There is no beauty in the finest cloth if it makes hunger & unhappiness. - Mahatma Ghandi
Sustainable fashion is such a marvel of the world. You can see it everywhere and not even know it. I think it was the highly revered civil rights activist, Rosa Parks who said, "Each person must live their life as a model for others." What would the world be like if everyone actively felt and thought this way? As American designer Anne Klein reminds us, "Clothes aren't going to change the world, but the women (and men) who wear them, will."
What you wear matters. What you buy matters even more. Amazing women such as the Australian Queensland native, Jacky Stickler, whom in 2016 founded sticks+stone, reminds us of this. sticks+stone, is an ethical fashion brand for women who care about the planet, and want to look stylish doing so. Jacky is currently planning two runway shows and the impending release of her second collection. FYI: all sticks+stone products are crafted in local Australian production houses by skilled machinists. Interested in learning more? Read my interview with Jacky below.
Kelly: Did you ever deal with contention from your family concerning your entrepreneurial pursuits? How did you handle it? What would you do differently in hindsight?
Jacky: I did early on, but I feel like that is a natural settling in period. I left a ‘good corporate job’ that had a promising career path & security, so to be honest it took me a little while to be 100% sure about my new entrepreneurial persuits! So it’s only natural that those close to me would feel the same. My family are now my biggest supporters! My mum has actually started a little blog on Instagram called @randomactsofsustainability after being inspired by our story. Thats the best part, when you can impact those around you to make positive change - that’s what it’s all about!
KM: What was sticks+stone's original mission? How has that mission evolved in the time since?
JS: Originally we started up to influence people to buy ethical & sustainable fashion over fast fashion, but now it is so much more than that! For every initiative that we undertake, we have 3 clear goals; educate, influence & inspire. This is all about not just trying to get people to buy something sustainable & ethical, but educating them on why it’s so important & connecting with them to help them identify whats important to them, then inspiring them to take action in their own way. We aim to undertake initiatives & communicate across a broad range of topics, with fashion as our core.
KM: Do you prefer to pursue funding or build organically, and why?
JS: We prefer to build organically. Whilst this can be tricky, especially due to the cost involved in making things ethically with sustainable materials, we feel that this gives us the freedom to be true to ourselves & consistently authentic with our customers. We have sole ownership over the direction, decisions & communications for the label, so we can keep it real!
KM: Did you have major competitors when you started, how did you plan to compete with them, and how did that plan play out?
JS: We like to run our own race. Our vision in to create things of enduring value for better social & environmental outcomes. We think that the more people that are talking about sustainable & ethical practices, the better. Ultimately this is a people power movement, it will be a collective effort & the voice of many is much louder than the voice of one.
KM: What do you look for in a business partner?
JS: Someone who shares similar goals & values. I recently collaborated with a very talented local textile designer; Lauren Malone, from @TheIndigoRoom. The collaboration was a dream, because we share similar vision & values in relation to social & environmental goals. We created a beautiful bespoke hand painted print for our feature item from the new collection, the ‘We Are Kin’ Co-Ord. The feature - motif tells the story of how the clothes were crafted with each hand painted element representing an artisans role in the process. From the farmer who harvested the organic cotton, to the designer who sketched the silhouette & the seamstress who sewed each stitch. More information on the collaboration can be found on our website.
KM: Why did you name your brand, “sticks+stone?” Why do you feel your brand differs from other ethical fashion brands?
JS: sticks+stone references the simplistic & natural approach that we take to everything that we do within the label, including our sustainable & zero waste, environmentally friendly practices. It also carries a cheeky little nod to the old saying ‘sticks + stones may break my bones but words with never hurt me’ which also pays homage to the spirit of the sticks + stone girl, who forges her path of choice with passion, irrespective of challenges. You do you girl!