Adriana Herrera is the founder and CEO of Fashioning Change, a different kind of eco shopping experience. Of course there are a (growing) number of ethical and socially responsible brands represented in her store, and naturally, the purchase process is seamless, but Adriana has taken her online store to the next level: she's looking to help women solve their life's challenges (some of which certainly start with what to wear and who to buy it from, and some of which are larger than sartorial).
I wanted to know what makes this ecopreneur tick, and where she finds her ideas.
MNN: Why did you start Fashioning Change? What was your inspiration?
Adriana Herrera: I grew up with a unique lens on making purchases. My father grew up in Juarez, Mexico, a city that many consumer goods companies outsource to. He had friends and family that worked in many of the factories and knew what it meant for the people and the community to purchase one brand over the other. In order for me and my brothers to make a purchase as children, we had three rules that we had to abide by: (1) We couldn’t buy anything made in Asia, (2) We weren't allowed to buy clothing made of synthetic materials, and (3) We weren't allowed to wear dark clothing because my dad believes that children are the light of the world. From my early years, I was always thinking about where something came from, how it was made, who it was made by, and under what conditions.
Through this and my experience co-founding an eco handbag company, I recognized a significant problem: talented designers who were also passionate about socially responsible manufacturing were having difficulties reaching the consumer. To solve the larger problem of connecting shoppers with well-made, great looking, authentically socially responsible brands, I decided to leverage emerging technology to build a platform that connects shoppers with brands that do fashion better.f
How did you come up with the 'Wear This, Not That' idea?
There's a long story there. Basically, living my life with such a specific lens that questioned where products came from and how they were made, I got a lot of questions like: "Well, I like this brand. What would be an alternative that's better?" In addition, at Fashioning Change, we were getting a lot of questions from people asking what "better" alternative was out there for them based on what they know and like. When I started truly listening to this data point, I realized we should build it. From concept to launch, it was only about three weeks and Wear This, Not That was born as a resource to answer that question over and over again.
What has the response been?
We get traffic from around the world and we are constantly growing month over month. Wear This, Not That has really given people an answer to what they have been looking for. The question of: "If I like this, what do I have available?" has a continuous flow of shop-able answers in our catalog. Pairing one of our brand's styles side by side against a mainstream brand really puts the fashion details in the forefront before the CSR details. This makes fashion the carrot for people to notice and gives shoppers an attractive point of engagement to then dive into the other information surrounding the incredible stories behind our brands' supply chains. On average, we save people 27.07 percent across markets when people pick our option over the mainstream, across markets. And that's yet another reason why people are really seeing the value in our Wear This, Not Thats.
How would you describe your personal style?
I wake up in the morning and I ask myself "what mood am I in today"? A lot of the time, I think: "I'm the CEO of a company in a male-dominated industry," which shifts the lens I have on my style. This forces me to tone down my personal mood/style to something that doesn't distract people from what I have to say. But overall, my style loves are a merging between Mexican culture (bright colors and embroidery), an island-inspired girlie aesthetic, and active comfortable pieces that allow me to be able to "play in the sunshine". :)
Outside of fashion, what are your passions?
Cooking! I love to cook. Also, my passions are spending time with my family, pretending I have time to surf or do Muay Thai, hiking, and going to Bikram's or Zumba with my Mom.