Name: SIMON HENDERSON Position: DIRECTOR

EARTH SQUARED

What led you to create Earth Squared? Please tell us a bit about yourself :

Earth Squared is run by Alison and Simon Henderson and started some 19 years ago after Alison returned from two years’ volunteering in social projects in Guatemala. Passionate about social justice and with a head for business, Alison wanted to start a fair trade business with an emphasis very much on design and
quality. The journey has been a story of continuous learning and growth as we moved from making just for our own shop to supplying other shops in the UK and overseas. We are very fortunate to have amazing production partners in Vietnam who share our vision for distinctive, ethical products with wide appeal.

When was your brand created and what products do you sell?
Our brand started in 2001 and has evolved significantly since then – initially selling online and at events, then we opened two shops, before changing direction in 2007 to supply other shops. Initially we sold homewares before designing and developing fashion accessories, which are now our main focus. Whether
it be handbags, scarves, gloves or purses we like to think we have something for everyone!

Who are your target clients?
We supply a huge variety of stockists around the country from independent shops to garden centres to heritage sites. Our target customers are women looking for beautifully designed and made fashion accessories, at affordable prices and with solid ethical credentials.

What aspects of your brand or products are sustainable?

Fair trade was the reason why we started the business and continues to be central to our brand and our story. However sustainability is now a key priority and we currently working on changes to our supply chain to implement greater sustainability in the use of fabrics and components. The use of Eco Garment Bags is one step, as is our support of various environmental initiatives through GetGreenSpark but we will continue to introduce more changes as soon as possible. We are also currently being assessed for BCorp accreditation which includes a number of sustainability initiatives.

Is reducing the amount of plastic waste important to you as a brand and why?
In a word, yes! We want our products to arrive with customers in pristine condition but the use of plastic bags to do so is simply not sustainable. It really mattered to us that we found a workable and durable solution. After considerable research we were delighted to find a sustainable solution with Eco Garment Bags.

Please tell us about any problems you have had in sourcing sustainable packaging

We had two main challenges – one being that we manufacture in Vietnam where humidity is an issue (and which can cause packaging to degrade prematurely), and secondly that the packaging was clear enough so that the products, tags and bar codes could be visible to our warehouse and customers. We have found
that Eco Garment Bags have met both challenges successfully!

How important is your brands packaging to your brand image?
Packaging is obviously important as that is how our products arrive with a customer so it was important that we found a solution that matched the quality of our products.

Please tell us about any feedback you have had from clients about you using Eco Garment Bags.
Feedback has generally been very good – we have explained to customers what we are doing and why, and they understand the importance of abandoning single use plastics. Eco Garment Bags have a slightly different feel and texture to ordinary plastic bags, and this has taken a bit of getting used to by both our
warehouse and customers, but overall everyone considers this to be a positive move by Earth Squared.

Would you recommend the use of Eco Garment Bags to other fashion brands and why?
Again, in a word, yes. So far we have found this to be a practical sustainable solution to our packaging needs.

How do you see the future of the fashion industry in terms of sustainability in the next 5-10 years?
There is no doubt that the fashion industry needs to make fundamental changes to reduce its environmental impact – and that consumers will expect this. We would expect greater focus on the life cycle of a product – from inception to end of use – to improve the sourcing and recycling/reuse of fabrics and components.

What changes would you like to see happening in the fashion industry in the next 5-10 years?

A greater focus on sustainability and less emphasis on fast fashion – which will require a change of mindset from both producers and customers – so that products last longer and can be reused/recycled more easily.

Is there anything else you would like to share with us about your brand or vision?
We strongly believe that sustainability and fair trade (and its focus on social justice) go hand in hand and at Earth Squared will continue to do all we can to make a difference to those we work with (and to lessen our carbon footprint whilst doing so).

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