In 2020, 835,494 new small businesses registered in the UK. That’s a 41% increase from 2019. There are so many small businesses popping up, it is creating such a positive change to the high street, neighbourhoods, and actually having a positive impact for the planet, because these businesses care.
Löfte is one of these fantastic small businesses, founded by Daisy Harvey. Löfte is a marketplace for sustainable independent brands, and Daisy has done a fantastic job of curating such a beautiful collective of brands. And marketplaces like Löfte really help small brands to grow. Saywood can even be found on Löfte too.
What is the concept behind Löfte? What is the story behind the name?
Löfte is an online destination for small, sustainable brands. My mission is to prove that your style can, and should, be sustainable; that you don’t have to compromise on either your individual style or your ethics.
My personal style is influenced by Scandinavia and the word ‘löfte’ means promise in Swedish. At Löfte we promise that every brand has been carefully chosen for both their designs and their commitment to sustainability.
What is your background? Why did you decide to start the business?
I’ve always worked in fashion, most recently in merchandising. A few years ago I started to become more aware about the harmful effects of the fashion industry on the environment and workers in the supply chain. I started to research more and was really conflicted, because I loved the creativity and the positive influence that fashion has, but didn’t want to be supporting brands that were harming the environment or underpaying their workers.
I made a commitment to start only buying from sustainable brands, and started discovering amazing small brands. I really wished there was a website where I could shop them all in one place. Then I thought, maybe I could create that? I launched a successful crowdfunder and that’s how Löfte was born!
Löfte is a sustainable marketplace for small brands. What does sustainability mean to you?
Sustainability for me is two fold: it’s about people and the planet. Workers must be fairly paid and work in good conditions. It’s also about minimising your impact on the environment and trying to have a positive impact. This encompasses a vast range of solutions: from carefully choosing the fabrics and how they are sourced, to considering packaging and transport.
You have brought on board lots of sustainable brands, each with their own style and sustainable values. How have you decided which brands to work with? What are the different sustainable elements that you look at to choose the brand you bring on board to Lofte?
Ensuring fair pay and good working conditions is an absolute must. Then it is all about transparency. When talking to potential brands about their sustainable practices, it becomes clear quite quickly if it is something that is truly important to them, because they will want to talk about it and explain all the the amazing ways that they are trying to be as sustainable as possible. We’ll discuss why they have chosen different fabrics, how they are created and sourced, how they offset their carbon footprint and what their goals are for the future.
Starting a business, you have to learn so many things you didn’t know before. You have to play the part of every role in a company. What were your biggest challenges starting Lofte?
Oh wow, I totally agree about all the different roles! I think one of the biggest challenges is becoming OK with the fact that you don’t know everything and that you are going to make mistakes and learn along the way. For me it has also been a challenge to ensure I am not burning myself out and that I prioritise looking after myself so that I always have the energy for what’s next. Another challenge is always believing that it will all work out and keeping focused on the bigger picture and vision.
You recently did a blog post on ‘greenwashing’ in fashion. Tell us more about this and what drove you to write about it? What should we look out for?
I think people are becoming more and more aware of greenwashing but it can be hard to know what to look out for, so I wrote this blog post as a quick guide to spotting it. It can be frustrating to see greenwashing from big companies, because a huge part of my job is working with and supporting small, sustainable brands who put so much effort into ensuring they are minimising their environmental impact. So then when big companies try to steal some of the share of the sustainable fashion market, it’s really disheartening.
My top tips would be to look out for facts not just vague statements. Also look for certifications, for example B Corp status, Fair Trade and Standard 100 OEKO-TEX.
Sustainability is also about ensuring fair pay so check that brands are paying a fair wage too. You can do this easily by using fashionchecker.org to see if the people who make their clothes earn enough to live on.
Why do you want to promote sustainable brands? Why do you think fashion needs to move toward sustainability?
As we’ve seen following COP26, the future of our planet is hanging in the balance. We need to make big changes fast if we want to protect our planet, and the fashion industry has a lot to answer for. The fashion industry was responsible for 4% of total greenhouse emissions in 2018. This is comparable to the combined emissions of France, Germany and the UK.
So in order to keep the fashion industry alive in a sustainable way, we need to drive real change. By supporting and buying from sustainable brands, we are demanding as consumers the change that we want to see.
You donate 20% of your profits to eco conscious charities. What is your current chosen charity and why?
At the moment we are donating to Friends of the Earth. They are part of an international community dedicated to protecting the natural world and the wellbeing of everyone in it. They lead campaigns, provide resources and information, and drive real solutions to the environmental problems facing us all.
What is the next step for Löfte?
We are part of a Sustainable Concept Store on Oxford Street over Christmas from 26th Nov until 27th Jan! Next year we will be launching many more brands and continuing to host more pop ups as we grow. We even have a TV ad launching in March, so look out for that too! We are also hosting lots of events to promote awareness around self care and sustainability. Follow us on Instagram or sign up to our newsletter to follow our journey!
Be sure to check out Löfte online, and look out for their pop up stores so you can shop their wonderful brands in person.