Thanks to Julie Brockmeyer Stine for this interview, she is one half of the design team at Koru Swimwear.
1.Tell us a bit about Koru Swimwear's story?
Koru Swimwear began with an idea to provide eco-friendly swimwear for women who seek quality, function, fashion-forward trends, and a sense of environmental responsibility.
Designers, Julie Brockmeyer Stine and April Slater , wanted to incorporate eco-friendly fabrics and responsible textile manufacturing processes to swimwear for both sport and leisure.
Julie Brockmeyer Stine drew inspiration from her New Zealand roots to create the Koru Swimwear brand. Because New Zealand is considered to be one of the most environmentally responsible countries on the planet, everything that goes into the production of this line is with an eco-minded approach - from the recycled hangtags, to the organic cotton accessory bags they come in, and, of course, to the production of the fabric.
Julie has a B.A. degree and studied advertising, marketing and public relations at the University of Central Florida. Her love of surfing and fashion influenced her to design sport swimwear that was both functional and fashionable.
April Slater was a professional ice skater for Disney on Ice and draws her inspiration of fashionable leisure swimwear from her love of the ocean and the years of creativity in custom skate costumes.
The koru is a spiral unfurling fern frond which takes its shape from a stalk to a bulb at the end. The koru is widely used in Maori Arts and can symbolize new and evolving life, new beginnings, spiritual growith, strength, peace and harmony.
2. Where do you see sustainability factoring in to your work?
We only use recycled nylon in our swimwear that is derived from items such as discarded fishing nets pulled from our oceans and discarded carpet fluff bound for landfills.
All of our beachwear is made only from organic cottons and or sustainable sources such as the hemp plant that is made into beautiful hemp linen fabric perfect for the beach.
We do NOT use any foam in any of our swimwear, but we have been researching products that are an eco-friendly alternative.
3. Tell us specifically about what office initiatives you have undertaken to minimise your carbon footprint and maximise the well-being of your clients and staff?
We are a very small company at this time, but it is important we recycle as much as possible including shipping boxes that we reuse for our shipping.
Although we do have to provide physical copies of our catalogue to our clients and potential clients, we like to reduce the use of using paper by offering our catalogue online in a PDF format where orders can be filled-out online and e-mailed back to us.
We also do a lot of printing in-house and send our print cartridges back to the manufacturers for recycling.
4. What obstacles, if any, have you faced in your journey?
We are constantly trying to find more environmentally friendly materials without sacrificing quality and it is important we know exactly where are product is being manufactured and what practices they’re using to make our fabric and assemble our products. We know there’s always going to be a footprint left in any manufacturing process, but it’s important we do whatever it takes to reduce that footprint and make efforts to give back with charitable giving to environmental organizations. We are a member of 1% for the Planet and a supporter for Healthy Seas . We feel all manufactures should hop on the bandwagon of charitable giving.
5. What inspires you to lead a life, and a business that is better for the planet?
I have always loved water sports and have been concerned with keeping our oceans and other waterways clean, so that I, and everyone else, can enjoy the environment we love to play in. I always knew that if I started a business, it would be one that gives back and set a good example to other companies and consumers in general. It’s not only a more ethical way of doing business, it’s good marketing sense.
6. Do you have a message, or a final tip you would like to share with our 1 Million Women community about living a more sustainable lifestyle?
As human beings, we will always directly and indirectly produce a carbon footprint on this earth. We are consumers by nature, but we’ve grown accustomed to be wasteful by habit. So many people feel that what little they can do won’t put a dent in the big picture…but it does…collectively. Attitudes and ways of thinking must change. Environmental consciousness is a way of life; not doing one good deed. It’s great people try to make a difference by taking part in an annual beach clean-up for example, but if we all just picked-up two pieces of trash from the beach (one in each hand) every time we go, that will make an even bigger difference.
Find out more about Koru Swimwear at their website .
We're highlighting sustainable businesses and Eco-office tips all throughout February - check out these posts...
- -Green jobs for the girls! A guest post by Romilly Madew
- -How to green your workplace
- -DIY all-purpose 3 ingredient cleaner for your workplace
And don't forget to take part in our monthly photo a day challenge, this month's theme is (you guessed it) sustainable workplace. You can inform, inspire and motivate each other with your amazing sustainable photos and there are great prizes to be won! Play photo a day by clicking here .