Tuesday, 4 February 2014
2Inspire Network Business Profile: Yours Sustainably
In this 2Inspire Network Profile we meet Lynn and Jessica Ball, the mother and daughter team behind "Yours Sustainably" , an online store of ethically sourced, sustainable products from around the world. Read their inspirational story and learn how passion and drive can take you to the next level in all aspects of your life.
Please tell us what is a typical business day for you?
Every day is different as we are managing all aspects of the business ourselves at the moment. Jessica-I try to integrate my business role into my part time masters course in Fashion Futures at LCF so all my days are filled with an ongoing dialogue of how to communicate the message of sustainability more successfully to a wider audience, new trends in sustainability and making new contacts in different research and business areas. We are constantly on the look-out for new products and suppliers and ways to develop our business further. Lynn-I handle more of the day to day running of the business, order fulfilment etc and handle the social media side of things.
What made you start the business and how did you get started?
Jessica-At the time I was working and living in Cairo, Egypt and considering starting a business importing products from the Middle East into the UK. I decided to visit the trade fair Top Drawer to do some market research and it was there that myself and Lynn realised that we were both drawn to the products with the most interesting stories-those made with an innovative use of recycled or eco-friendly materials or made with local craft communities. Lynn-I had already registered the domain name Yours Sustainably so it seemed a natural decision to decide to work on developing a business together and combine our love of style, craft and the environment. Jessica-As I have a design background and Lynn has extensive craft skills we developed our brand idea together, and a planned trip to India for me to undertake a two month hand embroidery course presented an excellent opportunity to start sourcing some products.
What would you say has been your greatest accomplishment in the business world to date?
We hope that people appreciate our business ethos and aims of presenting a carefully curated selection of gift items that prove you don’t have to compromise your style for your ethics.
What has been your biggest challenge in business so far?
Definitely the biggest challenge is getting ourselves known as a business and getting people interested in visiting our site.
What are your future plans for the business?
We would love to develop our own products and continue to try and engage people creatively with the issues surrounding sustainability. It would be great to have a community of people who share our love of great design, fair trade principles and environmental conservation.
If you had to do it all over again, what would you do differently?
This is obviously something that we work on all the time but we would have taken the time to do more research on online business and the ways to connect with our customers.
Why is it so important to inspire young women in particular to follow their dreams?
For us women have the qualities that can really drive the message of sustainability forward, the creativity and empathy that can help change society and business for the better. Everyone should be given the opportunity to follow their dreams, but in order to discover them it is important to take time for self-reflection. Young women are given seemingly endless choices but it is important to decide what is truly important, and know that it is possible to create a business that fits the lifestyle and life balance that they want to achieve.
What advice would you give to somebody who wants to start a business in your industry?
Online retail is very competitive and constantly changing so it goes without saying that you have to been very adaptable, persistent and dedicated to your business!
What or who inspires you in business and why?
Jessica-I am constantly inspired by people I meet who are trying to work towards positive change with creativity and innovation. It feels very exciting to be part of what I hope is a new wave of business and research into ways to improve the planet and protect our future. I love being surrounded by people who are passionate about what they do, particularly women!
Lynn- the use of social media to engage and initiate change is a powerful tool which is increasingly being used by those with concerns for our environment and marginalised communities
What is your favourite inspirational quote?
There are so many but we love our adopted philosophy of 'happiness held is the seed, happiness shared is the flower.' (anonymous)