It’s not easy bringing together form and function. We chat to Eva Power from The Ethical Silk Company about the reality of running a business
Think the fashion industry is all glamour and parties? Think again! When Eva Power set up The Ethical Silk Company she learned the realities of running a business very quickly. Here she explains about her learning curve.
What’s the hardest thing about running your own business?
Wearing a lot of different hats. It can be hard going from creative and project planning to looking at sales and financials. It certainly brings me back down to earth.
Where do you find your inspiration?
Places I’ve visited, in particular in India and along the silk road. There are amazing colourful and vibrant cities I’ve traveled through. I work with another designer so we usually come together with ideas and take it from there.
What’s your favourite piece?
Our lounge pants. They are incredibly comfortable and quickly turned into my home uniform. Once I know I’m in for the evening I’m in them.
Do you think social media is a help or a hindrance?
If I had more time and enthusiasm for it I think it would be a huge help but I find it more of a chore at the moment.
Have you always wanted to be an entrepreneur?
No, I never really knew what I wanted to be growing up. I worked as a therapist before starting The Ethical Silk Co so I was used to working for myself.
What was the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Go with your gut. There’s always people offering advice, with the best of intentions, but you have to really go with your gut about what advice to take and how to move forward.
What have you learned over the years?
When I started I had no business experience so coming to the point of running a viable business, watching cash flow and managing sales projections has been a huge learning curve.
If could go back and do it all again would you change anything?
I’d treat it as a business from the start. When I began it was more of as a hobby, a part time business that I would run alongside my work.
What’s your plans for the future?
To continue to grow the business in the US and expand into men’s wear, that’s one plan for the moment.
Why is sustainability important to you?
When I started researching for the company in 2009 I felt it was imperative to work with ethical tailoring units. I wanted to build something that I could stand over and not stick my head in the sand about where and how my products were being made.
It is essential that our products are tailored in a principled manner, the alternative is just not an option for us. Committed to always using ethical tailoring units, The Ethical Silk Company products are made in Fairtrade tailoring unit Mehera Shaw, located in Jaipur, India. By partnering with Fairtrade units, we, and our customers can have peace of mind in the production of our products.
Mehera Shaw is a sustainable production unit based on a business philosophy that puts the human factor first. Its production unit in Jaipur follows Fairtrade standards in relation to employee and environmental practices. Mehera Shaw also supports a women’s group through its Foundation development project where the same ethical and labour standards are followed.
What would you love to see happen with sustainability in the future?
For it to become the norm but with solid accountability, there can be a lot of greenwashing these days by brands looking to jump on board.