After realising the hard way how difficult it was to be ethical as a fashion designer when there were so few manufacturers of eco-friendly and ethical fabrics she decided there had to be another way. Although it didn't exist, so she had to go and create it herself - like so many other social enterprises challenging the status quo, this is house Offset Warehouse came about.
"During my time in the fashion industry I discovered all of the awful atrocities that occur behind the scenes of manufacturing: from exploiting workers, to dumping hazardous chemicals into our environment, I was totally shocked. I couldn’t believe that businesses would do anything they could for a bit of extra profit. I swore to solve the problem I was facing sourcing eco fabrics and Offset Warehouse was born." Charlie Ross, Founder & Director at Offset Warehouse.
Offset Warehouse provides fabrics which are either environmentally or socially beneficial, to Charlie this means they might be organic, responsible sourced, recycled, fairtrade, produced with the environment in mind or manufactured by workers who have a stake in the business. Their store brings together a wide variety of fabrics recognising that manufacturers want to focus on different aspects but that still advance on the ethical considerations of mainstream manufacturers.
For Charlie one of the main aims of Offset Warehouse is to raise awareness amongst consumers, designers and home-crafters about why we should choose ethical fabrics that benefit the planet and help the people who make them: "...we really want to fight poverty, create sustainable jobs and lessen the environmental damage caused by fabric production...."
They provide an alternative for designers who want to source fabrics that minimise damage.
Now seven years on from starting the business, Charlie has developed the Members Club for designers to learn how to set up, develop and grow a creative business in a sustainable and responsible way. It's part of a bigger picture of supporting a new generation of designers to think differently about design and manufacturing.
Listen to this week's podcast below.
In this podcast we discuss:
- why Charlie was inspired to set up Offset Warehouse
- why social entrepreneurs notice a gap in the market and are the ones who take the leap to create change
- how consumer influence is changing the way big brands are thinking about environmental and ethical concerns in Fast Fashion (albeit slowly)
- what Fashion Revolution Week is and how it started
- why Charlie loves hand weavers in particularly
- why choosing what you're really passionate about helps you focus on exactly how you want your business to be ethical
- what the 'Members Club' and how you could get involved
- challenges if working with grassroots organisations but the incredible innovations that can come from it
Join Charlie & Kat for an online masterclass on Wed 6th June 2018:
Measuring Impact - Simple Strategies for Growing your business
This webinar is for designers, creatives and social entrepreneurs who are trying to do good in the world through business. We will cover:
- Understanding what social/environmental impact is and how it's relevant to your business
- Discovering why impact measurement matters to your business strategy
- Learn how to measure your impact in simple, achievable and realistic ways
- Simple steps to communicate your impact better to attract customers
Other links mentioned on the podcast:
If you liked this podcast, you might also like these previous episodes from other ethical fashion, beauty & lifestyle brands:
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