sonly been a I've done, a lit of circular fashion? U There's so manyaspects as well that it's quite hard to find all of the information. So if wecould poltogether that and hopefully educate in in an easier way than thanalready sit out, there would be great azing. So what WROLG does your platform andothers like it, have to play an educating and offering a range of starsand products at affordable prices yeah? I think I think it is firstalyabout the discussions like I said, and really just creating awareness andwe try to offer a range of price brenges on the celler. So there are thehigh high price products and also the cheaper items such as vintage clothing,which I think often gets overlooked. It's quite it's the best rat to besustainable, just reusing and keeping products in the fashion lines B,t rather than throwing them away, and you coal get some great pieces, reallygood. o Love equality pieces actually through the vintage market. Can't youeven if you wanted to still follow trends, but you didn't want tooverconsume. You can always can always find that clothing item in vintage, I'msure tethere's so much out there yeah yeah, but you ot a different slant evento vintage, because even to some extent, even vintage became a bit of a tad atone stage, but putting it into the context of actually being sustainable.PUTJUST gives it up completely different light. Doesn't it yeah completely? I think that'ssomething that that people don't really think about and they see thort asassangle fashion is only expensive, but it's just not the case. It's simple asit's looking after the things that you own and making them laust wearing themmore than once and then selling them on or upcycling them, rather than just NTOlandfill. So it isn't all about price range, which is a good thing. Yeah haveyou found, covid has impacted sustainable fashions te mean: Do youthink people's awareness has increased more so during this whole pantemic? Doyou think people are making more of an informed choice now that they wereforced to with obviously a lot of retail spaces physical retail spacesbeing closed? They were sort of thrust into the etail world and do you thinkthat's how sually had a good impact for sustainable fashion yeah, but I definitely think there'sbeen lots of awareness and frands using...

...social media as a really powerful tooll. So definitely overcoded awareness. Thisgroun. However, I think the financial damage of Covid has really made a cardfor smaller brands to start out, especially with the likes of Boho, an asauce buying up behind street brands and and not any physical stores. Soit's quite clear that they're going to apply their fast fashion. tem plates tothese, these brands and they're only going to grow larger and overshadowthes, smaller band starting out yeah, which is probably why I o guess aplatform like yours is so useful to these two sustainable designers outthere, because they don't have to then invest in the whole setup of setting upa etail sort of website where people can find and discover their brands andthat's an alactual cost and time involved Thaug. Obviously, if you'redesigning, BRA or designing clothing and making clothing, you don't havethese resources of the Mampow to tackle the selling aspect. So I guess you'rekind of a platform is quite useful for these startur brands or start updesigners yeah completely, and I think, for example, I know that I don't knowif it's still the same, but an acos marketplace. You used to have to havefifty items up at once and if your news starting out and you have, you- canonly really generate a couple of items. If, if you want to be duy sustainable,you can't have hundreds of plieces, especially when you're new, so it'squite hard and on a cellar you can have one or a hundred and you don't needyouon websites, canall be managed yourself, so yeah, that's what the hope it's kind ofa support as well. That's what you want for them. Can I ask you what has been your mostpopular sort of type of merchandise, on Ancella during theselast few months that people seem to be demanding? The most of I think it'sactually been. There's been quite a bit of Jym. Were which is, I think,everyone's getting more active when their walks that beauty products and actually yeah,I think beauty and vintage as well, because it's a chuper price point. Ithink people feel that it's a lot easier to buy for especially we're anew online store, so you have to gain the trust as well as tha customers, ofcourse, of course. So what do you feel then? Jesse is thefuture for sustainable fashionind lifestyle Brens. I think I think, there's a great FEECJoa for them. I really hope that there's a lot moreregulation and the more l that these discussions happen. I hope that it putspressure on these larger brands to make big drastic changes to their business templates, and I really think our generation is theone to make these changes, but it can't happen overnight. So it's going to beslow, but I think we definitely will get. There eventually think L, obviously making a little bitmore space for smaller brands like...

...yours and the ones that, obviously youshowcase so that we've got to slightly fet er, a kind of preprepresentation ofeverybody's contumer choices yeah. I hope people shop more locally as well,rather than just going to he the main Brad. I think it's so important tosupport your lindependent yeah, independent Brads, all the way,definitely dfinty, but thank you so much Jessi. It's been amazing. Talkingto you and thank you for all your insights and for answering ourquestions. Do you want to just finish off by just letting our listeners knowwhere they can find your platform? Please? Yes, so it's W VU DOT! Asyland,O cod UK is the website or you can follow us an instagram. It's AC, aseller, underscoo fashion and it's the same Sella I jus got feshion forSakesbook as well Investe of luck. We wishou, you knowgoing wish that you go from strength to streigth, basically Anditlin. Obviouslyyou keeping very close to contact because e you can find us on Acener aswell to Havas. Well, IT'S N! Thank you. It'sbeen a pleasure to talk to you take here. Thank you. A for listening untilthe next episode, Bye, bye.

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