What does “sustainable fashion” mean to you?
We look at the entire chain of people making our product, and ask the question, “Is everyone earning a living wage?” (enough to meet basic needs). We call ourselves a sustainable supply company because we want our products to sustain the makers of them.
What inspired you to start a sustainable fashion line?
You might call us “accidental entrepreneurs”. . . we never really intended to start a business. We had been working as a non-profit in Cambodia since 2006, and slowly came to the realization that this was the most empowering project we saw; by giving people the opportunity to work, we give them hope. By empowering survivors of trafficking with employment, we give them the power to change their own lives.
What is your company’s mission?
Empowerment through Employment
Do you have a 5 or 10-year vision for your company that you could share with us?
Our heart is for many others to catch the vision we have for sustainable fashion, and that not only Imagine Goods, but other companies with the same heart would grow substantially over the next few years. We want to educate buyers on who makes their clothing/housewares, etc. and supply them with what they need while creating a product that helps to break the poverty cycle.
Who is your customer?
We see our target market as whole families. We have housewares, women’s clothing, men’s shirts and ties, and children’s clothing. Our goal is to provide something for every individual.
What is something you wish people knew about sustainable fashion?
We think it is important for people to understand what a living wage is-
A living wage is one which allows a person to acquire the basic necessities of life: safe housing, nutritious food, clean water, basic health care, and education for children. To figure out what this figure is in each area where our production partners are located, we do research; by looking at government or NGO statistics on the living-wage incomes, as well as by talking to local workers who have a good handle on what is necessary to live, we come to a figure which we ask our production partners to meet. Often our partners will create an incentive system in which artisans will earn a base salary and then can make more depending on how much they produce.
Is there anything else you’d like us to know about you or your company?
One thing we love about our products is how hands-on we get to be with them. We visit our production partners a few times a year, purchase fabrics in the local markets, and are very hands-on in the tweaking of patterns, styles, etc. Our heart is to see our business grow, but also to stay involved and in touch with each area of it.
Another thing a lot of people don’t know about us is that your business or organization can be involved in supporting sustainable living! We have recently begun offering custom t-shirt orders. We make the t-shirts, screen print them with the logo or design you supply, and you get to know exactly where your money goes in the process.