So you are passionate about sustainability (Sustainability meeting the needs of the present without compromising future generations. The three pillars include economic, environmental and social.) and you want to do more to get the word out about the cause but you don’t know where to begin?
You will want to start with the three R’s: Relationships, Research and Respect.
If you want to find ways to weave sustainability into your current business plan it starts with cultivating the right relationships. The saying is true, it’s all about relationships! For some instructors this may be outside of your comfort zone but it’s actually more simple than you might think. Apply the same skill sets you have as a teacher to start building your partnerships. Make sure to keep these pointers in mind:
- Be personable
- Be authentic
- Be open
Jaclyn Tracy founder of SISTAIN says she is looking to work with someone it has to make sense. “When it comes to influencers, the first step is making sure the influencers are truly aligned with our brand vision, values, and standards. We prefer to customize programs for each unique influencer and we also look to build long-term relationships with them, rather than executing one-off projects.” explains Tracy.
This same sentiment is echoed by Tamara Laine the Chief Content Officer and founding member of A.Lynn. “We value partnership opportunities that raise awareness of important issues. Missions always have to be aligned when partnering with us as a clean and sustainable brand.” shares Laine.
When you are seeking brands to work with, make sure you have a clear understanding of what they stand for and what they have to offer. It’s vital that you are familiar with the brand's story before reaching out. Alynn Designs focuses on luxury basics offering a new size scale that fits 95% of bodies. Information like this is very specific, being able to connect with a brand on such a personable level will build a strong foundation.
Most often than not sustainable brands tend to have a deeply rooted passion for the cause that is usually tied to a personal story. Jaclyn says “Success to me is in the collective impact, getting a whole group of people to change their behavior by committing to choosing sustainable brands, less waste, and imperfect progress. The only way we can achieve this is by making sustainable consumerism not only easier, but aspirational.”
Knowing why brands have chosen this path, why they give back to certain organizations, or partner with specific individuals will only set yourself up for success and an opportunity to make a greater impact.
Now let's tie it all together. Once you have created the relationship and done the research (they can go in either order) it’s important to be respectful of the brands that you have partnered with. What does that mean exactly? Aim at asking a multitude of questions to make sure you are always on the same page when it comes to the brand's voice. Whether it’s a short project or long-term agreement you want to respect the brands you are working with and their messaging circled around sustainability.
Most importantly, don’t overthink the process however remember to have a set plan and allow the relationships to grow. Avoid entering the partnership with an immediate ask but more so how you can support each other. Don't forget you are supporting a good cause.