Inspiring Sisters: Meet The Female Innovators behind Circular Fashion Brand Make Thread
It's not always easy to show off our products in all their glory given the nature of where they are used. Whilst we know it's what's on the inside that counts, we still wanted to to spread the word about our iconic nüdie period cup so more sisters could join the #reusablesrevolution!
When we came across female-founded zero-waste fashion brand Make Thread - we knew they would be the perfect partners to help us bring our vision to life. Co-founders Katie Roche and Sarah O'Brien have worked tirelessly with us to create our Limited Edition "let's get nüdie" white tee- T shirts. We sat down with the inspiring sisters to learn about their vision, journey and what the concept of "sisterhood" means to them.
Can you tell us a bit about Make Thread and what inspired you to launch the brand?
Make Thread is a sustainable fashion platform. We work with independents from really cool small and medium sized brands, to influencers and aspiring designers to create meaningful sustainable and ethical fashion using our planet-friendly print-on-demand model.
Make Thread was born out of a passion to trigger a fashion revolution. We aim to reduce barriers for small brands and individuals to design their own sustainable pieces with less financial risk, and to make sustainable fashion more accessible to both designers and customers.
How have you found running a business during the pandemic and tell us some of your highlights to date?
We changed direction a bit because of the pandemic and decided to launch the business with only white t-shirts rather than a full range. With lockdown rules in place, we got in touch with smaller UK based suppliers who could work from home and launched our ‘Design for Kindness’ competition for designers to submit their t-shirt designs. We donated all of our profits to The National Emergencies Trust, a charity that was working to help people who had a direct impact from Covid-19.
Once we launched the competition we soon saw the design community come together, share and really engage with what we were doing. From a distance and sitting at home people were able to make a difference in their own way, either buying a t-shirt, sharing the campaign or submitting a design. This was a great success and we had a huge amount of support including over 40 influencers wearing our t-shirts, we were also seen on The One Show, This Morning and featured in the Daily Mail.
The Make Thread brand is built around a radical shift to sustainable fashion, printing to order rather than creating stock. What have been the biggest hurdles in launching a relatively new business model?
Our business model is very different to traditional fashion brands as usually brands have minimum order quantities to meet for suppliers. They often source items unethically outside of the UK and over purchase stock that then ends up incinerated or in landfill. Finding a supplier is extremely difficult to fulfil the model, as well as sourcing sustainable organic apparel and we have spent months trying to source the right apparel ethically to break the cycle!
How have you found working with creatives and indie businesses? Do you have any favourite designers you’ve worked with so far?
We love it, it’s been a total delight! Katie works closely with sustainably-minded creatives and brands, and their visions are totally different every time. We’ve managed to find a way of teasing out really meaningful designs and get involved in the design process, so there is a huge satisfaction for the team to see everything come to life.
We see a lot of mainstream fashion as soulless and make it our mission to create meaningful for our customers. It’s great to be a part of something purposeful- something more than fashion.
We couldn’t possibly have a fave, we’ve built so many amazing relationships already! Although there is one influencer- Roxie Nafousi- in particular who has helped us along the way and helped us achieve personal growth by kindly inviting us to her courses for free, thank you Roxie!
A big part of your brand identity is building a community around sustainable fashion education. What are the challenges to building community in this space?
Firstly, we love the sustainable community, it is small but impactful and growing. Society is often quick to criticise, and we can experience that within the community. It’s also important to factor in the barriers that some designers and brands face in producing sustainable fashion and not singularly blaming them for fashion’s bad habits. For the larger disgustingly unethical and unsustainable brands who care more about their bottom line than people and our planet, well… it’s simple, adapt your business model or you won’t survive the next decade in fashion - businesses like ours will make sure of it!
For the smaller brands and designers, we understand the challenges of sustainability which is why we started Make Thread, it’s a movement. We also need to appreciate that fashion still isn’t accessible for consumers, so we need to ensure we educate without looking like we are an exclusive club just for sustainable people. We are in fact totally the opposite! We’re inclusive and want to welcome people making their first step into becoming more sustainably aware and conscious when making fashion purchases.
One of the taboos we're committed to erasing is #periodshame. Have you ever experienced this?
Gosh yeah! Our team are mostly women and all of us have our own stories which aren't unique that's for sure; from heavy period problems having to wear both a tampon and a pad, to having experienced a male stigma of PMT!
At &SISTERS we believe when we are united and supportive of one another, we can all do great things. Which Sister(s) do you admire and why?
We totally agree, it’s not about competing it’s about empowering our fellow sisters! There are so many women that we know personally, have heard about and aspire to; naming one is just too difficult for us! So here’s to all the sisters that make an impact no matter how small or big each day!
Finally, being a sister is a journey and one that teaches us many lessons in life. Looking back, if you could give your younger self/sister some words of advice, what would you say?
Strip away all the noise, materialist things, social pressures and listen to your inner self to find the purpose in life that fulfills you. Love life fiercely, be you, do it well and everyday take small steps to becoming your best version. Finally, remember to be kind along the way; to others, the environment and most importantly yourself.
Thank you for taking the time to talk to us Katie & Sarah! Browse their T-shirt collections here.
You can purchase the Limited Edition Statement Tee designed by Make Thread here. RRP: £45, £5 per T-shirt sale will be donated to eXXpedition - a non profit organisation that sends all-female voyages out to sea to tackle ocean plastic pollution.