An Interview With The Founders of Kidizen
One of the ways Livie & Luca practices sustainability is through our partnership with Kidizen and their resale program, REWEAR™ Collective. If you don’t yet know, you can resell your Livie & Luca shoes (crafted durably for several lives!) through REWEAR and even earn points in our Livie & Luca Rewards.
Kidizen was created by two inspiring women and friends, Mary Fallon and Dori Graff. We’ve asked them to answer a few questions about their company and sustainability and here are their marvelous words of wisdom.
(DORI) Your company embodies the word "sustainability"! How do you think about "sustainability" within your business? Was it a key factor when you started Kidizen?
Sustainability was absolutely a key factor in the reason we created Kidizen. We (co-founders Mary Fallon and Dori Graff) had kids around the same time, and we were both struck by how much stuff we needed to constantly acquire for our kids. Purchasing everything new seemed excessive especially when many of the items we needed might only be used a few times. We recognized how much of the stuff we needed already existed in the homes of others, but we didn’t have family in our area or any other source of hand-me-downs. We wanted to be able to tap our communal wealth, but we needed to expand the parameters that defined who and where our community existed and how to access them.
We also knew that just as quickly as we brought items into our homes, we’d also need to move them out. This meant that if we acquired higher quality items, we’d be able to pass these items onto other families instead of sending them to the landfills. Kids go through seven sizes in the first two years, so that’s a lot of churn! Kidizen was born out of the need for a better way to access a community of parents so that we could keep these items circulating.
(MARY) You talk about "empowering moms and kids as well as entrepreneurs and consumers." Livie & Luca has similar goals! You talk about this idea of entrepreneurship in reference to kids. How can we empower our children to be environmentally-responsible entrepreneurs?
It almost goes without saying that parents who model sustainability can expect to see those same habits and behaviors in their kids. As parents, we can foster a sense of respect for all living things and encourage responsibility through small acts – whether connecting our kids to nature to gain an appreciation of the earth or involving them in our own sustainable consumption, reusing and recycling objects in their lives as they come to realize their relationship to things. Kids need to see that they are a part of something bigger than themselves; their behaviors matter. A deeper, natural desire to make a difference through entrepreneurial pursuits develops out of this sense of environmental responsibility.
Kids are uniquely afforded so many opportunities to shape the world around them based on what inspires them the most, and earn something of value while doing it. All great business ideas start by solving a problem in a unique way, and kids are incredible problem-solvers! It feels as if there’s no limit to what they can accomplish when their fearless imagination intersects with their true passions. That’s the kind of thinking we need right now when the world demands change more than ever.
We apply these principles to something as fundamental as clothing; think of it as fashion for the greater good. Kids can become actively involved in providing the “next life” for a garment they’ve outgrown to benefit others and the planet. By encouraging our kids to find the value in what lies in their closets, whether through recycling, upcycling, or reuse, we’re showing them that what they have is not disposable. We’re helping them see that unwanted or outgrown objects still hold value for others, teaching them to find the opportunity within that space – which is where good entrepreneurs excel.
(DORI) Why are Livie & Luca shoes a good fit for your Rewear program?
Livie & Luca is a perfect fit for the REWEAR program for a number of reasons. The first is that Livie & Luca shoes are durable and made to last well beyond the use of one child. They also have an incredibly passionate and loyal resale community, which we have found to be a strong indicator of a great brand that parents love and trust. As a result, Livie & Luca shoes hold their value and sell really well in Kidizen’s marketplace. So customers get a really good return on their investment when they resell their Livie & Lucas!
(MARY) What do you think is the future of sustainability in the fashion industry and how does that relate to your growing business?
The fashion industry has historically been one of the most pollutive industries in the world, and more than half of the garments produced each year end up in landfills. We’ve become accustomed to a wasteful cycle where brands create more for less; manufacturers produce garments fast, cheap, and under poor conditions; retailers knowingly order more than necessary; and consumers buy too much, using only approximately 60% of the clothes they purchase.
The good news is that this trend is rapidly changing, and consumers are starting to replenish their closets with fewer, higher-quality items. Increasing sustainability concerns are driving this shift and becoming an entrenched priority for consumers.
While sustainability moves to the fore, consumers are realizing the existing, expansive supply chain found in closets everywhere – all the variety, increased affordability, and imaginative individuality. As consumers continue to tap into this communal wealth, secondhand is finally going mainstream. And it’s much more than a trend – it’s a reflection of a less wasteful, more sustainable worldview.
In many ways, we’ve been hoping and waiting for this moment as citizens and as a business. Brands that create products built to last beyond one lifecycle understand the important role that resale plays in their success as consumers’ values continue to evolve, incorporating sustainability into their purchasing decisions. The rise of fast fashion is definitely on the wane, and we’re thrilled to be a part of this change.
Thank you, Mary and Dori!
Livie & Luca’s Fall/Winter 20 collection will introduce our first sustainable shoe, with a few more to come in Spring!