How to Style One Dress, Three Ways:
El Greco Earrings || Greenola Style c/o Shop Barefoot Belle
Fair Trade, Handmade in Kenya (meet artisan here), brass, hypo-allergenic
Chevron Flare Dress || 4 All Humanity c/o Shop Barefoot Belle
GOTS certified organic cotton, handmade in Uganda where workers are paid 3 times the average factory rate, bold colored traditional African kitenge trim lining
Burnt Orange Wool Hat || Closet Swapped
Don't forget that closet swapping is the best form of sustainability, instead of buying new, exchange with friends!
Long Necklace || c/o Raven and Lily
handmade by marginalized women in Northern India
Green Button Up || Lola
Boots || Marisota
I was super duper excited to discover Shop Indigenous on Instagram! Why? Because I felt like fair trade, eco fashion, and ethical fashion fit into three categories: high-end (and expensive) minimalist, country-of-origin inspired (usually Western South America or Western Africa), or "frumpy older-lady" styled (when I turn 50, I am sure I will like this but, I'm in my 20s now and like to embrace it.) None of these categories fit my casual/boho sense of style. So, these past few weeks I have been on a search to prove just because it's ethically sourced doesn't mean that it has to be ugly and super expensive!
I felt like it was easy to find cute jewelry for teens and young adults, which the casual/boho style and was ethically sourced, but I was having trouble finding fair trade fashions /ethically sourced women's apparel that embodied a more casual-boho feel. Then I found Barefoot Belle. Yay! They sell boho inspired apparel as well as more main stream apparel. I'm excited to see that the fair trade industry is starting to make pieces that are geared more towards people our age! (Also, I like to see that they have sales!) I interviewed the owner because I was excited to find this retailer and wanted to pick her mind about the transitioning fashion styles in the ethical fashion world. :)
Let's get this interview on a roll!
Hello there! Please introduce yourself.
My name is Lauren Anzaldua and I’m the owner/founder of Barefoot Belle, an online clothing boutique for ethically sourced bohemian fashion. I have a degree in entrepreneurship and started my business right out of college. I’ve always known I would work for myself and I have many other plans for the future. I’m a super laid back person and am extremely easy going. I love to travel and seek out new experiences. I also love to cook/bake, I could literally spend all day in the kitchen if I had the time.
What is the inspiration behind Indigenous Boutique? Why did you go for a boho feel?
When I was in high school I worked for a local boutique close to where I lived and I knew then that this was what I wanted to do. When I was in my last semester of college I took a new course that was introduced that semester about social enterprises. This class taught aspiring entrepreneurs how to blend concepts of profit maximization and social consciousness, or in other words: the triple bottom line. While taking this course I came up with the idea for Indigenous, an ethically sourced fashion boutique. I chose bohemian fashion because I personally dress this way and I wanted my business to be an extension of my interests. Also, with music festivals becoming increasingly popular every year I thought it was a smart choice. Bohemian style fashion also fits in with the Indigenous aesthetic perfectly- it is for the feminine, adventurous & free-spirited woman. I wanted to keep things more niche so I can eventually establish a more loyal customer base.
What did you choose the word indigenous?
It took me a while to come up with the name for my business, about 2 months actually. I chose it because “indigenous” applies to people from all walks of life and relates to different cultures from around the world. I really wanted to sell products that resemble pieces one would find while shopping through exotic market places, exclusive yet high quality. Indigenous celebrates differences among people and cultures and I hope for it to serve as a resource to connect civilizations from even the greatest distances, while providing a new outlet for both buyers and sellers in the marketplace.
Tell me more about how you discover/source your products.
I have a good mix of brand names and merchandise I import myself. I have certain criteria I look at before making purchases for the store and obviously everything must be ethically produced. I seek out smaller independent brands, handmade & fair trade items, eco-friendly products & brands that are socially conscious. I spend a lot of time researching merchandise for the store, especially when I’m importing products myself. Next year I plan on doing a lot of traveling to make new connections and buy more inventory for the store from new places I travel to. I can’t wait!
Would you consider your brand as an ethical fashion company? Why or why not?
Yes I definitely would. The obvious reason is that we sell ethically sourced products. Everything you see in our store is in some way considered “ethical fashion”. It is true that many people have their own opinions about what constitutes “ethical fashion” and we have posted on our blog what “ethical fashion” means to us.
Where do you see Indigenous Boutique in 5 years? 10 years?
In 5 years I definitely want to have at least 1 physical location open, maybe more. I also want to have an exclusive line of either clothing or jewelry for the store that will donate to a specific cause. I’m currently doing research on this right now. Eventually, I would also like to start a non-profit that can provide funding to aspiring clothing designers that have social principles built into their business plan. I constantly have new ideas I want to try, which is a blessing & a nightmare all at the same time.
Has networking with other ethical fashion brands helped you accomplish social change?
Yes, but there’s always room for more change. With ethical fashion, the average consumer doesn’t know what this means and it’s our job as brands to continue to collaborate and educate shoppers. Most people I come across have misconceptions about what ethical fashion is. They have this idea of cheap, flimsy bracelets that have a catchy sayings on them being sold for the “starving kids in Africa”. This to me is sad. Most people don’t realize that you don’t have to give up quality or style to shop consciously. Consumers need to learn that they have a choice in how they shop & spend their money & that they truly can make a difference.
What message do you want people to take away from your online shop? Aside from it's products.
The message I want people to take away from my shop is that you don’t have to compromise quality & style to shop consciously. At the end of the day, Indigenous is a fashion boutique. The only difference is that everything is ethically sourced, that’s it. I want to provide a place where shoppers can shop for clothing, shoes & accessories and feel good about spending their money. Nothing is more satisfying to me than when I explain products to a customer and they get this pleasantly surprised look on their face because they would have never guessed something trendy & high quality would be associated with “ethical fashion”. It’s inspiring.
My blog's name is beYOUtiful hope. How do you define beauty? :)
Beauty is being comfortable with who you are. Even though it sounds super cliché, confidence truly is sexy. Beauty is what you give off to the rest of the world when you’re confident and true to yourself. Beauty is acknowledging your flaws & not letting them define you. No one in this world is perfect, beauty is accepting your imperfections.
I hope this helps your boho-self shop with a purpose this holiday season!