If you follow us on social media, you’ve probably heard that ecoHaven is 10 years old! This big birthday occasion gave me a good excuse to interview Kirstan Long, the lovely manager and owner of ecoHaven. We got talking about how ecoHaven has evolved over time and about her love of sustainable fashion.
Can you describe ecoHaven in 3 words?
Beautiful, ethical, sustainable. I know I'm cheating a bit because that's the tag line for ecoHaven, but I couldn't sum it up any other way.
How has ecoHaven evolved as a business over time?
My husband Joss and I have owned ecoHaven for seven years now and ecoHaven has changed dramatically since I first took it on. We started out as a warehouse-style shop where we stocked everything under the sun that was ethical or sustainable. We tried to be all things eco to everybody but over time I've found my passion for sustainable fashion and have pared ecoHaven back to a small and lovely little boutique which focuses on ethical, slow and sustainable fashion.
Why sustainable fashion?
Everyone wears clothes and sustainable fashion has been an easy way to get people interested. Some customers buy our products because they are beautiful and comfortable (not just because they're sustainable) and it's been a really lovely opportunity to start those sustainability conversations with people who might not otherwise be thinking that way. It's also been exciting watching sustainable fashion evolve over the last seven years. Initially sustainable fashion was quite a fringe concept and if you wanted to dress sustainably, your options were very limited. Now there are so many gorgeous sustainable options and it's exciting to be a part of this change.
What is the biggest challenge of running your own business?
Balancing it all is the biggest challenge, particularly with a young family. When I first took this business on, my youngest was only one and I used to joke that ecoHaven was my third baby. In a way it still is. Sometimes I feel like I'm not doing anything properly: I'm not running the shop properly, I'm not doing the mum-thing properly and I have guilt in every direction. However, having the right people around me has been fantastic and life has a way of sorting itself out. My husband Joss helps out a lot with the kids and gives me business guidance and support (he's the director of 4 Business and Community so he's been a great resource) and I'm very lucky to have an amazing team of employees who all bring their own skills, passion and enthusiasm and help me out immensely.
What do you love most about ecoHaven?
I love choosing new products and getting excited about new design and fabric. Watching the evolution of sustainable fashion is really exciting but I also enjoy the interaction with customers. It feels like we’ve slowly built a little community around us and we’re lucky to have so many wonderful people that support us.
Do you have any future plans for ecoHaven?
Yes! EcoHaven is going to be launching its own label featuring some beautiful basics for every day, for example some lovely organic cotton t-shirts. We hope to get these pieces on the shelves from late September to early October and we’re very excited to share them with our customers soon.