In a world where fashion is often synonymous with exclusivity and extravagance, THEIA BRAND emerges as a breath of fresh air, driven by a mission to make luxury and sustainability accessible to all. The journey of THEIA BRAND's founder, rooted in a small town but driven by immense creativity and determination, has led to the creation of a fashion brand that defies conventions. In this interview, we dive deep into the founder's personal journey, the brand's unwavering commitment to inclusivity and sustainability, and its vision for transforming the fashion industry. Prepare to be inspired as we explore the unique story and values behind THEIA BRAND.
Can you tell us about your journey and what inspired you to start THEIA BRAND?
I grew up in a small town called Warwick. I have always been interested in Fashion, Arts and being creative but with small-town syndrome ahead of me, I knew I had to create my own opportunities. I spent 7 years travelling to and from high street and luxury fashion stores in and around the West Midlands and Oxfordshire to be able to find my place somewhere. I always had an itch to create something of my own but I was too scared and full of self-doubt. In early 2022, I decided to say 'f*ck it' and I created THEIA. I knew that the worst that could happen was that it didn't work, so what did I have to lose?
THEIA BRAND emphasises inclusivity. How did you recognise the need for more inclusive streetwear, and how does the brand address this gap?
The fashion industry is notorious for the very obvious and almost non-existent take on size inclusivity. Pre-covid, I was tiny and didn't really notice the gap due to everything always fitting me. It wasn't until I went through some health challenges during and after covid which caused weight gain and the lack of size inclusivity really hit me like a ton of bricks. Going from someone who could fit in anything to not being able to see myself through the models shown on websites was very humbling. I knew something had to change. Various streetwear brands love to have an extended size range, which is great but if you do not show those models that fit the extended sizes on your platforms, what is the point? That's why at THEIA. It's a non-negotiable to showcase every body.
Sustainability is a core value of THEIA BRAND. Could you share more about the brand's commitment to sustainability and how it's integrated into your production processes?
Absolutely. When creating the brand, I wrote down a list of my values that I knew the brand needed to 'grow up with.' Sustainability being one of them. Admittedly, it's a difficult process but I knew that like size inclusivity, it was something that I wanted to introduce to the brand straight away. We use a family-owned manufacturer overseas rather than a big corporate chain. I love working with people who share the same passion for my brand and values. We are committed to having the least amount of material waste possible, our packaging is 100% compostable and/or recyclable. Even our stickers are 100% bio-degradable. We only purchase what we need to ensure that we're not overstocking.
THEIA BRAND partners with carbon removal companies. Can you explain how this partnership works and the impact it has had on reducing the brand's carbon footprint?
'Many companies with large carbon footprints are committing to becoming net zero or carbon negative. To reach those goals, it’s important to invest now to ensure that carbon removal credits become less scarce and more affordable as the technologies scale. Shopify is committed to kickstarting the carbon removal market to enable more companies to reach their goals.' (https://www.shopify.com/blog/carbon-removal) I knew that at THEIA, whilst the brand is still young, we needed to take action straight away and be part of the change. Rather than waiting for our carbon footprint to build over the years to then try and reverse it, it makes more sense to start now and commit to doing whatever we can to support the change. In particular, THEIA only ships with one courier - Royal Mail. Royal Mail has the lowest reported carbon footprint per delivery. Their 'unique ‘feet on the street’ delivery model significantly contributes to keeping our emissions low when compared to their competitors. Over half of their parcel delivery routes are wholly or partially on foot, while 21% of our delivery routes are now zero emission.' (https://www.royalmail.com/sustainability)
What specific steps does THEIA BRAND take to ensure responsible material sourcing and eco-friendly manufacturing techniques?
When vetting manufacturers, THEIA had specific requirements that needed to be met to ensure sustainable and ethical behaviours within the manufacturing process of THEIA product. We are happy that we managed to find a manufacturer early on that met these requirements and also had certifications and partnerships that aligned with the brand's mission.
Could you tell us about some of the challenges you faced while building a sustainable fashion brand, and how you overcame them?
It took a long time to find a manufacturer that had a low enough MOQ (minimum order quantity) but that also had sustainability at the forefront of their minds. It was a terribly long vetting process but it worked out in the end. A year later, we still work with the same manufacturer we started off with.
THEIA BRAND's packaging is compostable and plastic-free. How important is sustainable packaging to the brand's overall mission?
Consistency is key. Our first order was sent out in compostable packaging. Our millionth order will be too. Sustainability is part of the customer journey from start to finish. Falling short at packaging was definitely not going to happen.
How do you envision THEIA BRAND contributing to the fashion industry's shift towards sustainability and eco-consciousness?
Some examples are publishing sustainability reports that are loud and proud yet transparent and partnering with sustainable fashion bloggers / influencers to further educate consumers on the importance of being eco-conscious in the industry.
Let's talk about THEIA BRAND's product collections. What inspired the designs and styles of the Tops, Hoodies, and Bottoms?
THEIA's style and design is inspired by what I want to see in my wardrobe. The goal is to create a full wardrobe that is THEIA head-to-toe so consumers can dress in style that has a consistent high level of quality without breaking the bank. THEIA products are created to be worn again and again and again.
Could you highlight a few standout pieces from your collections, and what makes them special to THEIA BRAND?
We recently dropped a new tee within our first main collection of the brand (with THEIA BASE, acting as an essentials range) called Infancia. Infancia means childhood in Portuguese. The collection will sport lilac and pink accents which mirror my childhood bedroom. I decided to create collections based on my paths of growing up to ensure a personal connection throughout the brand. THEIA is me. I am THEIA.
What role do limited-edition items play in THEIA BRAND's strategy, and how do they contribute to the brand's uniqueness?
Limited Edition pieces create a buzz due to a lower quantity of products made. The limited edition pieces are born from our bestsellers in the next most asked for colour. Like the Vintage Base Set. We already know our customers love the fit and styles so what better than to have it in a gorgeous new colour too? We know that playing with bright colours can sometimes be a challenge, this is why we choose our quantity very carefully to ensure we do not waste/overstock. My own wardrobe does not hold a lot of colour so it didn't make sense to completely go all out but it is always nice to have a choice. Shock Pink did really well and really is a staple colour to the brand which my own favourite colour being pink.
THEIA BRAND offers both regular and sale prices. Can you share your approach to pricing and how it aligns with your brand's mission?
Absolutely. THEIA's price point is priced very carefully. We want our customers to be able to shop luxury without the luxury price tag. We offer various discounts every few months but we made the decision to offer an end of season sale which happens during summer to help sell the sizes that are leftover before we bring something new out. We're super pleased to say that we can nearly count on one hand the amount of pieces we have per colour/type for the base sets which is amazing for our first products.
Looking ahead, what are some of your long-term goals and aspirations for THEIA BRAND?
The main goal for THEIA is community building. All babes are THEIA babes is what I like to say and we want to build a community full of THEIA Babes who value our mission the same way we do, so we can create change together.
Lastly, what advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs who want to start a sustainable fashion brand of their own?
Don't give up. It is hard. It is difficult. But there is nothing more rewarding than being able to 1. wear your own designs and 2. see other people in the street wearing your designs. It never gets old. Sometimes my best friend and I show up in the exact same outfit and it'll never stop being funny. Surround yourself who love you and your mission but don't be afraid to shut the door on those who don't.
As we conclude this enlightening conversation with THEIA BRAND's founder, it's clear that their passion for fashion, inclusivity, and sustainability is driving a movement toward a more equitable and eco-conscious industry. THEIA BRAND stands as a shining example of what's possible when creativity and determination unite to create change. To be a part of this transformative journey and explore their remarkable collection, visit THEIA BRAND's website here. Join the community of THEIA Babes and embrace affordable luxury, inclusivity, and sustainability in every stitch. The future of fashion is here, and it's as vibrant and diverse as the world it serves.