The Same Five Questions
The Same Five Questions is a series featuring insight from business leaders in the Thoughtful Consumerism Movement. We're delighted to chat with the ever lovely Sica Schmitz, owner of Bead and Reel.
The Same Five Questions
with Sica Schmitz, owner of Bead and Reel
What inspired you to start your brand?
Bead & Reel was really born out of my own frustrations with not being able to easily find fashion that was both vegan and sweatshop-free. They say if you want something that doesn't exist to make it, so I did! As time went on and I learned more about the the problems within the fashion industry, my brand grew to include other aspects as well: eco materials, female founders, and giving back.
What do you think is the most important consideration for the long term sustainability of the thoughtful consumerism movement?
I can't pick just one consideration! Right now, I think price point and options are the most important areas that need to be addressed in order to continue getting consumer support. Additionally, I think financial stability of sustainable businesses needs to be prioritized, because unsustainable business models won't allow for long term sustainable fashion. I sadly have seen a lot of small sustainable businesses go out of business (for a variety of reasons), along with a lot who are struggling, and it's important for social impact brands to make sure they have the help, support, and realistic expectations they need for the long haul.
What do you wish you could tell critics of the the thoughtful consumerism movement?
I often hear people talk about how sustainable fashion is "too expensive," and I always want to gently lecture them about priorities. If human rights or animal welfare or protecting the environment are truly your priorities, you will find a way to make it work with your closet. It might require buying less, or saving up, or skipping a few happy hours, or learning tricks like second hand shopping and hosting swaps - but no matter your income, location, or style, there is a way for you to get into sustainable fashion. I read this great article last year (I can't remember where!) about how we should stop saying, "I'm too busy to do _____" and start being honest and instead say, "That's not my priority right now." I think the same is true for sustainable fashion. Either you're participating in it, or it's just not your priority right now - though, if it's not, someday I hope it will be!
Other than your own, what’s your favorite ethical company?
I adore so many ethical companies, but I'm crushing pretty hard on Elizabeth Suzann right now. Each quarter Bead & Reel hosts a clothing drive andSuiting & Style Academy with the Downtown Women's Center to help provide wardrobes for vulnerable women re-entering the work force, and one of the things I struggle with the most is getting enough plus size pieces donated. So, for the most recent clothing drive, I reached out to every plus size sustainable fashion line I could find, and many generously donated a few items, however, Elizabeth Suzann's team took the time to put together entire looks for each woman along with a hand written note wishing her success, and it was truly just the most touching thing. The women loved the pieces, and I am now a fan of theirs for life.
What's your favorite will Farrell movie?
Well, as a fashion fan, is there any other acceptable answer other than Zoolander? His character Mugatu is basically everything sustainable fashion is fighting against, but done in the most hilarious way possible.