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Sam Leigh

CITY: MELBOURNE

Business: ecomono

What? Online store selling sustainable fashion brands
from Australia, disrupting mass market fashion.

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How did the idea for your business first come about?
In 2015 I started a fashion blog but quickly realised the industry did not align with my personal values. I made the decision to focus on sustainable fashion, that is stylish and affordable. I spent a lot of my time advising my readers where to shop and why, as well as offering style advice. Adding the online store felt like a natural progression.

When did you have a ‘f*ck-it moment’ and decide you were going to go all-in and start your business?
I was made redundant from my full time job working in the corporate events world. The next few months following the redundancy I dedicated some time to thinking about what I really wanted to do, what am I passionate about and how can I make that my job?

What were some major challenges you had when starting your business? And how did you overcome them?
One of the biggest issues when it comes to launching a sustainable business, is there is no specific, quantifiable guideline that everyone can follow to what constitutes a sustainable business. Therefore, eco.mono has 10 sustainable and ethical values for our customers to follow.

What has been your biggest “pinch me” moment?
As a fairly new business, I am yet to have a real "Pinch Me" moment. However, one morning I woke up to find I'd already had 2,000 website visits as the hosts from the documentary "The Minimalists" had shared one of my blogs. I was very overwhelmed!

Starting a business can be gruelling - what keeps you motivated, and keeps you going?
The idea that I am contributing to disrupting mass market fashion is a huge motivator for me. Having a platform to offer an alternative to fast fashion that is both stylish and affordable, as well as allowing customers to learn about the people that make our products, so they can make an educated purchase.

How do you create a work-life balance?
Is there such a thing? I need to improve my work-life balance, but working part-time and running a business means I spend a lot of my evenings and weekend working. However, one thing I have put a stop to is answering emails over the weekend. I can "do work" but not emails. They can wait.