It is possible for human beings to be carefree and ignorant about issues which do not affect them directly. The emotional and actionable sensitivity of someone who deeply cares about an issue, social or otherwise, is not the same for someone who cannot resonate enough with the cause, simply because he or she may not have experienced it directly or is isn’t informed or cares about other issues and causes much more.
However, it stands to reason that the rise of the internet has led to multiple social issues being voiced out, garnering supporters and donation for multiple causes, leading to a shift in the status-quo, in terms of attitudes and lifestyles, spurring brands to stay adept at choosing the issues they can address and possibly, stay profitable at the same time.
The window of opportunity to cause change has never been so big and transparent at the same time. In a race to improve the lives of the bottom billion in the face of ever increasing adversity in the environment in the form of temperature fluctuations and rising sea levels, the onus has never been greater on individuals and brands alike to change themselves in small ways to do their bit for the planet that made their genes.
SONAL AGRAWAL – House of PinkPepperCorn
Give a brief info about your startup?
House of PinkPepperCorn is a slow fashion label, started with the vision to create ethical, thoughtful and thought provoking pieces of clothing, that stand out by making a statement, and are yet very inclusive and wearable by everyone. Our first collection, ‘Unafraid’, champions the thought of body positivity. We have used ‘measuring tapes’ as one of our key design elements and it stands to encourage women to be unafraid, to wear their measurements out loud, with confidence.
What made you start your startup and what problem does it solve?
House of Pinkpeppercorn, was born from the idea that I wanted to create clothing, accessories, and pieces that aren’t just items of fashion… they’re expressions. The house of pink peppercorn is an alternate to fast fashion which is the second largest pollutant across the globe. When we talk about ethical fashion, it fills all the pockets in order to preserve the environment. We believe in imparting fair wages to our workers. It’s all hand stitched so we do try to focus on the issue of reducing unemployment.
Culturally, we tap on those topics which do make a difference in our viewers life. We encourage designs on body positivity, recycled fabrics or any social movement affecting the lives of the people.
Our designs portray sensitive topics which aren’t spoken about.
Tell us about yourself, your previous jobs/ventures? What were you doing before this startup?
I have done my Post Graduate in Luxury Brand Management from Polimoda Institute of Fashion Design and Marketing, Florence (Italy).
Before starting my own blog, I was a Brand Strategist for over 9 years working in the advertising industry, and have been a Consumer Insights Miner specializing in fashion and luxury brands. My blog, PinkPeppercorn, is about my idea of fashion inspired by the different places that I visit, the different cultures I interact with and the different stories that I come across. I still write blogs and create social media content that I hope inspires others.
Where is your startup based out of? Why do you think that is the best place for you?
Since I am based out of Mumbai, this is where I have spent my childhood, have got connection with the people who have seen me evolve.
While these clothes are for metropolitan shoppers, I didn’t want to restrict my material sourcing to Mumbai or any developed city. The a part of this whole idea is to connect with weavers who are residing in different remote parts of the country and who have the inherited skill and connection with the thread but aren’t given enough or right opportunities.
When I talk about ethical fashion I don’t want to tap on social sensitive topics but also do justice to the weavers who practice their unique art.
As a startup founder, what are you paranoid about? What keeps you awake at night?
In this ever evolving environment my motto will be to stand true to myself, my brand, it’s ideologies. Yet make the brand likeable and be able to sustain and not compromise on the ethics of my brand.
Who are your competitions and how are you better than them?
There are several ethical brands, but my competition is not just sustainable brands. It’s anybody and everybody because, for most of the consumers, clothes are clothes.
How hard is it to have a work-life balance as a startup founder and how do you manage it?
It pretty crazy but at the same time my work is what my life revolves around, so it goes hand in hand. I started as a fashion and travel blogger and gradually moved on to having my own line.
Have you raised funding? If yes, then we would like to know the details. If no then please tell us if you are looking to raise.
No, I started with my own savings. But before approaching someone for investing in my brand I want to establish the label and make it more powerful so I can promise the kind of output expected. But keeping fingers crossed I hope my brand sells well and we make a place in people’s hearts to grow.
What’s the biggest misconception people have about you? Why do they have that? What’s the reality?
I believe that people think that I am a very intense person, someone who mirrors social issues through my post which is right but at the same time I am also a very chirpy, carefree woman.
So the content which I create are my emotions but shouldn’t be mistaken as my personality trait.
What gets you excited about this company?
I am in love with the clothes and the entire concept. It’s like my baby.
Tell us how a day in your life looks like? Your schedule for a day right from the time you get up till you hit the bed at night.
So the first thing I do as I keep put my legs down from the bed is I straightaway walk to my cats and feed them, caress them. Then I do my household chores which takes a good amount of time. After that I do my Instagram posts, blogs, creation of video content. Go to cross fit. When I was in the stage of designing, curating every outfit my entire day used to go in the workshop. But now it’s in the launch phase so I am bit relaxed but back of the mind I have started thinking about the next collection.
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