Shannon Whitehead Lohr Shannon Whitehead Lohr, founder of Factory45

Shannon Whitehead Lohr: “It will become even more important for startup brands to know how to cut through the competition”

Shannon Whitehead Lohr, founder of Factory45, started her own sustainable fashion brand back in 2010. Since then, she has made it her business to coach other sustainable startups as they turn their ideas into reality. Their biggest problem, in her experience, is getting the word out there.

”When I first entered the sustainable fashion community in 2010, very few people outside of the industry even knew what the words ‘sustainable fashion’ meant.

As I was starting my own clothing company, it was a constant balancing act of educating potential customers while also making sure that our brand message was clearly communicated.

Now that I’m on the other side of it, seven years later, mentoring other entrepreneurs who want to start their own sustainable fashion companies, I can see first-hand how the industry has shifted.

Don’t get me wrong, there is still a lot of education to do for the mainstream consumer, but we’ve made significant strides in getting the word out there about what it means to shop consciously. And it’s continuing to make a difference for the brands that incorporate sustainability and ethics.

« The biggest challenge right now is not unique to sustainable or ethical brands—it applies across the board for any small business or independent retailer—and that challenge is marketing. »

The biggest challenge right now is not unique to sustainable or ethical brands—it applies across the board for any small business or independent retailer—and that challenge is marketing.

When you’re a small player, just starting out, it’s not unusual to feel like you’re juggling every ball in the air and having to do everything yourself. Problems arise, though, when there is a lack of business savvy or emphasis on getting the word out there about what you sell, why you sell it and who you sell it to. It doesn’t matter if you create the most beautiful garments in the world if you don’t have marketing channels in place to tell people about it.

The current climate within the sustainable fashion industry is only growing. As it continues to gain more of a presence in the space, it will become even more important for startup brands to know how to set themselves apart and cut through the competition.

I hope we’re heading to a point where all fashion is sustainable simply because there’s no other way. The big brands need to take more responsibility in moving away from the fast fashion model so that we’re not producing more clothing than our landfills can handle.

With the continued advances in textile technology, manufacturing, and designer leadership we have every reason to stay hopeful for a brighter fashion future.”

Find out more about Factory45 here!

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