Sustainable efforts in Women’s Inspire Network
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Sustainable efforts in Women’s Inspire Network

by
Fiona Alston

There are many members of the Women’s Inspire Network making conscious decisions within their businesses to impact the environment positively.  

We caught up with three WIN members to see what impact they are creating.

Roz Kelly

Roz Kelly is in the throes of revamping her platform Eco Active Social Adventures which will be going live very soon (March 2022).

Kelly, who lives in Co. Wexford, Ireland, has always been on the sustainability path, something she picked up from living in the Irish countryside as a young girl. Nature was always something that excited her.

“I just loved nature. The grass, the trees and we had a river at the end of the field, all that kind of stuff,” she explains.

She also had a big influence in her family as her brother worked for Greenpeace when she was a child. No better start to learning about saving the planet some might say.

Another passion in her life is her love for making sure people have a good time. She has worked in hospitality since leaving school and although she moved into web design, hospitality has always been a staple in her career.

“I worked in tourism for over 15 years, and web since 2005 - it’s sort of like a natural path, kind of bringing the two of them together,” she said.

In 2014 Kelly organised a tour around Ireland where she visited with lots of people who were providing eco-tourism, or living an eco-lifestyle, to gather some intel to what was available in Ireland.

After selling and promoting tours for other people she decided to start her own platform to bring all these tours and products to the public under one umbrella.

“It's an online eco-based event and shopping platform,” she says. “It's driving the circular economy, which is to eliminate waste by offering sustainable alternatives.”

“People will be able to put up their eco-friendly events and experiences, and the public can come along and booking online easily.”

There will also be the option to click through to suppliers’ e-commerce platforms to purchase sustainable goods.

“We will be commission based or member based,” says Roz, “a bit of both.”

“Members will get a dedicated landing page, promotional tweets and inclusions in newsletters on a regular basis. They can put up their events and when someone books it, it’s the supplier who gets the booking information.”

Kelly and her business partner Linda are meticulous when it comes to who they will allow promote through their site. Only true sustainable businesses need apply.

“We wouldn't just put up anyone, we have to look into the research, especially for the shop. That will be very specific, because there are so many people with ‘greenwashing’ products. We need to be really sure,” she says.

“It's really more about supporting a small lone producer, rather than big business,” she adds.

Vanessa Gordon

Vanessa Gordon is CEO and publisher of East End Taste Magazine, a digital publication focusing on sustainable travel and food from around the globe.

Gordon is based in The Hamptons, Long Island, and took inspiration from the movement which was happening in her local area.

“I started with just focusing on the sustainable efforts here – the traditional farm to table movement, and the farmers markets out here,” she explains.

“It was really a learning process. I used East End Taste as a channel for learning, for myself, about local businesses out here. But there is only so much you can cover on the eastern end of Long Island, it is a technically a small community, and it is a seasonal community.”

This encouraged Gordon to add travel to her site and set her sights on places further afield to include the wider US market and the U.K.

“One of the most important components for me is learning about sustainable initiatives, from hotels, restaurants, travel itineraries, etc.”

“It's more of an opportunity to learn about different businesses all around the world. Perhaps, by publishing these articles people who own a business, or are interested in opening a business can learning about different methods that have worked for others,” she says.

Gordon has also become very aware of those businesses who claim to be sustainable, but their practices tell a different story.

“My goal for this year is to really focus on hotels, resorts, restaurants, that only perhaps hire locally, that really do have those strong long-term partnerships with a local farms and restaurants.”

The publication is funded by sponsored articles, advertisements and there is also marketing opportunities at the annual Hamptons Interactive Brunch - an invitation only function which will be held in July.

Sharyn Kearns

Sharyn Kearns is owner of Your Style Your Story, an online clothing boutique based in Co. Kildare, Ireland.

While not a sustainable business, Kearns has been sourcing some alternative options for her clients and educating them on how to create the perfect capsule wardrobe.

The idea of a capsule wardrobe is having timeless key pieces that go together creating various different outfits. It reduces the amount of clothes you own and can be great for the pocket too. And of course the environment because you are creating less waste and less ‘stuff’.

Aside from encouraging her customers to buy pieces that will stand the test of time Kearns has added some sustainable fashion lines to her offering.

“I have a sustainable range within my range, and I try to increase that with each season”, she says. “They are really popular.”

Some of the items include clothing made from recycled polyester or sea wool. Sea wool is made from recycled plastic bottles removed from the ocean.

When looking for the best ranges to encourage her customers to think about sustainable fashion she says that finding pieces that are easy to wear is key.

“You could put them into the washing machine, and you can iron them – they are everyday pieces,” she explains. “All of my jeans are sustainable.”

“I’m just trying to make sustainability something that people will buy into. If you can make it easy for people, and make it something that they like, will wear, and that isn't too much maintenance - it makes it easier for people then to choose a piece that's kinder to the environment,” she adds.

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