A group of 2,000 adults said they would spend 12 percent more on sustainable items on top of the annual household expenses of approximately £30,000. That makes sense as you only have to spend a bit of time researching about the products we use on a daily basis to understand how they’ve contributed negatively to the Earth today.
However, finding eco-friendly products is difficult. A lot of the brands out there are small and independent, with limited resources to market themselves. Imogen Minoli and Ed Davies noticed this back in 2017 when they launched Wearth London, an online marketplace building a greener future.
We had the opportunity to speak to Ed about his journey building Wearth London, and helping people live a sustainable lifestyle.
As a consumer, what were your challenges when looking for eco-friendly products?
In the lead up to starting Wearth, Imogen & I were starting to want to make more sustainable choices after learning about how our own consumer habits impact the planet around us. We started looking for products which aligned with our values, but which were also high quality, contemporary items which fit into our homes. We found it difficult to find these and it was quite an overwhelming experience at times knowing where to start.
Why did you start Wearth London and why does the e-commerce industry need it?
After initially finding it difficult to find products which aligned with our values. We ended up doing a lot of deep dives into the internet and eventually found there were lots of independent UK brands out there which make amazing sustainable & ethical products.
We wanted to create an online platform which brought these brands and makers into one place online. An important aim is to help empower consumers and make it easier for people to make greener swaps. Our ethos is that anyone can make a difference and even small changes here and there can make a difference.
Transparency is an important aspect here and in the e-commerce industry in general it can be difficult to know why a product is eco-friendly just because it says it is so. This is why on Wearth you can see what the product is made from, its delivery packaging and its main values (e.g. plastic-free, made in the UK and so on). As a result, the customer can make an informed purchase and understand why this product is on Wearth.
You have more than 250 independent sustainable brands in your marketplace. How do brands benefit from being stocked on Wearth London?
Our brands are at the heart of Wearth and we work closely with our partner brands. Our aim since starting has been to not only be a revenue source for our brands, but also to create unique marketing opportunities exclusive to being part of our community. This has included influencer collaborations, for example so far we’ve had over 500k YouTube views from working with sustainable lifestyle vloggers. We have also built up our social media community over the years and now have over 110k followers where we promote our brands on a daily basis. Press features is also something we work hard on and we have enabled a number of our brands to be featured in national publications including VOGUE Magazine, The Guardian, The Financial Times & more!
Could you tell us about some of your biggest achievements to date?
We started Wearth just the two of us in 2017 and to date we have bootstrapped the business. Despite this, we have achieved a lot of things we are proud of. Firstly, we have been able to create well over £3m of sales for our brands with considerable growth every year, our first year we had sales of just over £30k!
It has been amazing helping to create a new revenue stream for independent UK brands. Seeing our community grow over the years, both in terms of our social media following, but also our visitors to our website which is approaching 4 million since we launched!
Our biggest achievement to date so far has been helping our customers to shop and live more consciously in a way that helps to protect our planet. It has been inspiring hearing from our customers and how we have made it easier to find and support eco-friendly brands.
What are your future plans for Wearth London?
We have lots of exciting plans for the future which is one of the reasons we’re raising money. Firstly, we are in the process of launching our new website, a key part of this is our new content platform which is built on WordPress. Here we will have a wide range of writers from sustainable fashion, plant-based recipes to eco news. We’re looking forward to creating a new place online to discover conscious content in one place.
We are planning to partner with even more brands to launch new categories and improve the depth of our range. Key areas we are looking to expand our collections include homewares, fashion and our refillable range. In terms of business growth, we also plan to start delivering to Europe in 2022!
Looking further into the future we also have plans to develop our range of innovative and unique eco-friendly products to fill gaps in the market which we have identified. This will help to further our mission of helping consumers to live and shop more consciously to protect our planet.
If you could only pick three products, which are your favourite stocked on Wearth London and why?
Good question! There’s a number of products I use on a day to day basis, a bit of an essential one to start with but I like Fulfilled’s shampoo and conditioner. The great thing about them is that I’ve been using the same bottle for over a year now and buy the refills.
I love a good candle, maybe one of the reasons why we have so many on Wearth! I couldn’t pinpoint my favourite but I am looking forward to trying our new range of Pott Candles which come in a hand crafted ceramic pot.
A final product I use a lot is Clean Natured’s amber dispenser jar bottles, these are great for hand soap, cleaning products and have always been popular with our customers. I would guess that Imogen would likely say the vegan brownies from Nummy would be one of her favourites!
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learnt so far building Wearth London?
Naturally there have been a lot of challenges over the past four years, especially as we’ve bootstrapped, and a lot of lessons learnt as a result! I would say the biggest lesson so far is trying not to do everything yourself and trying to build a team around you (even if some of these are freelancers in the early days) which can help turn your vision into a reality and provide more space to focus on growing the business.
To learn more about Wearth London, and for the opportunity to invest, visit the pitch here.