We love our stockists like extended family, and there is nothing better than getting to have family all around the world. The next in our series of interviews with the stores we are proud to be stocked in takes us across to the other side of the world, to Australia.
Founder Sam Leigh knew she wanted to create a store that put values first, so back in 2016 she started building eco.mono as an evolution from her fashion blog dedicated to educating her readers about the industry. Finding out who, how and where clothes are made has led her to establish a now well-known front runner in sustainable retail – and she isn’t stopping. Keep reading to get to know Sam better, find out about her day to day routine running the store, and some valuable advice once shared with her.
How did your journey with eco.mono start?
My ethical fashion journey started in a rather organically. In March 2015, I was made redundant from my full time role working in the events industry. Whilst searching for other job opportunities I decided to write a fashion blog as a hobby. As I started to research topics to discuss on the blog, I began to realise just how horrifying the ethics are in the fashion industry and the negative impact the industry has on people and our environment. I felt as though I had been extremely naive up until this point.
A few people recommended that I watch The True Cost Documentary, it really inspired me and I decided to change the focus of my blog and share positive ethical fashion stories.
Over the next 18 months, I spent a lot of my time responding to messages and comments advising my readers and followers where to shop and why, along with offering style advice. I then decided to add an online shop to my blog – a one stop shop to house the brands who I am huge advocate for. The eco.mono store was born.
Can you explain what the name eco.mono means to you?
Absolutely, when I originally started the blog, I wanted to focus on minimalist style in hues of black, white and grey. This was my own personal style and I liked the idea of people being able to create their own capsule collections from pieces they found on eco.mono. Also, at the time there was a lot of white organic cotton tees, black linen pants etc. So, ‘Eco’ stands for environmentally friendly/sustainable and ‘Mono’ stands for monochromatic colours.
However, as the business has evolved over the years, you will notice we now stock an array of colours and products on our site. However, I wanted to keep the name eco.mono as I think it really represents how far we have come with ethical and sustainable fashion, there are many more options out there now, it’s not all brown hemp dresses and natural linen pants.
What makes eco.mono different?
When I opened the online store, I wanted to create a shopping experience that was personalized for each customer. Like online shopping with a friend. The difference with shopping other online stores and ours is that I am always there to offer style advance, give more details on a particular brand or provide sizing information.
As we grow that will never change, we are here to make online shopping accessible and easy.
Do you have any daily rituals at work?
Yes, first thing in the morning as I am drinking my morning coffee I will go through my emails, respond and set some priorities for the day. Then, I try not to look at them for the rest of the day unless its a customer enquiry. I find we are all so consumed by our overflowing inboxes that sometimes it’s hard to get other work done. As eco.mono has got busier and grown I have found allowing myself that time in the morning to respond to emails means I can focus on other tasks throughout the day without feeling guilty that I have not responded.
How do you think fashion can be used to communicate the need for change?
I think we communicate who we are through clothing, it’s a part of who we are and how we want to be perceived. The brands we support says alot about the world we want to live in.
Who would be your dream ambassador for eco.mono?
Oh this is easy, my dream ambassador would be Selima Taibi. Otherwise known as Mogli, she is german singer-songwriter from Berlin, Germany. She rose to fame while staring in a Netflix Documentary called Expedition Happiness, where she and her filmmaker boyfriend embarked on an epic road trip with their dog, travelling across North America in a refurbished school bus. Her music is beautiful and speaks to my soul, she is also an amazing advocate for ethical and sustainable fashion, often wearing and promoting small brands via her social media and while on tour.
And if you had to pick one other city to live in, where would it be?
Somewhere in California 1000%, I used to think Los Angeles, however in my most recent visit I loved Malibu and Santa Barbara. I am in love with the coastal surfer vibe, the sun, the restaurants and the fashion. I am quite an active person also, so I feel my lifestyle would slot into California. Secretly singing California by Phantom Planet in my head as I write this.
What is the most valuable advice you have ever received?
Ok, I am going to give two because I try to live by these both personally and professionally. I have always been super ambitious and my mum would always say to me “Sam, don’t run before you can walk.” this is classic for me, I see where I want to be and I want to sprint there.
The other piece of advice someone gave me, which also ties a little into the first is “If you don’t enjoy the journey of running a business, then stop. You will always move the goalposts and be chasing the next target, so enjoy the journey.
If you could lend one book you have read to us, what would it be?
My best friend gave me a book called ‘Noway! Okay, Fine!’, The arthur writes her story of life as young Australian woman through the lenses of feminism and pop culture. It really make you realise how much we as women are influenced by pop culture and told to be silent and voiceless from the moment we can talk. It’s pretty epic and a great easy read.
Into everything you’ve heard and want more? Check out Sam’s pick of our sunglasses over on the eco.mono site – currently at 30% off! Plus check out her other positive brands.
Supporting our extended family means thanking those who make it possible for you to see our shades, all over the world. Find your nearest stockist, or more behind the scenes chat with our network of stores, check out more stories below.
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Emma is our marketing guru. When Emma isn’t planning, strategizing and creating content, she can be found travelling the world exploring its wonders, or in more recent times – headphones on with a paintbrush in her hand creating an abstract masterpiece!
Mary is the team leader of the Care4basket project in Bolgatanga, Ghana. When Mary is not organising and supporting the work across the communities, you will find her sowing sweet potatoes, ground nut, millet and looking after the animals on the farm.
Izzy is our Sales and Comms mastermind. When Izzy isn’t throwing herself down a mountain on a snowboard, she can normally be found rummaging through vintage shops or pounding the fields with her beloved puppy, Mac. She once mislaid a finger on a night out (eek!) – girl knows how to party!
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