The Shore Thing: Interview with Jess and Ellie
We know that it can be a quite the challenge finding fashionable, well-fitting, sustainable and ethical swimwear brands. That's why we would like to introduce you all to Jess and Ellie - long term friends and founders of The Shore Thing London. The platform is your go-to destination for the best emerging beachwear that have been consciously made by independent brands!
We sat down with them to talk about why they created the platform, their journey so far, and how COVID has impacted their business.
Firstly, we would love if you could both introduce yourself! A little about yourselves, your journey, and how you met?
We met in our first year of university seven years ago and were friends from the get-go! We are very much like-minded individuals and love to try new things, which is why I think we make great partners.
Jess - My professional background is based in the fashion industry, working as a product writer for an online luxury fashion retailer. Discovering and writing about new exciting brands has always drawn me to fashion, which is why I co-launched Shore Thing London to allow my friends and the people around me to discover hidden gems too. I am a big foodie, love a good check list and am always stealing my mum’s vintage designer bags.
Ellie - My professional background is based in events and during COVID I moved to a fashion advertising agency to help on various campaigns and content for a large high-street brand. In my personal life, I try and split my time between London and visiting family in France. Before COVID I was always prone to booking a trip away. I absolutely love exploring new places, understanding different cultures and trying all the delicious food along the way.
What is the inspiration behind The Shore Thing London?
What started as a conversation over Zoom during lockdown about how hard it was to find, shop and support small, independent beachwear brands (especially based in the UK) eventually became Shore Thing London.
We spent hours trawling through Instagram and realised how many great small British swimwear brands we were missing out on. We wanted to add these hidden gems to peoples radars, not only to encourage our customers to shop small but because they’re worth getting to know! So we decided to create a thoughtful and cool online platform where customers could discover, shop and support the best independent beachwear brands, whilst creating a community where the brands can come together and benefit from each other’s knowledge and successes. (Don’t ask us how long it took to think of the name).
How do you choose which brands to work with?
Our mission is to go above and beyond to curate the best and latest brands. We make sure we have a variety of brands that offer something different from each other, whether that’s prints, colours, silhouettes, sizes and prices, so no matter what our customer's style is, we have them covered.
We find most of our brands, if not all, via Instagram and would personally shop them ourselves. Each brand is selected for its quality, uniqueness and versatility. We look if the brand is using high-quality materials to ensure they last for holidays to come, if they have a USP and if you can wear their styles in multiple ways or for different occasions or can be mixed and matched.
Offering our customers the choice to shop products that have been consciously made is also important to us. So when choosing brands, we look to see if they meet (or plan to in future collections) at least one of our four sustainability pillars - Local Production/ Reduce, Reuse & Recycle/ Eco-Friendly Production Processes/ Recycled & Biodegradable Package.
How have your priorities changed from when you first started?
Our main priorities are creating a user-friendly platform, finding potential customers, building relationships with emerging brands and encouraging responsible and conscious shopping. Before we launched Shore Thing London, our priority was figuring out how we could bring all these ideas into practice. I think next year, we will look at prioritising growth. So, investing in some time to build media relationships, offering our customers a broader range of products and building a strong brand community. We are really excited to introduce more swimwear brands, plus add a range of other beachwear categories, including bags and jewellery, to our platform, plus a couple of special projects!
Has the pandemic affected your business? If so, how?
The demand for beachwear wasn’t very high when we launched in July 2021 as people were unable/ didn't want to travel due to the costs/ traffic light system. So I think it did affect us, but it wasn’t all negative. The quiet periods has given us additional time to perfect our branding, test and tweak ideas, gather feedback and focus on preparing for a big year ahead. We have spent the last six months engaging and connecting with our customers, so when they are once again eager to travel next year we will be at the front of their minds.
Why is it important to encourage a more conscious way of shopping?
Shopping consciously is not only better for the planet, but also for our wardrobes and wallets. By shopping more consciously, you’re not only taking into account the welfare of people, animals and the environment, but you also avoid overspending and impulse buying and instead buy items that you really want, resulting in a more wearable and long-lasting wardrobe.
At Shore Thing London, we want to encourage our customers to learn more about the brands they’re buying from and what they are buying. Under each product description on our website, you can find out whether the item has been locally made and by who, derived from recycled or upcycled fabric, created using processes that are friendly to the environment and if the packaging is recyclable or can even be repurposed by the customer.
We love the idea behind the ‘Zero Waste Capsule’ on your site! Can you explain to our readers how it works?
Brands often bring out new styles every season, but it doesn’t mean the label’s previous styles aren’t just as good. Our 'Zero Waste' capsule allows customers to shop our brand’s previous-season styles at an incredible discount while creating a space where our brands can sell them if they no longer want to promote them on their website. By shopping styles from our ‘Zero Waste’ capsule, our customers will help our brands reduce their waste while getting a great deal.
Your mission is all about supporting the future of fashion. How can we help to shape the future of sustainable fashion?
Shopping mindfully. Take time to research brands, choose fabrics carefully, avoid over-consumption and support and shop small, independent brands who are striving to help make our environment better.
A good tip someone once told me is to ask yourself if you will wear it a minimum of 30 times and if yes, then buy it. So when shopping for beachwear, I think investing in versatile styles that can be styled in several ways or mixed and matched with the brand's similar styles or styles you’ve already got in your wardrobe.
You can now shop for Irvetta swimwear on The Shore Thing London: https://bit.ly/3K650P5