WELCOME 2018. The year is already starting with a bang and Work It Social is busy with new clients, old clients and everyone in between. Fortunately, we're managing to maintain time to interact with the most awesome influencers and entrepreneurs across the city and are bringing Cassandra from Chic Made Consciously to you on the first #WorkItWednesday of 2018. Are you ready for it?
1. First off, tell us a little about Chic Made Consciously. What do you do and what makes you unique?
Chic Made Consciously represents style and sustainability. Founded with the intention to create positive change in the fashion industry, we work with artisans in Bali who handcraft our accessory line that is all repurposed from tires! What makes our product something special is the story behind it. I, Cassandra Ciarallo, travelled to Bali a few years ago and met the artisan who was working in his shop making these pieces.
My curiosity led me to spend the day creating and making pieces with him myself. Boy, was that an experience! Lightbulbs went off in my head as I realized these pieces needed to come home with me to Toronto. Totally just throwing myself into it, I starting distributing these fair trade and upcycled products in North America. Not only are the designs incredibly unique, but we are transforming tires from landfill and giving them a second life, which isn't really something you see everyday. It's really something special to be a part of!
2. What inspired you to create your own business? Did you already have experience in the industry?
I always knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur. I studied business at University of Toronto and dreamt of owning my own company one day. It's pretty crazy how aligned everything has fallen into place. I definitely did not even know a 'sustainable fashion' industry really existed. Since the beginning, I have learnt a heck of a lot about the social and environmental impacts of fashion and it has made me even more motivated and driven be part of this impactful community. The fact that the average worker in the developing world makes only .03 cents on every $10 item sold here, and that there is so much waste dumped onto our planet makes me extremely motivated and inspired to keep moving forward.
3. You have quite the following online! How do you get the word out there about your brand?
It's funny, a friend said this line to me one day and it has really stuck with me: "Little step by little step!" It has definitely been a lot of time, patience and dedication in learning what it means to build a strong brand. However, I get the word out by staying consistent on social media, mainly Instagram + Facebook, constantly putting myself out there, meeting like-minded people and making connections at networking events. You then see the fruits start to grow from what you have planted.
4. What has been the biggest challenge for you in growing your business?
I would say one of the challenges is definitely working alone. Some days are awesome and I love the flexibility. Some days it's harder to stay focused and I wish I had a group of people to bounce ideas off of and get more feedback.
5. It's tough to be a solopreneur! What are your strategies to fill in your knowledge gaps?
Totally! (as mentioned above). I set up coffee dates with other social entrepreneurs to share ideas and collaborate. I also work with different mentors who help guide me and have been where I have to show me the ropes. I also read a lot of blogs, books, listen to podcasts, and sign up for online seminars to keep me educated. A couple of my fav podcasts lately have been: The Tim Ferris Show (entrepreneurial), Wardrobe Crisis (sustainable fashion).
6. What keeps you motivated?
Connecting with my WHY and knowing that I am part of the change. It's a good feeling to know that society is becoming more conscious of their purchases and wanting to be more connected to the story behind the label. It's also motivating to know that I can offer a product that gives consumers the choice to shop with a positive social and environmental impact.
7. What's one of your business goals for the next year?
This year I intend to scale up the business - create a bigger impact on communities we work with and also have an income that is financially sustainable.
8. How do you #workit everyday?
Part of what helps me with that is having a morning routine. I try to incorporate some sort of movement, whether it's stretching or yoga and also some meditation. This really puts me in a feel good state for the day and helps me to stay more focused and present on my tasks, without getting overwhelmed!