Lucy Pink, founder of the ethical fashion app OnYou, said talking to her clients was a huge trust factor in the early days of her business.
All Lucy Pink wanted was to find a place to buy clothes online, where she could be sure the items weren’t made in a pimp.
But after finding nothing that could help her the way she wanted, she decided to create a solution on her own.
Pink founded OnYou, an online marketplace that makes it easy to discover and purchase ethically produced fashion.
OnYou’s goal is to remind consumers where their clothes come from and show them there are options outside of fast fashion supply chains, Pink said.
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“Companies have made us feel very comfortable buying products that harm people and planets,” he said.
“We are completely disconnected from the reality of production.
“I think consumers have been lulled into a false sense of security that our clothes come from happy factories, when the reality is that they come from elsewhere.
OnYou started as a side project in 2019.
A first piece of advice he received was to go talk to potential customers.
“I ended up interviewing over 400 people. I would find them on forums, either by replying to YouTube comments, via Instagram or by joining Facebook groups, “Pink said.” I just wanted to understand what difficulty people face in seeking ethical brands. “
Pink found that many of the people she interviewed were confused or wary of the rating systems used by many fashion retailers.
Brands could sometimes be rated very well by an ethical fashion rating system even without doing things like paying their clothing workers a living wage.
“The fashion industry is a rather complicated space, with so many moving parts. But I wanted to take all of these complexities and just have a space for people to go and find information about what companies pay their employees fair or are environmentally friendly, ”Pink said.
After perfecting the idea, Pink had to get to work making it a reality, despite having no training in programming or website design.
Pink learned for herself how to “datascrape” (pulling product data from fashion websites) and how to create an application from scratch.
“It was then that the momentum changed. I sent the prototype of the app to the 400 people I initially interviewed, but within a month without marketing the user base has grown to over 1000, “Pink said.
In the first three months, the app generated $ 8,000 in purchases for companies in attendance.
But Pink said it was just the beginning and OnYou had a lot to grow in a short amount of time.
OnYou was welcomed by the Te Ōhaka Startup Incubation Program and The Golden Ticket, a program for tech start-ups to access pro bono professional support, which has helped Pink accelerate growth.
“We worked hard and got 70 ethical brands on the platform and over 4,000 customers who requested early access to the platform, so we never stopped building that community,” Pink said.
One of the most important lessons she learned on her start-up journey was to always have confidence in herself as a business woman.
“I think being a young woman in the fashion world trying to do something different can sometimes make people’s eyes shine when I say I’m building a fashion app,” Pink said. “But honestly, that motivates me to keep going.”
He said user feedback and customer dialogue have been the best trust factor for someone trying something new.
“It’s so easy to base your self-esteem and confidence on what experts and investors say about your product,” Pink said.
“But keeping coming back to the customer is so important, they are the ones who will use the product and they are always on your side.”