GUEST POST BY SAMANTHA LEIGH
When you work for a company, 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday, you often find yourself lusting over the lives of people you follow on social media. People who seem to have their ducks in a row, manage their own workload and do what they want when they want. It’s quite the envious lifestyle.
But how did these people get to that point? Everyone has their own journey.
Back in March 2015, I was made redundant from my full time job. The next few weeks following the redundancy I took some time out to think about what I really wanted to do, what did I care about, what am I passionate about and how do I make that my job? Now, I run a small online store dedicated to selling stylish sustainable fashion that doesn’t hurt people or the planet.
Our online store started as a fashion blog, back when I was naive about what happens behind the scenes of fashion. Whilst researching article topics, I saw how the negative effects of fast fashion directly impacts the environment and garments workers throughout the supply chain. It was then that I decided to watch The True Cost, a feature length documentary film that explores the impact of fashion. This documentary not only changed the direction of the fashion blog but forever changed the way I thought about the clothes I buy and wear.
Approximately three quarters of garment industry workers, worldwide, are women. Forced to work in sweatshop type conditions, long hours, no benefits and earning less than $4(AUD) per day; where are the basic human rights? Believing in the principle that each person is entitled to equal opportunities. Empowerment and Independence go hand in hand. One of the brands we have partnered with provide training and employment opportunities to women rescued from human trafficking and sexual exploitation, this allows them to permanently lift themselves out of poverty and gain back independence. Our partners, premium jeans brand Outland Denim, believe that each and every one of us deserves to have the skills and resources to build our own prosperous, independent future. However some people are not as fortunate and have potentially come from horrible situations. These are the people that Outland Denim chooses to serve through its enterprising business model, which is creating generational change.
Empowered people, empowering people.
Collaborating with inspiring, smart and caring women has empowered me on on this small business journey.
When starting your own business nobody can prepare you for the lack of the unknown and loneliness. Working from your kitchen table after being surrounded by people in a buzzing office atmosphere can be lonely. To overcome this I take myself off to co-working spaces, cafe’s and catch up with other young female entrepreneurs on a regular basis. There are some great women in business seminars and networking events, and (as I’m an introvert) some of my best inspiration often comes from the podcasts I listen to each day. Listening to other people’s journeys and being able to completely relate to their trials and triumphs makes you realize you are not alone.
Collaboration over competing. The fashion industry especially is extremely competitive, however the sustainable fashion industry is much more collaborative. With brands, designers and retailers working together, towards a greater mission.
From a fast fashion hoarder to slow fashion minimalist, Sam Leigh has been seeking out the good, the bad and the ugly when it comes to who, how and where our clothes are made. Educating herself on what goes on behind the scenes of fashion and sharing her findings through positive story telling.