I N S P I R E D by One-Stop Ethical Shopping
The Mamoq is a brand new ethical shopping platform. They launched a few months ago, and it's obvious they will be providing a lot of value to the ethical shopping community.
Their layout is clean, minimal and easy to use, and they already feature some of the sought-after names of ethical shopping on their website.
I reached out to them when The Mamoq was still a blog page called the Coco (which I understand stood for Conscious Consumer - clever!). On their blog, I found great thoughtful content on ethical/sustainable fashion. They explored very interesting topics like designer burnout in the name of fast fashion, which fabrics are most sustainable, and more.
It's clear that Madeline & Lenny, the couple behind the brand, are very passionate about their work and informed about their field.
As always, I am interested in the people behind this. I am fascinated by people who are creative, and how they get to where they are. There is always a great story behind each person, and it's often one we can learn from.
Oftentimes, with creativity comes the challenge to mold your creativity into a functioning part of your life. Dreaming something up and getting it out there is often a huge leap of faith that requires a great deal of effort and persistence, whichever medium you choose. Speak to anyone who has a dream, but not the courage to make the leap, and they will tell you how different their situation is to those who have achieved what they wish to, and they will often make you a list of all the reasons why it's extra hard for them.
However, speak to anyone who has achieved their dream, and you will see that they didn't succeed because they were exempt from the problems that others are having, but they succeeded because they learned how to appreciate their setbacks and turn them into assets. This is why it is so important to listen to each other's stories. It can help us set clearer goals and see possibility in every setback.
The story of how the Mamoq came to be is no exception. There were unique challenges along the way that led to the unique thing that has morphed into the Mamoq. And knowing some of these things can help us appreciate the outcome even more, and extract a lesson for ourselves.
THE MAMOQ HOMEPAGE
- THE WEBSITE -
"Lenny (my co-founder) and I are both very entrepreneurial at heart and passionate about using business as a tool for social good. We didn’t know exactly what kind of social enterprise we wanted to set up, but we knew we wanted to use our skills to make a difference in the world. We first started The Coco (The Conscious Consumer) as a blog to help teach people about the current problems of the fashion industry, and provide information on how to shop more sustainably. Through The Coco, people would reach out to us asking ‘how do I know a brand is ethical’ and ‘where can I find good brands to support?’. These questions led us to launch mamoq - an online marketplace that is home to incredible brands committed to making the fashion industry a better place. The journey has had many highs and lows, but they have all been worth it because we are immensely proud of mamoq, and the incredible brands that we work with."
Lenny at Seljalandsfoss waterfall in Iceland
-HOW IT STARTED-
"Lenny (my co-founder) and I are both very entrepreneurial at heart and passionate about using business as a tool for social good. We didn’t know exactly what kind of social enterprise we wanted to set up, but we knew we wanted to use our skills to make a difference in the world. Lenny and I both have backgrounds in International Development and knew that we wanted to set up a business that could tackle some of the world’s most pervasive problems. When we learned that the fashion industry is one of the most polluting industries in the world and is rampant with human rights violations, we knew that making the fashion industry safer and more sustainable would have immense benefits for the whole world.
The idea for mamoq actually came completely out of the blue while on a road trip in Iceland. We were both a little fed up with London, and decided to pack our bags and head to the great outdoors to clear our heads for a little. Somewhere along the Golden Circle, we began talking about the atrocities of the fashion industry, and how we both wanted to change our shopping habits to align more with our values. Despite wanting to seek out ethical alternatives to high street fashion, we discussed how frustrating and difficult it was to actually find innovative brands that shared our commitment to sustainability and ethics. This is when the idea was born.
The day we returned from Iceland, we set up a blog (The Coco) to see if there was interest from other people in the UK, and we discovered a growing community of passionate people and awesome brands. Over the next year, we maintained the blog and starting reaching out to brands."
-HIGHS AND LOWS-
At first it was difficult to convince a brand to join a marketplace that didn’t exist yet, but we persevered with thousands of calls, emails and meetings and finally had enough brands that wanted to work with us to quit our jobs and focus on creating the website full time.
Since neither of us have experience in e-commerce the journey to create the website was a little bumpy. We didn’t quite know what we were doing, so we just took a whack at it! In the end, our lack of experience in commerce ended up being a huge advantage because we were not constrained by following the steps of 'how an commerce site should be built'. Instead, we set up mamoq in a way that made sense to us, and without even knowing it, ended up creating something truly unique. So yes, while there were ups & downs the whole journey, I think the main thing is to simply persevere!
-HOW WILL IT EVOLVE-
"We have so many different ideas! We hope to grow the number of brands that we work with, and would really love to see mamoq become a destination for people who are looking to learn more about sustainable fashion. We would also love to do educational conferences and events. But who knows, the sky is the limit!"
"I love the slow fashion philosophy. There are a lot of different schools of thought, but I interpret it to mean physically slowing down and taking the time to make conscious and informed decisions about the clothes we buy. I think that being mindful is definitely the first step in embracing sustainability, so it’s important we take the time to think about our purchases before we make them. Slow fashion also encompasses the idea that clothes are made to last for years to come, and I think this is a really important message to get across in order to fight the idea that clothing is disposable."
FROM ONE OF THE MAMOQ'S BRANDS (WHO SUPPORT WOMEN IN MALAWI)
Q: What do you think about a business model of tailor-made clothing?
"I think tailor made clothing is great- who doesn’t want that perfect fit! It also really embodies the slow fashion philosophy of turning away from mass production and embracing a more personal, thoughtful style."
Q: Which fabric are you most fond of and why? Which do you recommend buyers to purchase more of, or look for in a fabric?
"In general, we definitely favor natural materials over synthetic or plastic-based fabrics such as polyester.
In the summer I love wearing linen and recently I have become a huge fan of alpaca wool. It is super warm and soft, and great for people with sensitive skin who don’t like regular sheep’s wool. However, with all animal-based materials it is important to make sure that you buy from a responsible, cruelty-free brand!"
Q: What advice would you give to shoppers who want to steer clear of fast fashion, but aren’t in the best financial situation to be able to invest in the most expensive pieces?
"Fast fashion is definitely cheaper, but it is cheap for a reason. Producers are cutting corners to bring the cost down, and this usually results in poor production practices. If you think about, how is it possible to charge so little for a t-shirt, and still pay fair wages, respect the environment and produce quality garments? It’s not.
I think about investing in quality. Instead of buying a cheap t-shirt that will last me one year, why not buy a quality garment for a bit more that will last a few seasons? If you look in the right places (like mamoq!) you should be able to find some wardrobe basics that won’t break the bank."
"I saw a documentary about climate change at a young age and since then have always been interested in doing my part to live sustainably. I think the best part of really embracing the sustainable movement is realizing that you don’t have to completely change your life, you just have to be mindful about the decisions that you make and strive to make choices that you feel proud of. It’s not about being perfect, it’s about taking steps in the right direction."
-FASHION WORLD VS SUSTAINABILITY-
Q: Can you talk a bit about how the fashion world has taken to the sustainable movement, and it’s development over the years?
"I would still say that we are still very much in the beginning stages of the ‘sustainable fashion movement’. While there is definitely an increase in consumer demand, and subsequently more brands catering to sustainable fashion, there is still a long way to go until it is in the mainstream."
-DESIGNERS VS SUSTAINABILITY-
Q: How do you think the sustainable movement is affecting designers?
"Designing with sustainability in mind completely changes the entire creative process for a designer. They must consider what materials they use, where they plan to source it, how they will cut the patterns to minimize waste, what treatments they can use to create texture and finish, the list goes on and on. Creating a sustainable collection requires much more thought and consideration, and this will influence how many designers take on the challenge."
-FUTURE OF SUSTAINABILITY-
Q: What do you see in the future of ethical and sustainable businesses?
"Honestly, I see it as the new normal. If we choose to only shop from ethical and sustainable businesses, then eventually they will be the only ones that survive. As they say, vote with your wallet!"
Q: What are some of the stigmas you would change around sustainability/ethical fashion? And how can someone who loves fashion, but knows nothing about sustainability take the right steps towards it?
"The stigmas I wish I could change would be that sustainable fashion is too expensive, and it’s not stylish. There are tons of amazing brands that are producing incredible collections at affordable prices.
If someone was serious about becoming a conscious consumer, I would definitely suggest they watch the documentary The True Cost. It is incredible and will truly open your eyes to the hidden horrors of the fashion industry. After watching that, I think anyone with a heart would be interested in shopping more consciously."
"I don’t think there is such a thing as the ‘perfect consumer’. The important thing is to ask questions, know about the product you are buying, and feel positive about that purchase."
-A BETTER LIFE -
Q: So here, I’d like for you to give a ‘tip’ to my readers. A tiyö. The word tiyö means tip that comes purely from experience. Not just because people say it will work and the books say it’s right, but because the person giving tiyö experienced this exact thing and knows for sure that this will be the way to succeeding at whatever you’re doing. So it’s kind of guaranteed to work. Can you give a tiyö to readers? It can be about absolutely anything. Just something you’ve learned from experience you’d like to pass on.
"My tiyö is to be considerate in the choices you make, and take the time to make choices you are proud of. People who think the environment is ‘not their problem’ are defeatist and wrong. Everyone has a responsibly to help create a better world, and there is no such things as an effort too small."
-A BETTER WORLD-
And finally, how do you think we can achieve a more gentle world?
"Kindness and consideration go a long way."