Looking back at 2020...
2020 has been an interesting year, not only its the third year we exist but its also been the year of COVID-19. As a team, we've decided to answer a few questions to give you an insight of how this year has been from our side.
Claudia - Founder & CEO
But first meet the team!
Katharina - Operations/E-Commerce Manager
Djoeke - Operations/E-Commerce Intern
Valeria - Marketing Intern
Romane - Marketing Assistant (part-time)
How has the company developed this year?
C: This has been a tremendous year of growth for thegreenlabels, in all aspects. My main focus was to grow the team. As a solo founder, I find it sometimes a heavy responsibility to be the only one where all rely on. I was very excited to be able financially to hire thegreenlabels’ first employee: our operation manager, Katharina! Further growing the team from 2 to 4,5 FTE in a year has definitely helped to give a more stable base to build on.
We’ve also completely redesigned the e-commerce pages of the website, which accompanied the growth in categories we now offer. Being initially known for sustainable & ethical fashion, this year we also developed our beauty, underwear & activewear category. Extending those categories has been possible using a drop shipment system, which was also a huge development of the year led by Katharina.
Is the increasing interest for sustainable fashion reflecting the company trends? How?
K: For sure! We hit records for most people using the website and most sales in a month this year. We also started to receive emails from a lot of new labels who wanted to collaborate. That shows great signs of growth of the industry. Some you can see on the site today and more is to come :)
D: I definitely have! Even in my own circle, I notice people wearing the brands we sell or asking questions about materials and ethics. I also started seeing more people in the streets wearing more sustainable brands.
V: Our continuous growth on social media is a clear indication that people are more and more interested in sustainable solutions to regular fashion. Not only, but they are also increasingly savvy and investigative! They ask questions, and if they do not agree they speak up. This is what I love the most about our audience. Finally, more and more sustainable influencers are popping up, so gladly more collaborators for us to work with!
Overall, what was the most exciting moment at the company?
K: For me the most exciting was the Carefully Curated pop-up in the summer here in Amsterdam and starting my new position as Operations Manager. Seeing thegreenlabels team grow was really cool!
D: There are lots of exciting moments in the thegreenlabels office. When new season items come in, the events (even though a little less this year), the photoshoots, and breakthroughs in projects are always exciting moments.
V: I have joined the company in quite peculiar times. Nevertheless, I was so lucky I had the chance to assist an exciting photoshoot in October at an indoor location in Amsterdam Noord. It was crazy to see how great the pictures turned out to be as the result of the hard team-work of the whole crew.
R: The most exciting moments for me at thegreenlabels were the photoshoots & the installation of the Summer Pop-Up. Being behind a computer can sometimes make you disconnect from what you are really achieving as a company, and those events are a good reminder to see it evolving in a real context.
CARE//FULLY CURATED POP-UP 2020 in Amsterdam
And the most challenging times?
C: Covid-19 has of course had an impact on the company. Luckily not having a physical store we have little overhead costs, and I am glad for that. Nevertheless, we had planned 3 months of popup and were eventually able to execute only one! Despite those challenging times, the team has proven to be very flexible and adaptive and we managed to keep our motivation high and execute amazing things in those challenging times!
K: I moved to Amsterdam in February which means my time in this lovely city was very different from “normal”. Not being able to see friends and family must have been the hardest.
D: Of course, a lot (and I mean a lot) has happened this year that we did not expect. I think besides COVID, there were several other societal issues that were of great importance that we were confronted with extra in 2020. That, combined with being stuck at home, definitely made this year tough.
V: Again, COVID brought in challenges, especially on the psychological side. But let’s look at the good, and that luckily none of my beloved ones got infected or had complications. And that’s the most important thing these days!
R: I guess it won’t be a surprise if I am mentioning the outbreak of COVID-19 in march 2020. As it was quite unexpected, we all had these personal and professional moments where we wonder: What’s gonna happen now?
What about the greenest moment?
C: I would definitively mention the Green Friday campaign! We partnered up with Retailers and brands such as Decathlon, Dille & Kamille, and The green beauty market. Where we didn’t offer any discount for Black Friday as a pledge against overconsumption while planting 103 trees. We also engaged with our followers to plant trees on their behalf!
Talking about COVID... how did thegreenlabels cope with it?
K: thegreenlabels had the advantage of being an online shop with a small team this year. We were able to change everything in a day when restrictions in central Europe came to place overnight. We went to home office in March and found new ways to work remotely. Slack became like a best friend as any startup people must know. We set up an office calendar so each of us visited the office on their day and shipped orders to customers. This way we could socially distance but still got to fulfill the orders. We have been grateful for these days out of the house even though we saw other team members mostly on a screen. I am proud how the team could cope with the crisis and support each other to take a break when needed. Some days working from home are more difficult and then it’s okay to take an afternoon walk. We were also able to keep up with “Inspiring sessions” where professionals from different industries come to talk about their career and life to all of the team, which helped keep spirits up and motivation high!
CARE//FULLY CURATED POP-UP 2020 in Amsterdam
What was the proudest moment working at thegreenlabels?
K: Getting hired is a big one definitely! Next to that having some projects I started from scratch become everyday life of the company is quite cool. Marketplace and thegreenclub are some of those.
D: Doing everything for the first time as a new employee, makes little victory feel like a small win. Launching thegreenclub is one of the bigger moments in my time at thegreenlabels that I am quite proud of.
V: As I work quite in direct contact with customers/stakeholders, I find it quite cool when you get to understand your audience’s needs and requests and eventually fulfill them. In general, I’m very proud about investing my time at a company whose values I strongly share.
R: I don’t have a big “proud moment”, but many small ones. At thegreenlabels, we are always pushed to try new things, and every time it’s working, it’s a proud moment. Also, it does make me proud to see thegreenlabels growing daily, and taking part in that growth at quite an early stage.
What did you learn at thegreenlabels?
K: This year I learned that I can work remotely which includes a huge amount of motivation and discipline I didn't know I had. Most I probably learned about the fashion industry and all its problems and the different solutions to those problems. The bottom line is still I’m more inspired about the change than ever!
D: As thegreenlabels is a small company, you are involved in every part of the business. I learned a lot about that, but I think some of the most interesting things I learned was during a deep dive in sustainable fashion and beauty I did this year while working on the redesign of the sustainability page (coming soon!).
V: Honestly? Too much to tell! On the business side, the learning curve is always positive as we keep testing new features. On the personal one, being involved in many tasks simultaneously definitely helped me improve my time management skills.
R: Too many things to list here, Ahah. But, mainly that it’s worth taking part in the change of our current fashion industry to make it more respectful not only for the environment but also to the people this system is abusing.
Your absolute favorite piece of clothing or item 2020?
C: Embassy coats are still and will remain some of my favorite pieces. I owe the Lyndon pale olive myself and have worn it for 3 winters already. The cost per wear must be close to 30 cents per wear! I also adore my Mireia Playa Gabriela boots. I am very impressed with how Faux-leather evolved with time and looks really like leather.
K: I love love love the Girlfriend Collective activewear. I have one set that I would live in if I could! Actually, this year I can, which is kind of wonderful.
V: The beige litta cardigan has been my absolute crush since day one! It’s such an easy, neutral, transeasonal piece, perfect for your capsule wardrobe.
R: I will go with a basic, the Venturi White Natural by Veja. An essential, comfy & classic sneakers to wander around Amsterdam. But to be honest, the list goes on and on.
Photoshoot AW2020, Amsterdam
Finally, looking forward to 2021…
What are the big plans for the company?
C: In those uncertain times, I find it difficult to make long term plans. Nevertheless, they are absolutely needed to set goals and objectives and work towards them.
Next year we are rolling out a completely new sustainability framework, which implied some work in 2019 where we redefined our company and curation values. We are improving the way we track & compensate our impact and will communicate better about it on the website & on social media.
We want to continue innovating on the content we are offering via our social media channels, for that reason we are now welcoming a new intern position specialized in content creation. We think it is key to our identity but also essential to define. We are hoping to be able to host more CARE//FULLY CURATED POP-UP next year together with amazing other ethical & sustainable brands.
And finally, we are looking into new ways to finance our growth so we can have more green labels join us on our journey and have a bigger impact!