Entrepreneurship, General troublemaking, Professional Growth, Sustainable Living

2016 Resolutions

IMG_2963.JPG

As 2015 comes to a close, I recently took some time to reflect on one of the most momentous years of my life. I started 2015 by moving into my own apartment for the first time. Five months later I moved out, and in the process, started looking for a new job. I quickly realized I had the opportunity that I had always wanted: to start my own company. Since then, my life has been truly focused around IMBY, creating an accessible option for ethically-made fashion.

When I think of 2016, I think of possibility, and uncertainty. If there’s anything I know about being an entrepreneur, it’s that there’s no way to predict the next year, let alone the next month. But I do want to set my intentions for next year. Here are the things, first and foremost as an entrepreneur, I am resolving to in 2016.

  1. Take care of my mind and body. This was a big focus of my letter to myself when becoming an entrepreneur, and to be honest, I am not doing a great job of it. I will be focusing on making yoga a regular part of my daily routine, and I plan to start 2016 with a Whole30 challenge to recalibrate my deteriorating diet.
  2. Create a morning ritual. I have been craving stability and routine in my not so stable or routine life as an entrepreneur. One thing that I am confident will help is creating a morning ritual that focuses on starting my day mindfully (not on my phone!) with meditation, yoga, and a healthy meal.
  3. Practice gratitude. I get a lot of help and support from wonderful friends and colleagues, and without them, I couldn’t get IMBY off the ground. I want to practice gratitude towards the people who support me beyond just saying thank you. This includes a regular thank you note practice, as well as being grateful of the things that others might not realize are a big deal, but make a big difference to me.
  4. Go big. 2016 will be a big year for IMBY— the company will hopefully grow a lot. This will require the majority of my energy and time for 2016, and I am ready to focus on bringing ethical fashion to the masses. This will require sacrifice including less time with friends, challenging decisions, successes and failures. I plan to embrace it all (and I have my own set of goals for IMBY’s growth in 2016!).
  5. Build community. Being an entrepreneur is incredibly lonely. I knew this fact from my time at PresenTense helping entrepreneurs start up, but it feels so heavy building a company alone. I plan to focus 2016 in building my own community of individuals I can support and who can support me. I am starting entrepreneur brain slams so that my friends and I can support each other in brainstorming new ideas when there is not normally someone around to share those ideas with.

Speaking of community, I recently joined the Ethical Writers Coalition, a group of bloggers focused on living more sustainable lives and helping others do so as well (some of them have been my favorite blogs on the topic for a while now!). We have all committed to posting our resolutions today. You can check out the other truly inspirational posts below– and check out their blogs for some great resources! What do you resolve to focus on in 2016?

Hanna of Sotela’s Why Making Unresolutions Are Better
Alden of Ecocult’s Painfully Honest New Years Resolution
Leah of Stylewise Blog’s Year in Review and Ethical Resolutions
Hannah of Life + Style + Justice Blog’s Resolutions
Kasi of The Peahen Blog’s A Year of Wardrobe Resolutions
Elizabeth of The Notepasser Blog’s My One Big Resolution for 2016
Faye of Sustaining Life’s Shedding Layers for a Mindful 2016
Annie’s My 2016 New Year’s Resolution: Buy Only Ethically Made Fashion
Kamea of Kamea’s World’s 4 New Year’s Resolutions You Need for a Meaningful 2016
Holly of Leotie Lovely’s Gone Green 2016
Andrea of Ecologique Fashion’s Resolutions

 

Advertisements
Standard
Sustainable Living

Dressing Ethically

IMG_6961.JPG

One of my favorite made in the USA items: the pantsuit from Seamly.co! You can wear it dozens of different ways.

When I tell people I am launching an ethical fashion company focused on made in the USA clothing, they inevitably look me up and down and ask me”is what you are wearing now made in the USA?”

The answer is generally “no, it’s not.”

But that’s for a reason, I explain. While I do try to show off my IMBY inventory, I have a limited number of made in the USA items in my closet. Why? Because I took the plunge into ethical fashion a little less than two years ago, and with the pledge to shop consciously, I also started shopping much less frequently. I have tons of clothes from my “pre-ethical” days, and I don’t think it’s ethical to throw all those perfectly useful clothes away to allow my closet to be “ethical-only.”

However, I haven’t bought a single new item of clothing since February 2014 that wasn’t made ethically or thrifted. That’s something I am proud to say. What I really realized in this process is that I simply don’t need much. I have more than enough clothes! I used to shop when I was bored or to kill time. Now anything I add to my closet now is something special, something that speaks to me, and something that fills a need.

To me, that’s being an ethical shopper– it goes beyond the label. It’s not throwing out all your old Zara and Forever 21 clothes, it making a conscious decision in this moment, moving forward, to be aware of how your clothes are made, and to tell the story of how you choose to spend your money.

That’s one of the main reasons I started IMBY, to help consumers who want to shop in this way find whatever they need easily, quickly, and affordably. And on my journey, I have come across so many other individuals taking this pledge and starting their own ethical companies. I am confident that ethical fashion is on the rise.

What does conscious consumerism mean to you?

 

Standard
Sustainable Living

Happy #FashionRevolutionDay

Today is Fashion Revolution Day. The movement urges individuals to shop in an ethical and socially responsible way, and to truly know where our clothes are coming from. I am a big fan of the movement, and not just for the day, but as a lifestyle.

My outfit for #FashioNRevolutionDay. Top and pants thrifted and made in USA, thrifted necklace, Seamly.co motojacket, warby parker glasses.

My outfit for #FashionRevolutionDay. Top and pants thrifted and made in USA, thrifted necklace, Seamly.co motojacket, warby parker glasses.

My friend Kristin started an apparel company called Seamly.co, where she manufactures beautiful, timeless, and versatile clothing in the USA. She is intimately involved with sourcing the fabrics (which are often surplus from places like J.Crew, who will throw out the fabric because of the slightest imperfections*) and the sewing of each garment in Denver, CO. I have been a big fan of Seamly.co since the beginning (you may be familiar with my versalette challenges!).

*Can you imagine what society would be like if we dismissed everyone who was imperfect? Why should we treat our clothing this way? Isn’t imperfection what makes the world beautiful. Just a thought.

Through one of the versalette challenges (seamly.co sells an item called the versalette which you can wear in dozens of ways, and Kristin has challenges to wear it 7 days straight!), I was introduced to Kestrel of Awear, and immediately took her pledge to be more cognizant of the clothing I purchase. Since February 2014, I have only purchased clothing items that are either thrifted, made in the USA, or socially responsible in their practices (she has some other options like vegan items, organic, etc.). It has been a wonderful and rewarding (and sometimes challenging) experience.

Here are a few things I’ve learned:

  1. Being mindful is important in all facets of life. Before I started following Seamly.co, I really never thought about where my clothes came from. Since then, I have realized how often we aren’t mindful at all, whether that’s with shopping, what we eat, who we spend our time with, or how our jobs make us feel. It is so important to decide what matters to you and pay attention deeply. To doing things with intent.
  2. I really don’t need much. I have so many clothes already from before the pledge that I really don’t need anything new. So I only purchase things I really love, and things I feel good about purchasing. I used to shop just to kill time, shopping at places like Forever 21 and buying ridiculously quantities of cheap clothing.. Seamly.co’s items are more than I used to spend at Forever 21, but I feel great purchasing them, they are much higher quality, and I need less of them to be happy. Now I shop when I really want something new and can find something that meets my requirements.
  3. Just because I care about conscious consumerism doesn’t mean everyone else does. This topic is something I am really passionate about, but I can’t expect everyone to feel as passionate about it as me. I am sure many friends have passions that I don’t share! So I often share with people how I shop and answer their questions, but I choose not to proselytize them to join the cause. Issues like this are only powerful when they mean something to you.

So, as I write this in the flagship TOMS Shoes store in Venice, CA (which is plastered with signs saying things like “GIVE” and “we exist to make a difference”), I see myself continuing with the pledge in perpetuity, and I hope to expand it to other facets of my life. I often feel a bit like a fraud when I only buy ethical clothing but don’t pay as much attention to other things I buy. But you have to start somewhere, and this has been a rewarding and meaningful place to start.

Speaking of starting somewhere, how do you consume consciously? What do you pledge to pay more attention to this year?

Standard
Social Innovation, Sustainable Living, Tech, Troublemakers

Meet Troublemaker Morgan Berman, Founder and CEO of MilkCrate

morgan-woodI met Morgan Berman when she participated in the Tribe12 Fellowship, a PresenTense Accelerator, this past spring. I was immediately excited by her Idea for MilkCrate, an app for sustainable living (think: yelp for socially responsible/sustainably focused businesses). Dedicated to living a sustainable lifestyle as much as possible myself, I was excited to learn more about this necessary troublemaker and support her in building a lasting impact through her app. I interviewed Morgan, read on to learn a bit about what inspires her and more about MilkCrate, as well as her tips for living a sustainable lifestyle.

What inspired you to create MilkCrate?
I wanted to learn how to live a more sustainable lifestyle. I began by reading and researching sustainability and the local economy here in Philadelphia. I joined a community garden and eventually started a new one, composted on my deck, ditched my car for a bike, and shopped the local green community here in Philadelphia. Over time my lifestyle choices became immersed in all things green. As a requirement for my Sustainable Design Masters Program at Philadelphia University I developed a thesis that would become the very first version of MilkCrate. I wanted to design something from beginning to end. However my M.Sc. program was focused on the built environment. Most of my peers were architects or engineers. I am neither. So I had to find something I could design that if it ‘broke’, no one would die. An app felt like a good, skill-based place to start. I figured, “I worked at Apple part-time for a year teaching people how to use an iPhone, that’s a good enough qualification to design an app, right?”

How does MilkCrate enable individuals to support their local communities?
Right now MilkCrate is a basic tool allowing you to find businesses and resources connected to sustainability and the local economy right in your neighborhood and throughout the city. Future versions will have a community calendar, social media integration, and many other ways for people to personalize their experience, while connecting with others in the sustainability community, including business owners and our partner organizations.

Why is sustainable living important to you?
It was just a part of growing up. My parents kept a vegetable garden, fruit trees, and composted. My mom and I shopped at thrift stores, first, the mall last. We even dumpster dived, and made some great (but embarrassing) curb-side finds. She eventually started a business called Thrift Shop Maniac Enterprises from her developing skill set and consciousness, and I was there, helping out and learning by osmosis. We re-purposed, reused, rethought, consigned and donated; we rarely if ever considered throwing anything out. But I guess it all came together for me when I started to understand the impact of climate change and environmental degradation, and the uneven distribution of natural resources on people’s lives all over the world. Locally, I care about the lack of access to affordable fresh healthy food here in Philadelphia. And don’t get me started on what treacherous circumstances cyclist like myself face biking around the city in car congested, polluted streets.

How do you live your life in a sustainable way?bannerphonenew
I filter every decision I make through the same process that surrounded me growing up: I buy most of my food locally, whether from farmers markets or restaurants. I compost on my deck and grow a small garden. I bike everywhere. I don’t own a car. I purchase a lot of my clothes secondhand, at thrift or consignment stores. I always have a water bottle and generally cut down packaging in as many ways as possible. I get my energy from Green Mountain Energy. I make sure things like batteries or lightbulbs get disposed of properly. Even my cat Chester is recycled from the SPCA. Once you start living, deciding, shopping this way, the easier it gets.

What are three things Necessary Troublemakers can do today to start living a more sustainable life?
You only need one now: Use MilkCrate! Or if you aren’t in the Philly area, help us grow to your city by contributing to our Indiegogo Campaign before it ends on September 23rd.

What piece of advice can you give to individuals who want to take action on issues that are important to them?
Find other people who care about the same things you do. They have sustained me. They will sustain you.

What’s your favorite item or service you’ve received/purchased from a MilkCrate partner?
I could never pick an all time favorite, there are just too many moments of finding the next great company or product. For me, my favorite ‘moment’ now is giving others the opportunity to find their newest, favorite MilkCrate company. Now that our app is available to download, anyone can find a new MilkCrate favorite in the Philadelphia area, and soon anywhere.

Standard