Today is an emotional milestone for me, a touch end of an era as I'm sure it is for a lot of families out there. My youngest has started school and now I can commit fully to this business which has been a seedling of an idea for such a long time (not exaggerating, I registered the business in May 2016).
There have been so many changes since I started this journey and the thing that makes me feel like I'm going in the right direction is people now engage with why I have been touting conscious commerce and why I wanted to launch an ethical and sustainable fashion label, much have the change I believe has come from David Attenborough’s final episode of Blue Planet II at the end of 2017. (Thank you Sir David!) Before that I had to explain why I thought businesses should pay a living wage and take more care of people and planet.
It's been a journey and I have had wobble's about whether I should just chuck it all in and get a 'real job', however I think I couldn't do that without putting my all into this. For so much of my life I lived other peoples dreams, I fell into Marketing which I loved, but it wasn't my passion and it took me until the end of my 30's to rediscover how much I loved the arts but particularly making and designing clothes.
Ānene has come about as a solution to my problem in that I couldn't find clothing that suited my style, after two children and recovering from a back injury I wasn't the same person and I wanted to create something that reflect the person I wanted to reclaim with an edge.
Another influence that transformed my journey was listening to Elvis and Kresse co-owner Kresse Wesling talk at a 'Women of the Future network event' about how she started her business by seeing London's decommissioned fire hoses - aka 'waste' as an opportunity.
This is how I started here, up-cycling saris into new items. I saw it as a way to grow organically and enable me to work with beautifully designed fabrics that have intricate patterns that enables me to create limited edition pieces.
The next step will be to source dead-stock fabrics or better fabrics that have minimal impact on the environment so that I can keep close to the ethics that are so integral to my rather large dreams for this business.
I am buoyed by the potential of new types of fabrics - a lot from waste areas such as pineapple fibres : Pinatex or even coffee grounds which offer excellent natural anti-odor qualities, in addition to UV ray protection and quick drying time.
The future is bright, my dreams are big, so please join me and watch this space!