Everything at Fauve, from design to market, is guided by the vision – a life lived in harmonious balance with nature – for themselves and for future generations. Each piece is thoughtfully designed and made, in Melbourne, according to the highest ethical and ecological standards.
The Passion: What inspired you to set up your business?
I became a mum! And as my daughter grew, it became increasingly difficult to find clothing for her that was ethically and sustainably produced which I liked. My aesthetic is very unfussy. No prints or frilly bits, just allow the beauty of the raw materials to shine through. That’s my design philosophy in a nutshell. I come from a very environmentally-conscious family. I’ve always been a greeny at heart, but when I had my daughter and started researching the origins of all the products we have in our homes. I was shocked. The more I learnt, the more I was horrified at the extent of human suffering and environmental destruction. As consumers, we are unwittingly contributing to every time we buy something without knowing where it comes from or how its made. I knew I wanted to contribute to efforts being made around the world. I wanted to help create a new paradigm. I want to bring greater awareness to towards zero-waste living, circular economies and sustainable fashion. Given my background in clothing design and the fact that I was already making clothes for my daughter, children’s wear was a logical place to start. And to be perfectly honest, I was curious to see if I could implement a business model with a triple bottom line right from day one.
To make simple clothes that ignore trends and focus instead on creating timeless pieces that can be worn all year round. That’s foundational. I strive to ensure every aspect of a Fauve garment has longevity designed into it. From the fabric to the cut and fit so that it will last many years. So it can be handed on from one child to another. Though the initial price-tag may seem high, the actual cost-per-wear is significantly less than any fast fashion brands can offer. That’s a really important message I wish was more widely known; You wind up spending more when you’re constantly replacing cheaply made clothing. It’s a landfill-creating false-economy.
The Launch: How did you start out in the beginning?
This is it! It has taken almost three years to get to this point where I can present my range, confident that it is 100% sustainable, ethical and quality-tested. And that’s because it is challenging, currently, to source materials, produce a garment and deliver it to market without compromising on any of those standards and without drowning in financial debt! Because I chose to invest in local production and certified sustainable textiles right from the outset, I don’t have the budget for trade shows, a custom website or any of those traditional avenues for brand visibility. I started with a simple template webstore. I worked with my talented friend Ebony Lamb Photographer, to create the first images. And social media is a crucial component, though I’m still a novice at it! I understand that it’s going to take time to grow organically and I’m ok with that.
The innovation: What was the biggest breakthrough for you with your business?
My most significant breakthrough so far has been realising I didn’t have to do it a certain way just because that’s the way it’s always been done. I can forge my path and measure success by my metrics. Embracing failure as a teacher! Oh, and finding the best maker in Melbourne to manufacture each garment to the highest standard, as well as being a joy to work with, those relationships are fundamental to achieving this dream.
Yin and Yang: How do you balance work and family?
Well, I prioritise family, in the broadest sense of that word. I decided early on that no business is worth sacrificing joy for. If it takes me away from what I love, then I’m going to change tack. I’d gone down the road of trying to do everything before – motherhood and work – and it wasn’t good for the health and wellbeing of me or my family. So, this time, I permitted myself to go at a pace that works for us, no matter what. I can live with being a failure in business, but I would always regret failing as a mum. I’ve come to that after a lot of personal reflection and conversations with my mum friends over the years. I know my limits in terms of the amount of pressure I can accommodate, and I’ve made peace with that. I appreciate that I’m privileged to be able to make that choice, difficult as it is to make. Everyone’s different, of course, but I think it’s a question every mother who seeks other kinds of fulfilment, and financial independence, grapples with at some point. It’s easier now that Georgia (my daughter) has started school and there’s a natural compartmentalisation of time that comes with this new season.