With her clothing brand, Florence The Label, Sydney-sider Florence Barr seeks to combine her passion for gender equality and female empowerment with environmental sustainability. By pairing her gorgeous designs with breezy linen fabric and an ethical backbone, it is no wonder that this millennial business has already seen great success.
But this success has not come without its challenges. Florence the Label launched online in February, right before the whole world went into lockdown. The very fact that Florence’s business has not only survived the pandemic but thrived during it, is a testament not only to the clothes but the current demand for ethical consumption and e-commerce.
In this interview with Bondi Beauty, Florence gives her tips on building a successful sustainable business.
Physically Interact with Customers
Florence says, “I started online first, my website was the first point of sale for any of my products and then I set up stalls at Bondi Markets a couple of times which was great.
Markets are a really awesome way to actually physically meet your customers and talk about your designs and materials – especially when you are promoting yourself as a sustainable brand because people like to know what they are paying for.”
Find Your Why with Your Business
“My big passion is gender equality and women’s empowerment. That’s what I studied at University which really fostered that for me. So, I knew when I was creating the label that I didn’t want to just be another clothing brand that just sells clothes and that’s it. I wanted to have more behind the brand. “
“So, it was a no brainer for me to start by designing clothes for women that centred around female empowerment and create a very inclusive brand image. A lot of the models I use at the moment are my friends, so they are REAL women.” Florence says.
“The more I looked into starting my own clothing label the more I wanted to go down the ethical and sustainable side of things as well. And so, these two things make up the main core values of my brand.”
Start Before You’re Ready
Believe it or not, Florence does not have a fashion design background and has never studied fashion design before. From what started as a hobby of making clothes she wanted in her own wardrobe, Florence highlights that anybody can start a business if they have a big enough passion and work ethic.
“When I first started meeting with manufacturers, I felt like I had been thrown into the deep end. They were using all of this terminology that I didn’t know, and I’d never studied fashion, so it was such a fake it until you make it situation. I would just nod along and pretend like I knew what they were talking about and for the most part that worked.
But you learn as you go, and I have learnt so much from just doing it myself and doing my own research”.
Get Creative With Your Sustainable Alternatives
As ethical and sustainable clothing becomes progressively more in demand, new environmental innovations become increasingly more available.
Florence recommends doing your research to find sustainable alternatives at every level of operations to leave the best possible environmental footprint.
Florence says in her business “all pieces are made from 100% linen, a sustainable and biodegradable fabric that won’t hurt our environment.”
“In terms of packaging I ship all of my orders in compostable packaging satchels, I don’t use any plastic. I wrap my clothes in paper tissue paper. All of my clothes are currently made in Sydney which is a huge bonus because it reduces overall carbon footprint because you’re not shipping your product in runs across the globe during the production process” she says.
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