For our first instalment of Inspirational Individuals, I am thrilled to introduce Holly Allenby, 24. In 2014, Allenby founded THE-ACEY, an e-commerce brand with an ethical approach. Within one year, THE-ACEY had commissioned over 25 consciously created brands who embrace simplistic and sophisticated yet functional style, proving that you needn’t compromise on ethics or aesthetics. With sustainability and e-commerce fast becoming the future of fashion, I was intrigued to gain Holly’s perspective.
Q. What inspired you to start THE-ACEY?
A: I wanted to offer women the option to buy better without compromise on ethics or aesthetics. It all started when I found a few brands that created contemporary products ethically, I wanted to re invent the stigma around ethical clothing being irrelevant from a style point of view.
Q: When, and what, triggered your interest in sustainable fashion?
A: I was working for TOMS which is built on a One for One business model – every product purchased helps a person in need so I was already working in the social enterprise world. But it wasn’t until I found a handful of brands that we sell on THE-ACEY now that I really started looking at the impacts of the industry and realising there’s room for so much improvement.
Q:What are the key principles of THE-ACEY?
A: Innovation and integrity are at the core of what we do. We like brands that think outside the box and strive to do business better whilst being conscious of their social and environmental outlay.
Q: What does day to day life look like for you?
A: It sounds like a cliché but every day really is different, although I am trying to be more organised and dedicate specific days to specific tasks. Typically I start the day with a glass of hot lemon and breakfast (my favourite meal of the day), I then head into the office at 8am. Tasks include reviewing orders from the previous day, checking stock levels, reviewing my calendar for the day/week and constantly thinking about how to better engage with our customers and reach new ACEY women.
Q: Do you think the recent interest in sustainable clothing is marking a change in the fashion industry?
A: Absolutely, clothing does not and should not be made at the pace and in the conditions it is to meet high street demand. There’s a long way to go as thre are deep rooted behavioural changes that need to be made but I think the media attention is hugely helping the shift to a more sustainable clothing industry.
Q: You celebrated THE-ACEY first birthday with a pop up shop. Are you looking to have a permanent store in the future or will you keep THE-ACEY online?
A: I chose to go online from the offset as I was determined to give women worldwide access to our innovative brands, this was proven successful with our first ever order coming from Stockholm. However THE-ACEY pop up was a huge success and I do believe it’s so important to have a personal interaction with a brand. I loved creating a space that you could walk into and immediately get a sense of what THE-ACEY is all about, so yes we will definitely look to do more pop ups but online is our core.