Pic: Erin Orbach (Brand Manager @Boody Eco Wear)
Tell us about yourself and your background.
My name is Erin and I’m the Brand Manager for Boody Eco Wear. I grew up in Los Angeles, California and moved to San Diego to pursue a degree in Business Marketing at San Diego State University. During school, I gained experience in the marketing world by interning at various advertising agencies. It was great experience, but I wanted to work for a company I felt passionate about and I felt emotionally connected to. Shortly after I graduated, I started working for Boody as an Assistant Brand Manager and then became Brand Manager. I’ve always had a more minimalist style and aesthetic – plus a love for soft clothes, so when I discovered Boody it was like I discovered the perfect brand for me.
You are the brand manager and first USA employee of Boody Wear, can you share with us what led you to wanting to work for a sustainable brand?
Sure. Before Boody, I wasn’t too knowledgeable about sustainable fashion. It’s just something that wasn’t in my radar during that time of my life. My minimal aesthetic supported slow fashion in a way, but it’s really when I joined Boody that my eyes were opened to the negative effects of fast fashion. When I learned more about Boody’s mission, and what they were trying to do in the clothing world, I knew I had to be apart of it. I found my passion for sustainability through Boody – and I’m so thankful I did! Now, it’s part of my daily life and has really changed how I view clothing purchases and the clothes in my closet.
Was sustainable and ethical fashion a big part of your life growing up? If yes, how did it impact you?
Not directly. Reflecting on how I dressed growing up, I was definitely a simpler dresser who was attracted to more neutral colors. However, like many teens in my generation, I did have my Forever 21 phase that was thankfully short-lived. In terms of sustainability in clothing lasting a long time, I haven’t grown much since high school and to this day still wear some clothes I had then.
What's the meaning and story behind Boody?
Boody was founded in Australia by 2 best friends. One who had years of experience in apparel, and the other from running successful pharmacies. They were on the search for a sustainable alternative to brands such as Fruit of the Loom or Haines. When they came upon bamboo viscose fabric…well the rest is history!
What are the main responsibilities of a brand manager?
As a Brand Manger for a start-up, I hold many different hats and my job has evolved as our business has grown. When I first started, I did everything from customer service, to managing the website, leading marketing, attending trade-shows, etc. You name it, I did it. It was such a great way to learn. As our team has grown, we fill out departments with more specializations. Today, I manage our marketing, all of our print materials, influencer/publication management, social team, packaging, photo-shoots, etc. Everyday is different and every year changes so it’s always exciting.
What are the tools to communicate with Boody's target audience?
Gosh, we have many. Everything from podcasts, to email, to social. Boody has a very wide demographic so we do anything we can and like trying new things. This upcoming month we’re attending a Fair & Trade and Ethical fashion event that’s consumer facing. This is something new for us and I’m excited to have the opportunity to interact with our customers and introduce Boody to new people. We’re a flexible team so we’re always up for new opportunities.
Boody Wear values ethical fashion, can you tell us a little bit about this process from fabric; to design; to production; to the individual who wears the end piece?
Sure thing. Our header designer Karen designs all of our products. At first it was rounding out the essentials, and now we really love hearing from our customers what they want next. We go through a sampling size process during design to ensure fit is consistent. Getting into the fabrication now. So the primary fabric in all of our clothing is bamboo viscose. The original bamboo we use is all grown organically without pesticides, fertilizers or artificial irrigation. It grows purely from rain water which is extremely water conserving! To turn the organic bamboo into fabric, it’s soaked in a softening solution to help transform into yarn. The entire process is closed-loop when manufacturing the yarn, which means all water is recycled and the solution is removed and reused, so that it does not escape into the environment or have any kind of human exposure. Once it’s yarn, it is then blended with spandex, and depending on the product, either computer knitted (all of our seamless styles such as underwear, bras, etc.) or regularly knitted (all of our cut & sew styles such as active wear). On to the wonderful individual, our amazing customers. They usually discover us shopping in store, or online. Boody appeals to a wide range of customers looking for different things. Of course there are those who are looking for a more sustainable clothing option, but others who might be looking for softness, a present for a friend, etc.
Why do you think brand management is important for a company?
Brand Management is important for a company because it aims to keep everything visually consistent which increases brand recognition. It’s key for a customer to be able to recognize us whether they’re shopping in-store or shopping online. We also need to be aware of how our brand comes off. Boody is all about showing that the little steps matter into transitioning to a more sustainable wardrobe – so we always want to feel approachable and relatable.
Ethical fashion covers a range of issues such as working conditions, child labor, fair trade and sustainable production. How do you address all these issues?
We address these by making sure all production facilities we use carry certain certifications and by having our team spend time there. Our facilities carry WRAP accreditation's which addresses working conditions & fair labor. It assures that there is fair labor, no child labor, clean conditions, vacation & sick time, etc. In terms of sustainable production, we have certifications that show our facilities follow strict ISO 14001 environmental regulations. It’s all a growing process, and we’re always trying to improve and evolve.
In your opinion, do you think slow and sustainable fashion will finally have a bigger part in the "mainstream" fashion industry or it already has?
In my 4 years working in sustainable fashion, it is honestly amazing how much more “mainstream” it has gotten in the past year, and more notably in the past 6 months. Overall slow fashion is becoming more well known and people are becoming truly more aware of the negative side effects. I think it will keep getting bigger. As awareness grows, and with the continued support of influential people – I believe sustainable fashion will become more mainstream.
How would you describe Boody Wear in 4 words?
Soft. Sustainable. Breathable. Approachable.
Is there any new fashion pieces in the works at the moment when it comes to Boody Eco Wear? If yes, can you share with us any details?
Oh yes! Our Lounge line recently launched which is very exciting. Just today our new line of Men’s Luxe Underwear launched, and coming next month is a new shade of grey for some of our best-selling women’s underwear styles. Towards summer, we’ll be releasing an entirely new collection of Boody that will be an extension of our Active line.
Where can we purchase Boody products?
You can purchase Boody products online at boodywear.com and you can also use the store locator on our website to find a retailer near you.