What An Eco-Conscious Business Is Teaching Me About Being A Woman
When you learn something new, be it learn a language, play the guitar or surfing, you expect the learning curve will be steep.
I expected the same when I started an Eco-conscious clothing company.
In three short years, I've gone from blissfully unaware of the ugly business of fashion to keenly conscious...and determined to do something about it…that’s when I leaned-into the curve.
I’ve learned how to design a garment, start a social media marketing campaign, find and negotiate with ethical sewing manufactures, hunt-down sustainable materials, build my own website, write web content, create a promotional video...while raising my daughter, and working two jobs. And that's the short list!
What I didn't expect I'd get an education in, was how to be a conscious woman in business...in the smack-dab middle of the most consumptive, consumer-driven, image-conscious industry imaginable!
The fashion industry is designed to keep us unaware, using marketing hype to shape how we think, dictate how we act, and keep us shopping for new clothes season-to-season. They’re interested in promoting self-awareness, or creating conscious consumers.
The challenge then, is to be in the culture but not of it—to freely choose our own distinctive style, love our differences and our appearances, while celebrate individual self-expression.
To accomplish this, one of the first things I'm learning to do is to soften.
By softening, I mean to be gentle with myself, and begin to notice any subtle ways I disconnect from my inner knowing; a particular way I stand, a rigid attitude, a contracted heart, my willingness to listen to another point of view...or not.
When I soften any one of these small habits (with gentleness) I notice a clearer sense of myself emerges, and I feel the strength of the woman I’m becoming, growing stronger with each observation and more authentic response.
And I notice that this invites other women to do the same.
I've designed my robes with "free-spirited beauties" in mind. This has forced me to get real; to look closely at what that means.
As I become more observant of myself, I’m also observing the women in my life to get a real sense of what it looks like to live freely, spiritedly, and notice where beauty comes from?
The 21st century portrait of beauty the media is selling, is that of an accomplished fashionista, physically fit and highly independent, but this doesn’t attract me. What captivates my attention in other women that I see…regarless of appearances…is the way their inner beauty shines!
These beauties are less fashion-conscious and independent, and more self-styled and interdependent!
Look into the history of any culture around the world, and you notice women spent the vast majority of their time in the company of other women. They cooked together, sowed seeds, and sang, danced, and raised families together.
Such is the case of these women I’ve been hanging out with: they spend more time in the company of other women; doing community service, creating their unique artwork and above all, learning from each other how to be together with differences, in a culture that celebrates conformity.
The question then becomes: what do you or I want as women, exactly...or better said...what moves us so profoundly that we simply must do that thing?
Here’s my second learning: Do that thing you must...whatever it is...don't wait.
A woman, in her essence, nurtures something into its fullness…letting it be what it is long enough to discover what it will become, and she knows when to take action.
When you explore new ways to connect and express yourself...be brave, be soft and strong, and be willing to be less independent and self-reliant, and a little more interdependent.
By coming together with other women, we are healed, freed, and we find our spirited beauty... which is fun! And when we regularly spend time with other women, we are reminded that we are different in attractive and important ways, but we are all part of the same tribe.
I believe more women are exploring these ideas, and what we're capable of achieving together.
As we do so, we set examples for one another, and help uplift each other, which I think is part of why we're here.
You and I both know to become this authentic expression of the women we are, isn't about whether we wear an Eco-conscious robe, or not, or how we look in it, or the shade of our skin or size of our waist.
But instead how we as woman express that thing we alone are compelled to communicate in the world, free of the dictates of our cultural norms, others opinions, or our own insecurities, and we do so bravely, one conscious-choice-at-a-time!