Women In Business

How to shape a business organically

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As the founder of Shapes in the Sand, I believe in order to grow a business organically you need to stay true to what your values are and be clear in what you would like from the foundations of your business. In this article I have included 4 core foundations that the label is built on; Transparency, charitable projects, innovation and social media. Here’s how you can implement these into your own business.

Transparency

Transparency is key to building a strong and reputable brand. Being clear about what your moral standards are will also help your business stand out and be noticed for its honesty and integrity. The fashion industry in particular is heavily saturated. Along with my ethical values for a more sustainable future, being transparent about Shapes in the Sands’ processes has helped build a brand that others have seen for what it really is, enabling it to be noticed for the right reasons. Through doing such strategies you will attract the right people to your business; loyal customers.

In saying this make sure people know about your transparency through online platforms, certification programs, blogs or customer reviews just to name a few. A great example of transparency within Shapes in the Sand has been receiving the Project Just Seal of Approval in 2017. Project Just are an online directory that enables consumers to shop consciously knowing all the finer details about a brand. In-depth research is done into each brand chosen and whether they receive a stamp of approval depends on how ethical and sustainable their label is. Project Just really dive into the nitty gritty and find out information on labor, wages, the environment just to name a few. If a label cannot come forth with these things they could potentially be hiding something that is not ethical in nature.

Charitable projects

Partnering and working closely with Not-for-profit organizations can be a great way to help spread awareness about your business and its values in your local community or at a larger scale. There are many with great projects and causes. Choosing an NFP organisation that synergizes with your small business or company is very important.

We care about something beyond the business. Showing that you care about something beyond your brand and bringing the two together can lead to great things in terms of growth.

NFPs play a large part in the Shapes in the Sand philosophy.  As part of last season’s Spirit of the Bush collection we partnered with local organisation WIRES Wildlife Rescue to help raise awareness and aid in building a Koala Care Facility for a colony of koalas in NSW. We designed the project exclusively around this cause and created a textile print that represented the Australian Bush home of these Koalas. A marketing strategy was put in place through social media at both ends and a portion from the sale of this design went directly to this cause.

Social media & ambassadors

Social media has played a large role in helping establish Shapes in the Sand’s demographic and also enabling me as the founder to connect with likeminded people so that we can help create awareness for positive change. It has also been a great way to speak with customers. With social media being an increasingly popular way to market products and services it’s allowed business owners to be more creative and have a better connection and relationship with their audiences which then creates awareness and growth for your business.

An example of how I’ve utilized Instagram to Shapes in the Sand’s advantage is through finding our first brand ambassador who is working on a number of projects as a marine biologist and through being awarded the 2017 Australasian Rolex Scholar. I connected with our ambassador through Instagram last year and realised that by connecting with likeminded people a bigger impact can be made towards our sustainable goals.

An ambassador for your brand means they are one of the faces of your business. It’s important to make sure you choose someone who is suited for this purpose and will spread the right message and overall image. Through wearing your product at special events or during projects they are completing and talking about your product or service in an honest way, they will spread the awareness needed to help grow your business.

Innovation

There are endless forms of innovation. having an idea being able to create something or use something that may help change the world can have a positive impact on your business, especially if you can forecast the future of trends or change what is happening in the world. Sustainability is definitely on the rise, not just in fashion but everything! in 2013 when I first started looking into sustainable materials for fashion, I could definitely see that this might be something that would become quite popular in the near future. Regenerated fabrics are now everywhere and most fashion labels have applied sustainability into their collections one way or another.

The main fabric used to make Shapes in the Sand swimwear is ECONYL®. This yarn comes from 100% regenerated materials, helping to reduce the amount of global waste by collecting it from landfills and oceans and feeding it back into production cycles. Material includes nylon contained in fishing nets and clothing which is transformed back into virgin raw material without any loss of quality. If you have an idea you don’t think has been done yet, or maybe there’s a gap in the market, don’t hold back. “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”- Gandhi

About Alexandra Dash

Alexandra Dash is the designer and founder of Shapes in the Sand swimwear, a leading Australian sustainable swimwear label that is creating positive change for our environment and helping push for a more responsible fashion industry both sustainably and ethically. Visit: www.shapesinthesand.com.au Instagram: @shapesinthesandswim

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