I had the opportunity to talk with Christine of Garb & Go a few weeks ago. It was a pleasure to get to know her more and work together to create the #gotosummergarb challenge which starts Monday, May 25th. I hope you enjoy the interview as much as I did.
To start off can you tell us a bit about yourself and your work?
I’ve been interested in fashion for as long as I can remember. Growing up, I didn’t realize that I could make a career in the fashion industry until I was in college for interior design. While I was studying interior design, I realized it was more of a hobby for me than a career I could truly be passionate about. I decided to take a semester off to take a step back and reevaluate which career path I should be on. During that time, I discovered that my college offered a fashion merchandising major so I switched to that and never looked back. After changing studies, I started to work in retail stores and discovered that I was a fan of the startup culture and working for newer companies. I stumbled upon a blog post that listed startups that were really breaking through fashion barriers in creative ways. One of the companies listed was Stitch Fix and I quickly became determined to work there. Eventually I landed a summer internship and then a full time merchandising job there once I graduated from college. I learned so much through my experiences working with them. But there came a time where I was ready to do more and wanted to embark upon a new challenge. Throughout my fashion career, I was able to dip my toes into various roles which allowed me to see firsthand all the waste that was being made and all the resources being used to create these garments. This drove me to research and learn more about sustainable fashion and eventually create Garb & Go.
What inspired your clothing marketplace?
When I was first starting to dig deep into learning about sustainable fashion, I discovered that a lot of the brands I liked at the time were not practicing what I was researching. I found that it was difficult to find brands in my style that were being transparent and taking the right steps to become a more sustainable brand. At this time, an idea popped into my head. I kept asking myself why these brands weren’t just gathered under one marketplace. Eventually it just clicked that I could make that happen and that is how Garb & Go came about.
What has been your biggest struggle in owning your own business, how did you / how are you overcoming it?
The main challenge is when you are first starting a company you don’t realize all the steps that come along with it. There are so many things that people don’t tell you that I was not prepared for. Another huge challenge is marketing. Informing people of your brand and mission is so important and trying to really put your brand's voice out there has been a struggle for me and is something I am still working on. At first our marketing and website came across as more of a brand instead of an ecommerce. That was a tricky hurdle and one that we needed to overcome to really convey our brand as a marketplace for sustainable fashion. I am still working to this day on making sure each user knows exactly what we stand for and what our goal is. It is so important to clearly state our values and I hope we grow in doing that each day.
What things are you having to change within your business during this pandemic?
I am trying to keep a pulse on everything and being hyper aware of what our customers are going through during this time. Being mindful in our marketing right now is very important to me. We are a business and trying to make it through this time but I also don’t want our customers to feel like we are pushing them to make a purchase just because of the pandemic. I am also keeping in mind that as things start to change past this, the new normal with everything will be very different from the old normal, I think that is very important to realize and make sure we adjust for. Luckily, we are only an ecommerce company right now and we don’t have a brick and mortar to worry about which I am thankful for.
Which items are your personal favorites that are available at Garb & Go now?
When you shop for yourself at different companies, what do you look for in a brand? What do you take from those standards when deciding what brands to sell at Garb & Go?
Making sure brands I am purchasing from are transparent and not just using sustainability buzzwords is super important to me. I want to know where they are sourcing their fabrics from and what factories they employ to make their garments. I want to make sure the factories provide environments that are safe for their makers and that they are being paid fair wages. If that information is not readily available on their site, I will do a bit of digging through different resources such as Good On You or even Instagram. If that fails, I know I can always just email them and ask directly for that information. I take these into consideration as well when I start thinking about on-boarding a brand for Garb & Go. Transparency & traceability is key.
What has been your favorite meal you have had while quarantined?
I am a huge fan of Mexican food. My top meal during quarantine would have to be lettuce wraps and DIY tacos.