WFTO Partners with Digital Wholesale Platform Kanekta
Across the globe there exists an endless supply of conscious products created as either a means to lift communities out of a cycle of exploitation or to set an example for sustainable and fair business practice. They exist because of their belief in fairness and transparency and through their collective actions, the inequalities that exist within modern supply chains will soon be obsolete. WFTO is the global community of over 330 Fair Trade Enterprises in 70 countries. These innovative businesses produce and trade such products to the highest social standards. Critically, they all have a social mission at the heart of their business model, and are verified as such by the WFTO. The WFTO Guarantee System verifies that enterprises are 100 percent committed to Fair Trade in everything they do, assessing their impacts on workers, farmers and artisans, as well as their trading practices and that they are a mission-led enterprise in their governance. The WFTO Guaranteed Fair Trade label signifies that a business is a Fair Trade Enterprise. Enterprises using this label have been peer reviewed and independently audited to ensure that they meet the highest commitment to Fair Trade. As a way to elevate their potential, the WFTO has partnered with Kanekta - a digital wholesale platform that connects eco-ethical brands from across the globe to retail buyers. Through this partnership, members can leverage technology to streamline and strengthen their wholesale strategy to reach new markets. A number of brands have shied away from wholesale due to its traditional and strenuous nature. The daunting task of exhibiting at trade shows, booking meetings with buyers and closing sales before the start of a new season is coupled with multiple operational challenges of filling larger purchase orders. Multiple intermediaries dominate the supply chain: widening the gap between stores and prospective brands. Wholesale buying in general needs to keep up with existing digital ecosystems and that is where Kanekta comes in. By digitizing the manual steps in the order submission and fulfillment process (such as showcasing collection, payment processing and delivery scheduling), Kanekta makes incorporating wholesale into a brand’s sales strategy easy by placing the power and control back in the hands of brands. The movement towards ethical and sustainable production is progressing. However, ethical brands, although plentiful, lack representation in the mainstream market. Kanekta enables a retailer to stock their shelves with responsible brands easily. Boutiques, gift shops, home and lifestyle stores and e-commerce curators alike can place purchase orders from multiple brands directly, through a simple, streamlined buying process for all parties involved.Alternatively, brands have complete control over what is sold through the platform: products and collections are uploaded and self managed. This creates a virtual, transactable showroom, eliminating the majority of the manual paperwork and processes usually required. Through Kanekta brands gain: 1. Access to Buyers Across the Globe - Discover a community of brick and mortar and online retailers from across the globe in search of emerging brands committed to social and environmental impact. 2. Personalized Platform - Create a digital showroom and customized profile page, fully equipped with built-in payment processing and integrations with inventory management systems. 3. Built-in Management Tools - Manage all wholesale orders in one place with a suite of management tools including sales reports, customer dashboards, and a built-in line sheet generator. Together through collaboration and community building, we can increase the availability of responsible goods within the mainstream market and make ethical purchasing the norm. To apply to sell fill out this form: https://www.kanekta.ca/apply-to-sell If you are a buyer looking for responsible merchandise for your store you can sign up for Kanekta here: https://www.kanekta.ca/apply-to-buy For any questions please email priyanka@kanekta.ca
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How to Convey a Brand's Message Through Merchandising
Visual merchandising is a critical skill within your business and it's possible you’re overlooking it, did you know that the atmosphere your store conveys is one of the biggest techniques to drawing in a new customer and making them fall in love with a new brand? Let’s consider some well recognized brands: think about the simplicity of an Everlane item, or the colors and prints of Reformation. How can you leverage not only a brand but also your own store persona to attract more customers by telling a visual story? Here at Kanekta, we truly believe that the future of retail is moving towards sourcing responsibly made goods, therefore it is important for a brand to maintain their conveyed message throughout all platforms of design. Here are a few examples to get you started on how to convey a brand's message through the use of visual merchandising.Let’s begin! Creating a clear picture to consumers about the vision of the brand should be your first step. It doesn’t matter if you are a fashion designer or a retail buyer, visual merchandising is key in creating a unique shopping experience for your customers. Whether you are starting an e-commerce site or building a physical store, it is important to maintain a consistent theme across brands you carry that can land comfortably on all platforms. Find the designer in you! Consider a simple question: what will attract customers from the other side of a store to visually pick out a brand? This is important to a retail visual merchandiser as you may choose to highlight specific styles or brands within your store depending on your business needs. Creating ambiance within your space can be achieved through the use of props, plants, lighting, fixtures, or even mannequins. How does your store feel to an outsider and what is drawing them in? When creating an online shopping experience, the questions to consider are similar. How user friendly is your website? What atmosphere does the colour story provide? Have you utilized the product knowledge resources provided by brands to help educate your sales team? By incorporating these details, your shop can convey a brand's message and seamlessly offer your customers a desired shopping experience. Let’s look at an example. . . All of this can be achieved by focusing on the use visual aids like props, colours and of-course each brand’s personal unique style.For example, your shop’s focus for the week is a cozy night in, this could take the form of organic cotton pajamas and fuzzy wool socks displayed next to a beautiful artisan quilt. To complete the look, you have warm candles within the space and add succulents to bring life into the scene.Use your visuals to create a story in the customers mind and let your creativity shine through. Not only does visual merchandising enhance the overall aesthetic and appeal of the brand but it can communicate a deeper message to the consumer about the mission behind the products. In this specific example, the visuals may be reminding the customer that winter is here and it is time to get cozy, what better way to do so than by bundling up in an artisan made quilt. As a brand. . . You’re a brand who sells wholesale ready collections and are wondering: How do I convey my brands message in the hands of a buyer? Of course, an element of trust has to be applied if you are wholesaling to retailers internationally but that doesn't mean you can't give them suggestions on how to merchandise your products. By providing product knowledge kits and examples of your brand’s existing merchandising techniques, you can guide them with suggestions on their creative journey. This should be clearly executed by providing that buyer the ideal customer shopping experience for your brand. It is also likely that the stories you chose to share about your brand is what attracted the buyer to you in the first place. As creatives, we all want to supply an aid to the customer. Whether that is by offering a product or an experience, it is important to remember to work as a team when translating a message to make the merchandise process more enjoyable for independent retailers. Who is doing it now? As a creative, go ahead and ask yourself a few initial questions. For example, what is the ideal experience you want your customers to have? This question should always be at the forefront of your designing process and be translated into the aesthetic you carry throughout. Listed below are three different Kanekta brands we have chosen to highlight because of their successful use of visual merchandising throughout various online and physical platforms.Elvis and KresseA British luxury accessories brand who is centered around sustainability. They supply their customers with significant information as to what is being purchased while also providing factual evidence as to why their brand is focused on tackling the global problem of leather waste.31 BitsCreated by three inspiring women, their mission is to provide job opportunities to artisans worldwide while crafting products that are both thoughtful and ethical by design. While posting product imagery and telling stories within their space, the visuals and the merchandising techniques they choose to consistently use offer opportunity to educate new and old customers about this vision of the brand.No NastiesWith fair trade being a focal point for this fashion brand, their imagery, story telling, colour palette and more give clear evidence to the customer why they want you to feel good about your purchases. By placing their values at the forefront of their branding online and in their own physical store, the message conveyed is held clear to the viewer. In conclusion. . .         Visual merchandising is your friend and a creative avenue of opportunity. Whether you’re a buyer or designer, visual tools and techniques offer assistance in helping convey your desired message. As you move forward on your creative adventures, ask yourself this: how do you want the customer to remember you? It is an exciting time to be in retail as we work together to make conscious design the desired norm. We challenge you to look into your current visual message and ask yourself this question: does the visual design across all mediums of my brand provide uniqueness and insight into my vision? Join Kanekta to start stocking your store with responsible brands from across the globe, login or sign up today!Photo courtesy of unsplash.
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Fair Couture, by Women for Women: The Fabric Social Partner Spotlight
Threads to change the world — words that perfectly encompass the social enterprise and ethical fashion brand, The Fabric Social (TFS). Created in 2014 by three female entrepreneurs, the brand provides income stability for women living in conflict communities in Asia. Every piece is hand-made and fabrics hand-woven by women for women. TFS ethos stems from a passion for gender rights and the understanding that gender inequalities are higher in areas where women have little to no participation in civil society.  With producer partners in India and Myanmar, the brand utilizes traditional fabrics from each subsequent region, tapping into pre-existing skills and local supply chains. Wherever you find armed conflict, displacement, natural disaster or poverty, you find resilient women trying to put their communities back together. Thus, TFS core social goal is to lift the burden of poverty from women and their families.Their stock list consists of featured collections all centered around quality made, nearly seasonless, transitional pieces for women. Valuing style over trends has led them to create collections that are not only made to wear and love but that also come with a traceable supply chain. All clothing and accessories are made at a fair price in safe labour conditions by women living in insecure locations.We got the opportunity to sit down with Megan Schipp from TFS to talk about how the brand is pioneering a new wave of economic independence not dependent on charity.1. What was the inspiration behind The Fabric Social and what is your proudest moment thus far?Poverty is cause of conflict and conflict a cause of poverty. TFS is an organization built on feminist values and the desire to raise equality levels for women living in conflict affected areas of Asia by providing a stable income. It was born out of the realization that traditional development structures were not working in these regions where women had little connection to international markets. We’ve had a lot of proud moments in the last couple of years. Our proudest would be the ability to expand our production to another facility in Myanmar through a partnership with Action Aid and the creation of a women run production unit in Mizoram, India.2. In which direction do you see the future of ethical brands going? And how do you see the future of your own brand?We see ethics as eventually becoming the norm, so much that it’s no longer a selling point but an expectation or requirement. People are becoming more aware of what’s going in their body and on their body. We hope to keep growing and replicating our style and philosophy around the world, working with women living in other conflict affected areas and telling their stories through our supply chains.3. How do you as a brand ensure ethical production and transparency throughout your supply chain?From worm to weave, we are connected to every aspect of our supply chain. We know the women that rear the eri-silk worms, the women who spin the threads and the women who weave the fabrics. We partner only with organisations who share the same values and conduct basic needs assessments and evaluations at the beginning of each project. The only part of our supply chain where we don’t know each women by name is the production which is done by Sasha World in Kolkata. However, Sasha is World Fair Trade Organization certified and are then regularly audited by the WFTO who have high ethical standards for production.4. Where can readers currently find your brand (cities)?We sell online and will ship all over the world. If you want to check out our products in store, we are currently available in Melbourne, Australia.5. What excites you about partnering with Kanekta?We are excited about the ability to connect our designs with retail owners from all over the world who care about ethics and supporting women producer groups.Discover and shop their wholesale collections through Kanekta now by signing up here.To learn more about The Fabric Social and their story visit https://thefabricsocial.com/
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Change Beyond Textiles: Matter Prints Partner Spotlight
Founded by Renyung Ho and Yvonne Suner in 2014, MATTER is a garment and accessories brand that sources heritage prints and styles them in a modern manner. With a mission to foster designer-artisan collaborations, inspire customers to value provenance and process, and pioneer industry change for rural textile communities, MATTER seamlessly transforms prints to products. Their unique approach to making rural artisan production sustainable includes championing alternative production models for artisans to expand their economic opportunity and enable the textile craft to continue as a viable industry. In doing so they have committed to a model of urban-rural production where variables that affect artisan processes like the serendipities of weather, celebratory customs, and harvest cycles are carefully considered. MATTER is best known for their iconic pants, available in a variety of traditional prints and styles, each piece shares a beautifully draped silhouette coupled with a fitted waist. The prints vary based on the technique used by the artisan, block printing, handloom and Ikat are the brands signatures. Aside from pants, MATTER also makes everything from women’s dresses, tops and jumpsuits to a variety of accessories and even children’s wear. Needless to say versatility and creating seasonless styles made to last is of the utmost importance to MATTER.We had the opportunity to chat with Co-Founder and Managing Director, Renyung Ho about her experience starting MATTER and where she sees the brand heading. 1. What was your inspiration to start Matter Prints and what is your proudest moment thus far?I met my co-founder Yvonne on the beaches of Mexico in 2009, we were inspired to combine our love for travel, and cultural stories into a business. We felt that through design interpretation, textile artisanship would be a sustainable means of living and we thought that there must be many more people like us who value products made in this way. Over the years, we would meet up to do sourcing trips despite our different full-time jobs. The catalyst for getting Matter started, 5 years later, was a fundraising road trip called Fluk Fluk Run. My fiance and I covered 3000km over 2 weeks on a three wheeler auto-rickshaw for a fundraising road trip. In that time I fell in love with the country, met some of the key people I work with now, and was moved by how something small can really go a long way.Walking along the streets and seeing people in MATTER products is always our proudest moment. We also love hearing a customer tell us a story about why they love their pants and how they connected them to something else. Or feeling connected to a complete stranger through MATTER. It is always endlessly inspiring to know that they share our values and mission. I truly believe that there is something to learn from everyone around you. You just have to look at the people close to you and listen to the stories they have to tell.2. In which direction do you see the future of ethical brands going? And how do you see the future of your own brand?Ethical standards are fundamental to a brand’s integrity, but for brands to last and continue making an impact, customers have to first believe in their product. And it’s where ethical brands are heading towards, the realization that the ethical standards of a brand is what gets a customer to stay, but it’s the products that catches a customer’s attention.For us, the biggest thing would be to look into the waste and energy management practices of our partners and reduce our environmental impact. We’ve launched a range of organic cotton pants, and are hoping to eventually move to entirely organic and natural materials, as well as zero impact semi synthetics like tencel or lyocell. Currently, offcuts of our base fabrics are reused and made into other small scale products like our #mattermini collection, jewelry, and jute tote bags, but in the future we’re hoping to enhance the recycling of our fabrics so that even pre-worn garments can be also repurposed by us.3. How do you as a brand ensure ethical production and transparency throughout your supply chain?To understand how the fair factories that we work with treat their employees, we check with them the international accredited labour codes that they follow. At the start of the relationship, we personally visit each of the production partners to understand them better, before we bring them on as a business partner.We have a framework to evaluate each artisan partner: whether it was globally founded, how long it has been in operation, and most importantly if the motivation of the founders is based on profit or a simple love for the craft. We tend to work with generational artisans partners, where the craft has been passed down in family through generations; it gives us the security of their motivations. A questionnaire is also given to our artisan partners, on the minimum wage that our partners give to their artisans, certifications of fair trade, the source of their raw materials, among other information, to ensure transparency on both ends.We share all our production and artisan partners on our website, as well as the criteria that we use to select artisan partners that we will work with.4. Where can readers currently find your brand (cities)?In Singapore, we have a showroom open on Fridays only from 11am-7pm at 19A Haji Lane. We are also stocked at the following stores:Threadbare & Squirrel: 501 Orchard Road #02-20 Wheelock Place, 238880 SingaporeKapok: National Design Gallery, 111 Middle Rd, 188969 SingaporeGallery & Co: 1 St Andrew’s Rd, 178957 SingaporeTouch The Toes: 4A Haji Lane, 189197 SingaporeZhai: #01-58, United Square Thomson, 307591 Singapore & #02-26 163 Tanglin Road Singapore 247933 SingaporeIn Hong Kong, we have selected items at Vamastyle: Room 201, Bamboo Grove, 82 Kennedy Road, Wan Chai.In the US, we are stocked at the following stores:Wilder Goods: 111 South Grand Avenue Suite 107c, Bozeman, MT 59715, USAOkkio Miami: 7610 NE 4th CT #111, Miami FL 33138, USAIbu Movement: N183 King Street, 2nd floor, Charleston, SC 2940, USAIn Amsterdam, we have selected items available at Northernism: Nieuwendammerkade 28A-13 Amsterdam, Netherlands 1022 AB.5. What excites you about partnering with Kanekta?As a growing brand, we’re excited to be a part of a platform connecting ethical brands and buyers. To be partnering with a collective that holds integrity at such a high account with a comprehensive vetting process is encouraging, because it sets the mark for the ideal norm: that all brands should be kept accountable and remain transparent in their ethical standards.To learn more about MATTER and their story visit https://matterprints.com/Discover and shop their wholesale collections through Kanekta now by signing up here.
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3 Ways To Make Boutique Retailers Fall In Love With Your Brand
Boutiques, lifestyle shops, and concept stores alike get pitched on a daily basis from brands seeking representation with their spaces. With the competition being fierce, what does it really take for a brand to stand out? As more brands adopt responsible practices surrounding where they source their materials and how they treat their workers, the novelty of products being ethically made and/or sustainably produced is no longer enough to stand out. But wait, this is a good sign, right? It is and it shows amazing progress and proof that it is no longer an option but rather a responsibility for brands to maintain certain ethical principles throughout their supply chains.Retailers are slower to change their sourcing practices, some choose to only allot a small space in their stores to responsible brands while others simply seek out products that match their store persona. Given the uniqueness and individual curation each store embodies, it is important to recognize that just because a retailer doesn’t advertise that they offer a responsible selection does not mean they cannot stock parts of their store with ethical and sustainable alternatives. At Kanekta, our aim is to make ethical sourcing easy for buyers everywhere so they can stock their store with responsible brands that look, feel and do good. So the question still remains, what does it take for an emerging ethical brand to catch the eye of a retail buyer? Here are our top three tips:  1. Simplicity is KeyCost is a real hurdle for brands, especially when promoting fairness throughout their supply chains. From production to delivery, expenses can quickly add up, leaving little left for marketing. When in doubt, turn to simple, clean brand design paired with clear and concise messaging. This is key if you want your brand to not only resonate with retailers but also their clientele.If graphic design and content creation isn’t your forte, creative agencies make these services not only affordable and accessible but also cater to businesses with a social focus. Wild Spring Creative is one that comes to mind.2. Build a Brand Based on Purpose, but Driven on ValueIt is no surprise that a product’s quality is the deciding factor on whether or not a retailer chooses to stock a brand’s collection. This is not unique to a certain category of goods but spans across everything from fashion to home goods to beauty and skin care. Design is subjective and tastes differ depending on a stores consumer base; however, quality equals value and that translates to the reputation a brand builds with their stockist stores. A purposeful brand story coupled with a quality product is a winning combination because a good story will not always equate to high sales. In the end, consumer loyalty is based on a brand that captivates both the heart and mind.3. Be TransparentA retailer has two main priorities when choosing what brands to fill their store with. First is to curate based on a unique store persona that is consistent and second is to curate based on the constantly changing wants and preferences of their clientele. They stock what their customers demand, and with the conscious consumer movement rising, transparency is what is demanded. Knowing the origin and life of a product has become more and more important to consumers when choosing what brands to support – making it even more important for retailers to find products that satisfy that need. Through retailers, a brand has the opportunity to really reach and connect with a wide range of consumers by using their packaging to convey the meaning behind their brand mission. A brand’s ability to be transparent about their ethical practices, sustainability initiatives, and social responsibility is what creates that organic connection and loyalty between brands and consumers.At the end of the day, retailers look for one thing, a quality product that is able to stand its ground and not hide behind its social “goodness” factor. Ultimately, purchases are made because they satisfy a desire, one that is unique to each individual. Retailers exist to provide consumers access to goods that fulfill these desires, as a brand, acknowledging this is the first step to uncovering which outlets best match with your unique image. Beyond retailers, your end consumers likely feel the same way. If you're curious to see things from their perspective, this article is a good place to start.Photo by Adam Jang on Unsplash
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Zero-Waste, Fair Fashion: tonlé Partner Spotlight
Identifying uniqueness from maker to wearer, sustainable fashion brand tonlé’s mission is to see fashion differently – from the way it’s made to the way it’s worn. Founded in 2008 by Rachel Faller, the San Francisco based brand makes comfortable, casual, clothing using eco-friendly materials out of factories in Cambodia.Driven by their sustainable production approach the company has been entirely zero-waste since 2014, their pattern making process uses 100% of a given material while generating garments from remnant materials. The brand offers a range of Women’s clothing and accessories that are dynamic in design and offer an unconventional style to everyday basics. The brand’s designers work side by side with the production team to plan collections that incorporate even the tiniest scraps into original looks. Each year tonlé’s production, in contrast to a typical manufacturer, saves 10,000 kg of materials from landfills.Given that their existing wholesale distribution spans throughout Australia, Asia, Europe and the Americas, Rachel and her team are on a path to total world domination. With a belief that style is about more than just what you wear, tonlé is pioneering the zero-waste fashion movement by closing the textile loop.1. What was your inspiration to start tonlé and what is your proudest moment thus far?I moved to Cambodia in 2008 to do research on fair trade and sustainability on a Fulbright grant. The artisans I met in Cambodia through that research were what inspired me to start a business there. Although I met many people who were talented, skillful, and made beautiful products, they had a hard time getting their products to a wider audience. At the same time, I witnessed the direct impact of the garment industry both on the people who worked within it and the environment around them, and I believed there was a better way to do things. Although I didn't know what I was getting myself into at first, I was lucky to be surrounded by some amazing people in my team. Some of my proudest moments have been seeing the people that work with tonlé grow personally and professionally and being able to see what we have built together. 2. In which direction do you see the future of sustainable brands going? And how do you see the future of your own brand?Right now the market for ethical products seems to be growing significantly, though it is still a challenge to break into the wider market. At the same time, more and more unsustainable products are sold as well. I think we have to figure out how to not only make things better, but consume less. I hope to see larger brands really embrace changing their ideologies around production as well, because even as a whole the market for ethically made products is still dwarfed by the fast fashion industry. I think we have to all work together to make a dent in this. 3. How do you as a brand ensure ethical production and transparency throughout your supply chain?Our entire production is vertically integrated, so the artisans we work with are directly on our payroll, which makes us different from many of the other brands out there who contract other factories to do their work. We are able to ensure much more transparency and adherence to best practises as a result.  Our company is also a benefit corporation, mandated legally to create public good. This is something that is embedded into our company values and how we have always operated. 4. Where can readers currently find your brand (cities)?tonlé just opened its very first brick and mortar store in the US, located in San Francisco! You can also find us in stores across the UK, Asia, Europe, Australia, Canada, and the US. For a detailed list, please visit: https://tonle.com/pages/stockists5. What excites you about partnering with Kanekta?I'm very excited to be a part of a platform that connects ethical brands to each other and to retailers. Kanekta is the first of its kind! It's a great opportunity to cultivate a connected community in the ethical fashion world. Discover and shop their wholesale collections through Kanekta starting late 2017. To learn more about tonlé and Rachel’s story visit https://tonle.com/pages/about-us
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A Social Enterprise Weaving Joyful Stories: Rags2Riches Partner Spotlight
As a Philippines based fashion and design house empowering community artisans, Rags2Riches (R2R) is proof that style and sustainability can coexist. Co-founded by social entrepreneur Reese Fernandez- Ruiz in 2007, R2R partners with local artisans across the Philippines to create eco-ethical fashion and home accessories out of upcycled, overstock cloth and indigenous fabrics.Their stock consists of a range of Women and Men's bags, including shoulder, sling, crossbody, backpacks, clutches and wallets. Every year R2R releases new collections to reflect lifestyle needs and the use of artisan created materials. Within the first two years alone, the brand had trained around 1,000 artisans (mostly women) and created sustainable and reliable opportunities for them to improve their lives. R2R’s existing retail partners are primarily located in The Philippines with a few spread out throughout the rest of the world, such as Anthropologie (US & EU), K’ness (Switzerland), A Bag with a Story (Benelux), and American Nomad. With a supply chain driven by two guiding principles of design and governance, R2R’s business model focuses on collaborative design, empowerment and inclusive progress and conscientious commerce.Reese is the force behind the ethical brand, having been recognized in Forbes 30 Under 30 Social Entrepreneurs in 2015, she is propelling R2R to be a brand to watch. 1. What was your inspiration to start R2R and what is your proudest moment thus far?Our inspiration was really the artisans - their lives, crafts, determination, and joyfulness. It is so hard to choose one moment that we are proudest of because there are so many artisans and so many moments that we'll forever remember and look back to! But perhaps if I could mention one, I would choose that first time (of many) when we saw all of the bank account passbooks of our artisans spread out on our table, ready for distribution. It was the start of something new and unprecedented in our communities. Only a small percentage of Filipinos have bank accounts due to various barriers to entry but our artisans who used to not even have enough money for a day's worth of food, now have surplus to save and think about the medium to long term.2. In which direction do you see the future of sustainable brands going? And how do you see the future of your own brand?The ultimate dream is for one day, we take "sustainable" away from the qualifier of brands only because sustainable is the only way to go. But we have a long way to go from that scenario. In the meantime, socially conscious and sustainable brands should share beautiful stories but also amazingly designed products with uncompromising quality. As for R2R, our goal is to expand our market to more cities and countries because our business model and supply chain are built to be inclusive and create positive impact by just simply operating. This means that as we grow the market, we grow our impact. We see R2R as an opportunity platform for artisans to truly be included in the supply chain of fashion and for other social enterprises to reach and learn from the market.3. How do you as a brand ensure ethical production and transparency throughout your supply chain?From the onset, we built R2R to be an end-to-end inclusive supply chain and it was an incredibly challenging one to build! Every single decision and policy we made along the way considers the well-being and future of our artisan communities. Weaving the principles of ethics, empowerment, and transparency into every single thing we do is definitely harder than just creating policies to follow, but we believed that it is worth it. We believe that in order to truly ensure sustainability, we have to integrate them into our systems with the right incentives and support.4. How do you approach new seasons and trends as an ethical fashion brand?It is very tricky to create newness especially when we believe and stand for "Things That Matter"! This is why our design process and go-to-market approach is incredibly intentional. We create new products and design new seasons not just according to market trends but according to actual lifestyle needs. We design products with the least waste possible (and we make use of whatever remnants we can find) and with the maximum usability. So if you see an R2R bag that looks classic and stylish enough to go from day to night, or an R2R bag that can transform into 4 other bags, those are the design babies we gave birth to with maximum usability and longevity in mind!5. What excites you about partnering with Kanekta?We love our social enterprise and artisans and we are excited to partner with like-minded and like-hearted companies and platforms like Kanekta that can spread this love to the world!Discover and shop their wholesale collections through Kanekta starting late Summer, 2017. To learn more about Rags2Riches and Reese’s story visit https://rags2riches.ph/
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When Style Meets Sustainability: Beaumont Organic Partner Spotlight
The intersection between sustainability and style is the essence of Beaumont Organic. Founded in 2008 by Hannah Beaumont Laurencia in Manchester, England, the brand has evolved from an 8 piece collection to a pioneer in the ethical fashion world.  With a mission to design and create 'Contemporary Conscious Clothing' using luxury fabrics for the modern woman, Beaumont Organic offers a wardrobe of transitional pieces - everything a woman needs to dress up or down, day or night. The brand combines unique silhouettes with luxury organic, fairtrade and eco fabrics to create a renowned style.  Beaumont Organic releases two collections a year along with a range of accessories, with the goal to encapsulate an emotional bond with their customers while creating a loyal following across the globe.  After graduating from Fashion and Textile Marketing, Hannah embarked on her career as a buyer. Soon after, she founded Beaumont Organic as a range of undyed 100% Organic Cotton T-shirts and the brand has been evolving ever since. When asked about her brand, Hannah shared her journey along with what makes her company a force in the industry.  1. What was your inspiration to start Beaumont Organic?I launched the range in 2008, and at the time I was a big shopper and owned numerous cotton tee’s. After doing some research, I realised the damage to the environment the growing of cotton was causing. My research lead me to find there were very few luxury organic cotton brands available and hence why I launched the collection initially with 8 beautiful t-shirts. 2. In which direction do you see the future of sustainable brands going? And how do you see the future of your own brand? More and more markets are beginning to see the importance of sustainability therefore I see more brands becoming sustainable – it is really the only way to do business. Beaumont Organic has a strong customer base; we are growing in the UK and Europe through wholesale accounts, online, and through flagship stores. We aim to continue growing across Europe and take on more accounts in countries we have not yet explored. 3. How do you as a brand ensure ethical production and transparency throughout your supply chain? We work only with factories in the UK and Portugal under full EU regulations.  We visit the factories regularly as they are part of the Beaumont team and we speak with them daily.  We have now built long, trusting and transparent relationships with all our factories.  We also have a representative in Portugal who visits the factories weekly to ensure everything is as it should be.   4. How do you approach new seasons and trends as an ethical fashion company?In the same way as any fashion house; we look at shapes, colours and texture and then design from there. We are not hugely trend driven as our collection is designed to be timeless but we do always look at popular trends as any fashion house should.  Beaumont Organic has a core group of factories that we always work with so we don’t source new factories every season, just some new fabrics.5. Who is your brand inspiration and why?I am inspired by iconic brands like Chanel for the longevity of the brand; creating an iconic brand like Chanel requires so much dedication and clarity and I respect this highly. Safia Minney and Katherine Hamlet are hugely inspirational ladies in the world of pioneering ethical fashion. Finally, Malene Birger for her elegant sophistication and recognisable brand identity.Discover and shop their wholesale collections through Kanekta starting late Summer, 2017. To learn more about Beaumont Organic and Hannah’s story visit https://www.beaumontorganic.com/pages/our-story.
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How India’s 1st Fairtrade Clothing Brand is Making Eco Fashion the Go-To Choice: No Nasties Partner Spotlight
As India's first Fairtrade licensed clothing brand, No Nasties was founded in 2011 by Apurva Kothari. It was founded with a mission to create a consumer movement for ethical fashion by building an organic Fairtrade clothing brand that people love. The brand began as a t-shirt company, honing their style and fairtrade production chains with a few classic shapes which were always nipped and tucked to perfection.  The brand also encompasses environmental sustainability throughout their supply chain using only dyes and inks that are water-based, eco-friendly and free from plastisols. Additionally all their cotton farmers are paid a premium in order to ensure community development and all factories are fair, free of child labour and discrimination. No Nasties’ stock list consists of a range of Men and Women’s clothing and accessories. Their silhouettes reflect design features such as a hint of a modern cocoon shape, slub textured cotton and unusual drapes in just the right places. Their collections are perfect for minimalists, capsule wardrobe fans and serial outfit repeaters alike. Given that their clothes are made from surplus, unused fabrics reclaimed and repurposed into their original styles, collections sell out fast and are heavily sought after.  Before starting No Nasties, Apurva worked in technology for 12 years. He started as a software engineer building everything from mobile phones to microchips. He eventually got to a point where working simply for money became tiresome, he craved purpose and No Nasties gave him just that.  1. What was your inspiration to start No Nasties and what is your proudest moment thus far?Farmer suicide in India is the largest number of suicides recorded in human history and it's not getting any better. These numbers were too disturbing for us to ignore so we decided to do something about it. We looked at the current initiatives in India to address this issue and were glad to discover a solution in "organic" and "fair trade" farming practices. However, all this work was being done only at the grassroots level. There wasn't enough support for it from consumers. Anyone truly aware of what is going on would not continue to ignore this crisis, if you had a viable alternative, you would choose it. An alternative that doesn't ask you to change your lifestyle, but meets you where you're at and matches your fashion and design sensibilities. This is how No Nasties was born. 2. In which direction do you see the future of sustainable brands going? And how do you see the future of your own brand?We are seeing that people are demanding to know where their products are coming from, not just fashion but everything. I see a lot more players entering this space. What we would like to see is transparency from brands, a set of standards that are universally followed. Rather than labelling brands doing ‘good’ as ethical, we should be labeling the ones that need improvement, so that individuals know what they are buying into.  3. How do you as a brand ensure ethical production and transparency throughout your supply chain?There are a few ways you can ensure transparency throughout a supply chain, 1. You supervise every step of the production personally or 2.You work with people whom you trust. In our case we work with one farming cooperative and one factory. One of our core values is to encourage collaboration that is why our factory is dedicated to helping the farmers. We do not buy cotton from the open market even if it is certified organic, we need to know the people making our cotton. Additionally we rely on GOTS and FairTrade certifications to ensure that transparency is being held throughout the supply chain.  4. As an ethical fashion brand, how do you approach designing for new seasons and trends? We want No Nasties to be a timeless, classic brand, with pieces that fit into your wardrobe, your mood and your palette at any point in the year. No matter what the trend is, no matter the colours and styles that magazines are promoting as the latest line in temporary chic - our garments stand the test of time.  5. Is there a brand you look up to for inspiration? There are quite a few we look up to, some include People Tree UK, TOMS, more locally is Aura Herbal wear for developing new processes for dying.  We also get inspiration from all types of sources to learn how to better connect with consumers. We do not exclusively look at fashion, we look at brands that have successfully created a movement among their customer base and take note of how they were able to engage them at a deeper level.  Discover and shop their wholesale collections through Kanekta starting late Summer, 2017. To learn more about No Nasties and Apurva’s story visit https://www.nonasties.in/pages/story
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Buy Better, Travel Often, Be You: Dorsu Partner Spotlight
Buy Better, Travel Often and Be You — words that perfectly encompass passion driven ethical fashion brand, Dorsu. Created by Hanna Guy and Kunthear Mov in 2008, the Cambodian based line has set out to prove that buying clothes that have been made fairly does not have to mean sacrificing an appreciation for design. Designed and made in-house at their production studio, they offer a range of Women's and Men’s basics to encourage customers to create a wardrobe that stretches across seasons and suits all purposes, rather than releasing seasonal collections influenced by temporary industry trends. By maintaining best sellers and their most versatile designs, they add new collections on a seasonal basis to reflect what you both want and need. Versatility is not the only distinguishing feature about Dorsu. Their pieces are made from remnant cotton jersey sourced from fabric suppliers in Phnom Penh. They scour the warehouses of their preferred suppliers and burn test all fabric to ensure garments contain very little or no synthetic fibres, all to find what they believe to be the best quality cotton jersey. Hanna’s initial iteration of Dorsu began as a fundraising vehicle to support the Chumkriel Language School in the Kampot community. Since then, it has grown to influence people to re-imagine a world where clothing isn't seen as disposable and where ethical production isn't seen as charity.1. What was your inspiration to start Dorsu?We started in 2008 and initially wanted to create a fundraising business for a local school selling simple clothing from a small outlet in our town, Kampot. The motivation to re-model the company came from a lingering long term feeling that we hadn't quite 'nailed' our message and feeling that it was too similar to an NGO selling products supporting "less fortunate" or "underprivileged" people rather than focusing on the design and quality of a product. It didn't honour the power of our team and potential for us as a company. We reset, strategized and re-shaped Dorsu into a clothing company built on transparency, but, with a focus on talking to our customers about a lifestyle change and approach to what they buy, where they travel and the relationship they have with the world. We sort of pushed the reset button in late 2014 - and haven't looked back since. 2. In which direction do you see the future of sustainable brands going as well as your own? I'm sometimes concerned that there is a lot of chatter around sustainable clothing with buzzwords being used in a way that could become greenwashing. There are many areas of disconnect between sustainable or ethical clothing, high design value and quality, and price. I'd like to see this all consolidated into sustainable brands being a space where transparency and social and environmental impact are the highest priority, where customers can access information and afford to purchase, where design integrity is valued, and some of the more difficult questions are addressed, such as buying less overall. This is where I believe brands can lead the way in creating more systemic change.  We want to grow. The underpinning values of our brand and business model will remain the same, but, the future for Dorsu involves bringing our clothes to a broader market and then having more power to expand our operations, collaborate with like-minded brands, enhance our team and community aspects. We will be a bigger and better version of ourselves, but will never lose the integrity or heart of a grounded, 'real' brand. 3. What is your proudest moment thus far in Dorsu's journey? We've had some very large achievements such as renovating an incredible old salt warehouse into our production studio and creating an amazing workspace for our team, or working with inspiring international companies to produce their t-shirts, but, it's the smaller moments that impact us the most, they're difficult to describe and contextual but something small will trigger that 'oh wow this is where we're at now' moment. Mostly it's the team we have built. I'm proud of our team of committed, passionate, diverse boundary-pushers. 4. Where can readers currently find your brand (cities)?We're based in Kampot and available in other stockists in Phnom Penh and Sieam Reap, Cambodia. We are stocked in Sydney, Australia and also available online. 5. What excites you about partnering with Kanekta?The domino effect of building a community of conscious consumers! We're obviously excited to work directly with more businesses interested in stocking ethically sourced clothing, but, the scale created by being able to communicate through our products to a new market of buyers who may then be inspired to also create change in this space is very inspiring - the potential is somewhat endless.To learn more about Dorsu and Hanna’s story visit http://www.dorsu.org/dorsu-way/. Discover and shop their wholesale collections through Kanekta starting August 2017. 
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The Conscious Revolution: What does this mean for Retail Buyers?
Across the globe there exists an endless supply of conscious products created as either a means to lift communities out of a cycle of exploitation or to set an example for sustainable and fair business practice.The positive rise of conscious consumerism has been met with many challenges, one being a lack of ‘good’ alternatives available in the mainstream market. Ethical and sustainable brands, although plentiful, lack representation because of the underlying gap between them and retail buyers.Now more than ever is a transformative time for the retail industry as a whole, whether it be a brick and mortar or online store, all retail outlets are looking for ways to create a unique shopping experience for their customers. Retail may be changing, but the need for curated spaces will never cease to exist.Supporting smaller designers that are paving the way towards a more conscious future is a way for buyers to differentiate their stores. These brands, although all with unique visions, have one thing in common: the ability to translate a product into a story. Consumers are beginning to realize that a product's journey does not start at point of purchase but rather when the raw materials are extracted and then carefully crafted.Their growing curiosity has fostered an opportunity for retailers to curate their stores with merchandise that speaks to this desire. In order to scale to a point where the terms ‘ethical’ and ‘sustainable’ will become so normalized they turn obsolete, we need to change the norm and that starts with giving consumers easy access to eco-ethical alternatives.As a way to elevate this prospect, we created Kanekta, a full-scale wholesale procurement platform specific to products free from modern slavery and environmental destruction.Kanekta is launching this August 2017 and over the next couple months we will be releasing a sequence of features highlighting our first set of partner brands. From fair trade organic all the way to zero - waste, each brand shares their own recipe for ensuring sustainability and transparency throughout their supply chains.Stay in the loop by following us on our socials, or if you are a retail buyer, eco-ethical brand, or just want to learn more, send us a message!Photo Credit: Jason Briscoe - https://unsplash.com/@jbriscoe
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