Pattern Shift

#56 - Pockets and Planet: a conversation about inclusivity and denim innovation with Marshall Conley

March 10, 2023 Saskia de Feijter Season 3 Episode 56
#56 - Pockets and Planet: a conversation about inclusivity and denim innovation with Marshall Conley
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Pattern Shift
#56 - Pockets and Planet: a conversation about inclusivity and denim innovation with Marshall Conley
Mar 10, 2023 Season 3 Episode 56
Saskia de Feijter

Send me a Text Message.

In this episode of A Smaller Life, Marshall Conley of Slø Jeans, joins the show to discuss how this sustainable fashion brand started. The values and steps they had to make before they could start selling inclusive and sustainable jeans. Marshall discusses the challenges of starting a sustainable fashion brand and the importance of creating a positive impact in the fashion industry. He emphasizes the role of education and awareness in driving sustainable fashion forward and encourages listeners to think more critically about their clothing choices. He also shares some tips for small businesses looking to incorporate sustainability into their practices and explains the way they used social media and how they build a brand using ‘community’. In addition to discussing sustainability, Marshall highlights Slø Jeans' commitment to inclusivity, with a range of sizes and styles available for all body types. Overall, this episode provides valuable insights for listeners interested in sustainable fashion and highlights the importance of creating a more sustainable and inclusive fashion brand.

FULL SHOWNOTES

https://www.asmallerlife.com/blog/podcast/56

BEST QUOTE FROM THE EPISODE

  • "We're about creating real, inclusive fashion that everybody can wear." - Marshal Cohen
  • "Sustainable fashion isn't just a trend, it's a necessity for the future of our planet." - Marshall Conley
  • "Inclusivity is at the core of Slø Jeans because fashion should be for everyone, not just a select few." - Marshall Conley
  • "Pockets are essential for functionality and practicality in fashion. It's important to prioritize practical design." - Marshall Conley
  • "We want people to fee

If you want to build or grow your business in textile crafts, why don't you join our online community for a small, monthly contribution of only 10 euros, which is $10 ish. You get to hang out, learn from and share your business. And your craft journey with all the lovely people there, support the podcast at the same time and you get everything wrapped into one loving package. I would love to welcome you there.

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If you appreciate the free content and the work we put into this podcast, consider showing your support in a way that feels right to you. This could be by sharing episodes with friends, signing up for our newsletter, or making a small monthly contribution through clicking the Support the show link, or -when you are listening via Apple podcast- click the subscription button and get monthly bonus episodes. Your support keeps the podcast going and aligns with the values we share. Thank you for being a part of this movement!

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Show Notes Transcript

Send me a Text Message.

In this episode of A Smaller Life, Marshall Conley of Slø Jeans, joins the show to discuss how this sustainable fashion brand started. The values and steps they had to make before they could start selling inclusive and sustainable jeans. Marshall discusses the challenges of starting a sustainable fashion brand and the importance of creating a positive impact in the fashion industry. He emphasizes the role of education and awareness in driving sustainable fashion forward and encourages listeners to think more critically about their clothing choices. He also shares some tips for small businesses looking to incorporate sustainability into their practices and explains the way they used social media and how they build a brand using ‘community’. In addition to discussing sustainability, Marshall highlights Slø Jeans' commitment to inclusivity, with a range of sizes and styles available for all body types. Overall, this episode provides valuable insights for listeners interested in sustainable fashion and highlights the importance of creating a more sustainable and inclusive fashion brand.

FULL SHOWNOTES

https://www.asmallerlife.com/blog/podcast/56

BEST QUOTE FROM THE EPISODE

  • "We're about creating real, inclusive fashion that everybody can wear." - Marshal Cohen
  • "Sustainable fashion isn't just a trend, it's a necessity for the future of our planet." - Marshall Conley
  • "Inclusivity is at the core of Slø Jeans because fashion should be for everyone, not just a select few." - Marshall Conley
  • "Pockets are essential for functionality and practicality in fashion. It's important to prioritize practical design." - Marshall Conley
  • "We want people to fee

If you want to build or grow your business in textile crafts, why don't you join our online community for a small, monthly contribution of only 10 euros, which is $10 ish. You get to hang out, learn from and share your business. And your craft journey with all the lovely people there, support the podcast at the same time and you get everything wrapped into one loving package. I would love to welcome you there.

Go to Patternshift.fm and click

Support the Show.

☆☆☆

SUPPORT THE SHOW

If you appreciate the free content and the work we put into this podcast, consider showing your support in a way that feels right to you. This could be by sharing episodes with friends, signing up for our newsletter, or making a small monthly contribution through clicking the Support the show link, or -when you are listening via Apple podcast- click the subscription button and get monthly bonus episodes. Your support keeps the podcast going and aligns with the values we share. Thank you for being a part of this movement!

Apple Podcast subscription

  • super easy with two clicks and anonymous for those that use the apple app. Monthly or yearly. One amount. 4,-

Buzzsprout (my podcast platform) subscription

  • one click, fill out your bank details. Monthly. Choose your amount from 3,- and up. Leave your name and get a shoutout (if you want).


JOIN THE WAITING LIST

for the March cohort of the Ja, Wol Business Program!

☞ GET BI-WEEKLY ACTIONABLE BUSINESS TIPS AND INSIGHTS & EPISODE UPDATES ☜...

Saskia de Feijter:

Marshall, I think you might be only the second man or male identifying person that is on my podcast. I surround myself with a lot of women.

Unknown:

Okay, all right, well, I'll bring my feminine energy.

Saskia de Feijter:

That's good. I love that. That's great. Can you start by introducing yourself to whoever's listening and tell us why you are on my podcast?

Unknown:

Yeah, so my name is Marshall. I'm the co founder of slow, not fast fashion, a sustainable clothing company. revolutionising the denim industry.

Saskia de Feijter:

I'm just gonna go right in and say it. I was on your website. Your website is slow jeans and part of your brand's is slow jeans. I didn't see any jeans.

Unknown:

Also, yeah, so right now we have our website got kind of reconstructed for for Black Friday here in the US. We weren't really prepared for it. We weren't going to do anything for it. But yes, we launched our denim line in September, we're just finishing that like production cycle, and getting those jeans shipped out this week. But last week was Black Friday in the US and we weren't going to do anything. We're not really huge, Black Friday people. It's just like a holiday of overconsumption. And it's like, that's like not what we're we really stand for. But we are like a community orientated, community driven brand. We built our product off community feedback. And we built our branding off community feedback community first, and then we did all of the other business things. The shirts was it was another byproduct of our community saying what they want and us just providing that we made these shirts, just kind of what we were in. We were in Napoli and we got brought to a T shirt manufacturer. While we were kind of waiting for something. The our, our guys there was wanted to show us what was going on at this factory they were really proud of so we went in there, we said, Hey, this looks pretty cool. Let's get some samples made. Maybe we'll make shirts. So we've made a couple of samples. And we just have been wearing them on social media. And we had a couple 100 Maybe a little under 1000 people were like, hey, we'd like the shirts. Where do we buy them? And we just we've had to push back our our next drop. So in the meantime, we're like, well, we'll throw out these shirts for sale for Black Friday. So right now if you go to our website, yeah, you only see shirts.

Saskia de Feijter:

Yeah, okay. Okay, gotcha. There's a lot in there that I want to I want to explore like, exactly like Friday doesn't really ring sustainable to me. And if you say your community based brands, then my curiosity goes towards that community. Tell me a little bit about the building of brands on community and how that happens. And maybe even a step before that. How did you end up in this world of sustainable fashion? Or more sustainable fashion? I should say?

Unknown:

Yeah, yes. So you know, I'm from Michigan. In the US we have we have the largest freshwater resource in the US. I've seen time and time, again, our freshwater resources and the environment as a whole just get absolutely berated, particularly here locally, by our government, we've allowed Nestle and you know, some of these big companies to pump water out of our lakes, the Flint water crisis, that whole event speaks for itself. So I always wanted to make an impact. I just never really had an entry point. I think fashion is a really good one. Because we all live here on Earth, and we all wear clothes. I connected with my partner who was working in fashion previously. So I kind of joined him and rode the coattails of his experience in fashion and learning from him. My career path to fashion doesn't really make much sense. I started in event marketing and concerts. This the

Saskia de Feijter:

same path as I took actually. Oh, yeah. Yeah. Events, music industry and marketing within that I did same thing. Yeah. Yeah, I know, I like what you're saying that there's absolutely no reason not to start a good, solid, sustainable brand, just because you want to, and you can learn as you go, or you can learn a little bit beforehand and then start taking action. You can meet people and work with them. But then I'm getting curious, how does that work? So you have a partner and then you kind of start building something? You just said you have marketing experience, which is one of the basic things that you kind of have to have in place to build a brand but then what happens? You want to make a difference in the world like make an impact and you decide fashion is a good way to do it. And after that, how do you proceed? Where do you go after the initial idea?

Unknown:

So we started off accidentally, I would say is really the best word to use. We were working on a different sustainable clothing project making T shirts. My partner had started company prior to me joining up with him called Mountain CO, and they made shirts with an elephant on him and proceeds went to elephant sanctuary in Thailand. And it was an awesome project. It's what inspired me, I found it to be radically sustainable, very refreshing on the background of a lot of greenwashing companies. I've always been a big Thrifter. But you know, sometimes you just want new clothes and or you want a very specific piece of clothes, you're not going to go goodwill to Goodwill, Salvation Army resale shop to resale shop, try and find that very specific piece of clothing. Things like black shirts, you know, black shirts, white shirts, you know, they were kind of one of those items. We needed to get good, sustainable, really hyper altra over sustainable items. In essentials, I came across Christian and I really wanted to work with him. And I reached out to him for like a year and a half saying, hey, I want to work for you. I wanna work for you or for you. And he finally got back to me. By the time I joined up with him, he had about eight months previously made a Tiktok where he went to a thrift store and he bought some jeans and he liked the material. The Fit was good. And he went to go wear them the next day, and he was walking down the street and went to go put his phone in his pocket. And they the phone didn't fit, because he had bought women's jeans. And he's like, we went to Tik Tok. And he's like, What is this? What's Why is the pocket missing on these jeans? Like do women? Do women just not have gene pockets? Is that like, what's going on here? And people were like, yeah, no, we don't. We don't have pockets. We have purses. That's what the you know, that's what they make us carry? Well, that's, that's wild. So it's up on

Saskia de Feijter:

my show. Yeah, absolutely. We often

Unknown:

refer to it as a war crime against humanity is atrocious, it just doesn't make sense. So so I'm getting getting to what happens next. But the idea how we came up with the idea is a little atypical, well, good

Saskia de Feijter:

ideas that stem from from moments where you get frustrated, and you want to change it. So. So your partner had bought a pair of jeans, which was ladies jeans, and there weren't any pockets? And then you decided to do something about it?

Unknown:

Yeah, yeah. So like, eight months after posting that Tiktok, I joined up with him, and we have traffic problems, you know, there's really just not anyone going to the mountain co website. So, you know, we started to brainstorm ways to get more traffic to the website. And ultimately, one of the biggest problems we kept running into his capital, like, we can do what we can on social media, but we need some capital to either build our team here or do something. So we're like, why don't we just sell like 1000 pairs of women's jeans with pockets for like, $100 each, and we can fundraise the money that we need to pump out some marketing years. And we made a Tic Toc, saying, Hey, we're gonna make women's jeans and like went mega viral, viral with women's jeans with pockets. And that we had a we had a moment there where we had to ask ourselves like, do we do this as a fundraiser and then go back to this other project? Or like, do we just jump right into jeans? And just means and that's all we do? And you know, we'll we'll make them more than just women's jeans with pockets. And that's ultimately what we decided we were going to take on the denim industry, where there was a market fit confirmation that came from tick tock, it was like, Okay, well, we had traffic problems. With machines, we no longer have traffic problems. Now we have more traffic, and we know what to do with. Yeah, that started the gene project. And it started with just women's jeans with pockets. And it evolved over the course of like 11 days where we were pumping out daily tiktoks asking people what they hate about their jeans, what they love about their jeans, and what their dream pair of jeans look like,

Saskia de Feijter:

I just want to say something just before we go into it further is that because one of my questions was, why make jeans at all, because we all know that jeans is one of the worst ways to make a fabric, it's toxic. It takes up a lot of water, and everything else that's wrong with it. So why would you start in new brand of jeans and from a marketing perspective, if you tell this story, and now kind of makes sense. Like if there's if there's a group that really wants it, you can step into the hole in the market and try to make it in the best possible way. Okay, now I can I can see that. But that was one of the questions I had. So thanks for explaining that. And then you started asking people, what's your ideal pair of jeans?

Unknown:

Yeah, and it snowballed into, you know, we realize that jeans don't need to be gendered. You know, like women's jeans, men's jeans, like what is the real difference at the end of the day? You know, we're looking at dozens of pairs of women's jeans and a dozen pair of men's jeans right next to each other. I mean, the biggest differences are in the structural integrity of the jeans, the size chart, the standard sizing, you know, of like 3030 versus like four, you know, that's very different. But at the end of the day to make a non gender gene is not like a tall order, no. And we were speaking to marginalized group of the population who, when they went into a retail store, you know, there was a men's section, and there was a women's section, and a lot of these people didn't identify as either. And they found that very damaging. So we're like, Okay, perfect. Well, it's easy enough to create this product, non gendered, and we take care of everyone, we've heard that, you know, belt loops are ripping off when I'm pulling my pants up, you know, particularly people with big hips, you know, they have a hard time getting their jeans up, belt loops, rip off. Not the easiest fix in the world, but definitely not something that fashion companies were taking the time to, you know, try to fix this problem. So, you know, we found a relatively easy solution to making those much durable. But then the number one issue we heard was weight fluctuations, and thighs blowing out. You know, and this was a universally felt issue between men and women, but much, much more prominent amongst women, larger thighs, the thighs, you know, they were, they're being stretched constantly, there's a lot of pressure there, the seams are just right next to each other, so they're just rubbing on each other about it. So at the end of the day, you know, at the end of like this one month period, in concept, the idea was to create non gendered reinforced belt loops. A gusset system on the hips. And for those who are listening who aren't, aren't maybe sure what a gusset is. It's like a triangular piece of fabric that allows more flexibility in this context, you would see like gussets on the inside psi of like a Lululemon legging, we put a gusset there on the inside thigh, on the outside hip, we had an adjustable waistline, an exterior, like adjustable waistline system. And then we built it on a sizing chart that takes into account your, your waist, your hips, your thigh, and your inseam measurement. They're not tailored, which was an important designation, but they're made to fit your body measurements, you're assigned a size that's highly specific, our size charts about five times larger. So and what that really does is, the better a pair of jeans fit, the longer the last you if your scenes are under constant pressure, they're going to break and you ask why jeans, you know, I think it You're right jeans are probably one of the more harmful pieces of garment you can produce. And I think that's also exactly why if if we can take this highly toxic, pretty damaging article of clothing and make it durable, produce it, you know, ethically and consciously, you know, I think then we really achieve something we are working with stretch denim, which you know that stretch denim is even worse. You know, we are working with stretch denim, and we're working. We're working with a company in Italy to produce a biodegradable denim completely biodegradable stretch denim using organic and organic material for that elasticity. We are not there yet. But we are working to create a highly, highly sustainable product. And we are proud to say that we are the world's first carbon neutral denim company, as certified by our partners at one tribe. We have leaps and bounds to go in making a altra sustainable piece of denim clothing. But yeah, you know, from there was like fundraising for research and development and making the product.

Saskia de Feijter:

So when do the first models? When are they planned to roll off the bouts?

Unknown:

Yes. So the first drop that sold in September is just shipping like today.

Saskia de Feijter:

Okay, that's exciting. So you already are producing the jeans.

Unknown:

Yep, yep. So we're producing the, we call the V one. They're not the end game, these these These jeans are going to get better and more sustainable over the over the course of the next 365 days. Our V twos come out, we'll do drop those in January, probably another two steps to creating the gene that we are like, fully. We're proud of what we've created so far. Absolutely.

Saskia de Feijter:

No, sounds great. But if you don't have a background in fashion and stuff, how do you get to the manufacturers? Where do you produce it? How do you know about doing things better? Does it involve a lot of traveling? Where are they produced? Now? Let's start there. Yes, we

Unknown:

produce our jeans in Napoli. And I think this is the hardest. This is probably going to be the hardest part of starting a clothing company. Now it's easy to lean on to like a white label service with the transparency of the product. rollover, their product is going to be a little bit less. And we wanted to have our whole hand on it. So we found our connection to our manufacturer at a trade show, for sure met him a couple of years ago, at a trade show in England, I believe. And we just reached out to him and we're like, Hey, by chance, you know, anyone who makes jeans? And he was like, Oh, yeah. But it's something we really, really believe in here is we will not work with any factory supplier, who will not let us show up to look at everything. So yeah, it does involve a lot of traveling, we spent most of the month of September leading up to launch and then post our launch, you know, making sure that everything was going off without a hitch. You know, we don't trust anyone when it comes to ethical labor and you know, sustainable practices. We will be there when the genes are being produced.

Saskia de Feijter:

Yeah, cuz it's going to be so complicated. There's so many things you have to take into account. You mentioned a lot of things already, from the viewpoint of the product itself and how its it offers good genes for a wide variety of people, which is one way of looking at it. Then you have the supply chain, then you have the way it's it's made. It goes on and on and on. And you talked about greenwashing before, how do you ensure that people know that you are the real deal? How do you communicate? Because people are not like they're getting smarter and smarter. And that's why as a marketeer, I was like why are you hearing Black Friday that's in in the view of a mark marketer, that's this is like an alarm bell to me, I'm like, Hey, why is there a Black Friday there, and someone that's really focused on the more sustainable, more conscious way of doing things? My big question is, how do you ensure that people know that you are not greenwashing?

Unknown:

Yeah, there is no excuse, right? There is no excuse? Why companies can't walk around the factory floor with their cameras. We all have cameras on pockets, right? So when we're walking around, and we're, you know, at the manufacturer, or we're picking out fabrics, or we're doing whatever, you know, we make a video about it posted on tick tock, why we use this data, why we chose this button composition, why we do this. And we really just try to walk them through every bit of our thinking. And if there's two potential solutions, we'll let the community choose, right, we have this post consumer material, or we have this highly sustainably produced material. You know, we'll put that up for a choice and be like, what do you what do you want? And you know, we'll source what our community wants what our community believes in? You know, we don't we have a very educated group of people who like our clothing, and we're not sneaking anything by these people. Yeah. We have we set up a discord community, and I love our Discord community, they keep us so accountable. If I send an email update, they have that email screenshotted in the discord. You're breaking down each section of it, and they're like, here's what this means. Here's what this means. This is what this is. And they talk to each other and they educate each other, and then they educate me. And it's really amazing. I

Saskia de Feijter:

couldn't be annoying, but also very helpful. Yeah, this is your community that you talked about tictac. And this court, is this something that just like organically grew from posting or have you reached people and how do you update them on the production of the next batch?

Unknown:

Yeah, so from you know, from a marketing standpoint, you know, we use tick tock as a as our traffic engine. You know, my partner, Christian, he's grown quite an impressive following on tick tock, I think he's pushing probably 700,000 followers right now. And that's all grown organically. We try to pull people over to our email list. email capture is huge for us. I'm much better on email than I am social media. It's Christians domain. But you know, I bring people over to email, we built up a waitlist of like, 100,000 people prior to launch. And then we use Instagram as kind of a bulletin board. We've been a little bad at it lately, to be honest, really hard to generate traffic on Instagram. It's really easy to generate traffic on Tik Tok. If what you're talking about has, like any substance or value to it, and then yeah, we just use email emails. Were so heavy on email. Yeah.

Saskia de Feijter:

No, yeah, definitely. In January of this year, I stepped away from social media. I had a few followers myself, and, but it wasn't it wasn't converting and I'm a business and it wasn't like, obviously, you'd have a story and all of that and it's important to build like community around you, but in the end of your business, you need to sell Oh, surfaces or products. And it wasn't working for me. And now I'm navigating the marketing world without social media, which is very interesting. But email is a big and huge thing that can have many shapes and forms. And I have a few different emails I sent out for crafters for businesses, and for people that are actually interested in doing marketing without social media. So it's been interesting see how email has not really changed its importance over the years, and you'd say that it's gone. It's over. That was something from the beginning of the internet, but it's definitely not. And you can get really good connections with people and talk to them about what they want and need and feel that much more personally connected to people. So yeah, I see why you feel happy emailing people, instead of being on Instagram, I hear you.

Unknown:

I won't say I reply to every single email we get. But I try my best to reply to everyone. That doesn't include the cold email errs from all these SaaS companies flood my, but if I get an email from someone or a community, and they have a question, they have a concern, I will get an amazing amount of help. You know, if there's a typo on our website, someone's email. Yeah. And it's hilarious, because, you know, I really tried to have conversations with these people as best as I can. Because, you know, why not? You know, we tried to gamify our emails, you know, we did a really good job pre launch, making emails, fun, capturing people on those emails and getting them to spend time on the emails. And I did it through easter egg cons of all things, you know, I would just like hide a little character in the email. And if you find him, you'll be entered to win a pair of jeans when we launch and you know, I did a 10 by 10, did 10 emails in 10 days, and every one of them had a little easter egg in it. And I mean, I there was some days where I got like 6000 replies, wow, I had to help I'd have are pulling our armor customer service help and help my girlfriend just to reply to every single one. We're just you know, at that point, no more copy and pasting replies. And that's but yeah, getting through all of them making sure everyone knows Hey, I got your I got it. You're right. You got it. You found it. And, you know, email can be fun if you make fun. Yeah, absolutely. can be boring if you don't make it fun, of course. But

Saskia de Feijter:

yeah, it really has to match your values and your brands and talk about branding. Can you describe the typical slow jeans customer?

Unknown:

That's really hard. It's really hard. In the beginning, it was one thing to say, you know, I think we're doing well with this group. But the way that tick tock works is if you aren't careful about you know what you're talking about, you're going to end up on very diverse for you betas. The best example of this is, you know, we, we believe that we are a very left leaning company for like in the US, like we're very, very environmentally conscious. You know, we are very size inclusive, you know, we're gender inclusive, you know, so we do what we appeal to a left leaning person, I think a little more than a right leaning person. The number one state we're most popular in is California. Number two is Texas, right by Texas. Yeah. And I was like, oh, yeah, sure. Like Austin, Dallas, nope. all over Texas. There's one thing that we do that you can latch on to no matter what type of person you are, you know, it's either the sustainability efforts, it's in the we're going to take down the man and capitalism rhetoric, or you know, it's just a good product. It's functional. It fits well, it looks okay. It's very essential. So it's very universally appreciated. Just

Saskia de Feijter:

need good genes for cow herding in Texas. Yeah,

Unknown:

exactly. It doesn't matter when you're walking down the boardwalk in Santa Monica, or your herding cattle and Euston. These are the genes for you know, but it's really been hard to nail down because we do have like three very, very different groups of people like our there's like a significant portion of them follow us. And weird thing is, is how they populate different platforms. We have a pretty specific community on Discord, and a very, very young community on tick tock, little bit more of an older community on Instagram, we're finding different cliques and worms, if you will.

Saskia de Feijter:

Yeah. So what do I have to think about what kind of a price range are we in?

Unknown:

Yeah, so we sell our nutro which is our gusseted adjustable waist gene. We saw that one for 100 US dollars. We are making a like a standard FIVE POCKET, you know without the gussets for I think we're We're trying to hit like about a$65 price range. Unfortunately, we didn't want to be at $100 price range for the jeans, we want it to be in a lower price range, we wanted to push the limits of what affordability in sustainability could be. We didn't want to sacrifice the quality of the product. So we found a good middle zone in$100, the closest pair of jeans that we were able to find using the same denim wheat use is like$285. So we felt like we were doing a pretty good job of being affordable. The gussets, they eliminate a level of automation from the production. So our jeans, the sides of the jeans, and then the inseam of the jeans have to be hand fed through you know, like a sewing machine. It's a lot of hand stitching, that drove up our cost a little bit. And we're going to be able to bring down the cost without it. We are looking into solutions to bring down the cost with the gusset, but it's just really hard with the labor involved.

Saskia de Feijter:

Yeah, totally makes sense. If you do things differently, then the price goes up. When you talk about the type of jeans that you use, can we nerd out a little about how the the jeans actually made for you? Do you have some information on that?

Unknown:

Both like the denim production? So I'm not our product guy per se, I don't know much about the milling process.

Saskia de Feijter:

Does it all get made in Italy. So from like the pure cotton, the raw

Unknown:

cotton is brought into Italy, but the kneeling does take place in Italy, we wanted to ensure you know, fair labor practices and ethical labor practices. And Italy is a really good place for that. It was it was harder to verify and a little harder to get into some of the milling facilities elsewhere, where the Italian ones were very welcoming. So that that was why we chose that facility.

Saskia de Feijter:

I know I feel like I'm drilling you with all these questions. But it almost sounds like it's too good to be true. Right? As consumers we've been like hurled around the room a couple of times when it comes to more sustainable products. Like the best thing to do is not to buy anything, the next best thing is to mend what you have. And then the next best thing is to get something secondhand. And like it's steps, there's still so many steps you can take before buying new products. And then that new product needs to be like the Holy Grail of all things done well. I was kind of conflicted in a way about your brands, because because of all the things that I'm saying, I should really be really happy that somebody's really taking this on and, and trying to do it an awesome job across the boards. And what am I doing, I'm being critical. And that's because there's so much brainwashing that you kind of become a little bit like, I don't know about this. So how is it? How is it here? And how is this? And that's why it's great that you come on the podcast and talk about it and have some more information on how this process goes. And at the same time for my podcast is really interesting for small businesses to hear how you start your business and how you go about these things. And it sounds like it's it's a massive undertaking. It's a lot of work. It's a lot of things you need to know before you do that. But at the same time, it's also just about taking the first step. Am I right or no?

Unknown:

Yeah, absolutely. You know, it's all about taking the first step. And you know, first of all, you know, we have to be highly critical. I like to say there's no time to be lukewarm. There is no time to just take what people say, for face value and believe it, run with it, and then realize 10 years down the line, they were lying the whole time. You know, we can't do that anymore. We've been doing that for decades, we cannot do that anymore. never apologize for being highly critical, because you're just doing your due diligence. You know, but, you know, Reid Hoffman, the founder of LinkedIn, you know, he has a phrase he likes to use, or a metaphor he likes to use rather, he says starting a company is a lot like jumping off a cliff and trying to build the plane on the way down. You know, so as you say, you know, it's about taking the first step. It's about taking a leap of faith, you have to take a massive leap of faith into yourself, you know what you believe in and that you're going to do everything you can to like make the impact you set out to make you know and there's been plenty of times in this process where you know, we were doing some guesswork product you know, we didn't know that our product would work or like you know, we believe in it. We have no reason not to believe in that the any of these things but we won't know until we put the in the needle to thread gene is unaware of them for a while. It really takes like a blind leap of faith. And we built this community fundraised on it. We said, We're gonna make these jeans, we made these jeans, and they worked better they surpassed our expectations. You know, the whole, the whole theory we had, you know, really panned out to be quite true. It required some adjustment. But, you know, we don't know who we who we thought we were at the beginning of this process last year at this time, thinking that we were going to be able to do this thing. But six months later, we did this thing. So you know,

Saskia de Feijter:

it's so fast. It's so fast.

Unknown:

Yeah, we have a really, really great motivated team. We're perfectly fine. We will all live in the same house together. So

Saskia de Feijter:

yeah, tell me about your team. What does the team look like? Yeah,

Unknown:

yeah. So we have a we're through a three person founding team. You have Christian Hanson, our you know, he's our CEO, and co founder. But then you have abi, abi Chaudhry. He's, he's handling our technology, we are a tech forward fashion company, that we we are able to take at body measurements using your smartphone camera. And there's a lot of like, a lot of data management, they're, you know, taking this information in and then building an algorithm that takes in this information and says you are a size. So we had to we had to think we had to think about tech leadership early, which is not I detract a little bit because it's not common for a fashion company to have a tech.

Saskia de Feijter:

It's a big thing. No, no, but it's pretty awesome. Just for my own experience, I actually yesterday was looking at a sustainable makeup brands that I already use some products of and when you hold up your camera to your face, they will give you an idea of what kind of color you need. Oh, so I mean, I'm always super psyched when these two because I'm such a nerd, I love this shit. And also because it makes your brand look like it's forward thinking.

Unknown:

Yeah, yeah, absolutely. We have some really big ideas about what a community driven fashion company should look like. And we haven't been able to, we haven't even begun to scratch the surface of how we plan to bring people together in the name of slow fashion in the name of sustainable fashion. And it all starts with it starts with tech. Well, it starts with good product. And then

Saskia de Feijter:

I can I can I can talk to you about community and how to bring them together another time. I have some pretty cool ideas about that. So if you're interested another time, and who else is in the team. So there's three people in finding members.

Unknown:

Yep. So that's our leadership team. We also have our head of product is a magical magical woman named Hayley Elsas, Acer. She is out of Toronto, and she is a force to be reckoned with. You know, she's worked with some really great big names like Miley Cyrus, Joe Jonas, Tegan and Sara. And she's she's really got a grasp on like, what's popular and what's in and what's new, and what, what people want to see. And we absolutely love her, and we would be nowhere without her. So she's, she's amazing. And we just brought on a videographer, videographer, he is going to elevate our social media. And then we have a customer service operations person, Mason. And that's, that's pretty much our team. We have a great ground level of volunteers who, you know, help us in and out wherever we need girlfriend's friends and stuff. So we are not without a great support network. But yeah, we're in growth phase right now working on bringing on some more some more people.

Saskia de Feijter:

Oh, and all of this was funded by crowdfunding, or did you also get more?

Unknown:

Yeah, no, we, we completely grassroots crowd funded this whole project. We worked with a company called we funder. It's an amazing website. You can go on their website, create an account, and you can invest in startups you believe in for like, under 100? Oh, no, I think they start at $100 starting at $100. You can invest in startups. And it's a really great platform for anyone out there who believes they have something you know, believes they have a vision. But if you need capital, yeah, yeah. I mean, you have a community behind you. Social media. Tick tock in particular is really great for this. You know, we talked about what we wanted to do on tick tock, we said, hey, here's who we are. Here's what we want to do. And if you believe in this idea, you believe in this vision, here's a link. And we had like 900 people. We had over 1000 people commit to investing and I think we had about 920 people to actually invest. We have fun, Rachel, I think a little over$300,000

Saskia de Feijter:

This all talks to the idea of having a good idea having have values in place, having a support team and finding the right people, and then building your brand from there. I mean, of course, it's a lot of money. It's a lot of work a lot of energy. Well, it's not easy to do, but it's not as hard as a lot of people think,

Unknown:

yeah, can be broken into small, measurable goals. You know, I think that's one thing. Starting a company is daunting. But when you break it down into 1000, small tasks, it becomes manageable. Just like any job.

Saskia de Feijter:

Exactly. So when do we get to sign up for more more new genes? And how long do we have to wait? What's what's on the horizon? Yeah, so

Unknown:

I think we are like I said, you know, we are shipping jeans that we sold in just in September. today. It is November 28. We were planning on launching another collection this month, or maybe next month, I think we're going to take this time to step back, get our organization in check, and get ready to start at the new year with a with a collection. So look out for for an email for me. We'll have a new site up in the next couple days, where you'll be able to you know, put your email in get signed up for the waitlist and we'll let you know as soon as soon as the new draft comes out.

Saskia de Feijter:

All right, that's amazing. Um, one more question. Where can people find you now and how can they sign up?

Unknown:

Yes, you can find us on slow jeans.co I'm for will link it somewhere.

Saskia de Feijter:

Absolutely. shownotes definitely.

Unknown:

Slow. jeans.co or our fan favorite fake pockets. suck.com. You can also find us on Tik Tok at slow slo.co And Instagram as extra slow

Saskia de Feijter:

extra slow on Instagram. Because the people they're all They're

Unknown:

a little extra slow.

Saskia de Feijter:

Cool. Marshall, thank you so much for giving me and the listener a little bit more insight in what it's like to build a more sustainable brands of jeans and T shirts.

Unknown:

Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Well, this was probably one of the more fun podcasts I've ever been on. So Saskia, thank you so much for making it enjoyable love talking with you. Thanks a lot Marshall. Have a great one.