Any day we get to partner with a woman-owned business that puts sustainability at the heart of everything they do is a good day. Recently, we spoke with one of our newest clients who does just that.
Below, hear from Ellen Hockley Harrison, Founder & CEO of Evergreen Activewear — maternity activewear made sustainably for everyday adventures, made by moms, for moms.
Tell us about the inspiration behind your brand. How did you come up with the idea, and what inspired you to pursue it?
While I was pregnant with my son in the spring of 2020 (early in the COVID-19 Pandemic), I was struggling to find high-quality, sustainably-made maternity and postpartum activewear. I was careful about what I put in my body, and I wanted to be careful about what I put on my body as well. I spent so much time researching padded maternity cycling shorts, comfortable and supportive maternity sports bras…but nothing fit the bill. So, since I had essentially lost my job during COVID, I took this opportunity to work on building out an entirely new brand.
I am really proud to have created something new and innovative in the maternity space. Nearly every pregnant woman or new mom I speak with tells me how excited they are, or that they wish they’d known about the products sooner!
Let’s talk entrepreneurship. You mentioned that you started your company from the ground up — what’s one piece of advice you’d give to entrepreneurs who are just starting out?
Take that leap of faith! I know it sounds scary, but it’s okay if you fail. And trust me, I’ve failed a lot along the way. That’s how you learn and grow.
What is your biggest challenge as an entrepreneur?
This is a great question. Being an entrepreneur is hard and every day can be a challenge, but at the same time, these challenges are what tend to drive me the most. Currently some of the biggest challenges we’re facing are due to supply chain shortages. We are struggling to get parts of our product and therefore sell our product because we don’t have the right inventory.
Speaking of inventory…what is your best selling piece?!
We just launched for sales, but I’d say our sports bra is probably the best-selling right now!
As you know, we at Greenlist believe 🌎 > clothes and we *really* love clothes. We are proud to partner with businesses who also hold that value near and dear to their company mission, and put the planet first. What role does sustainability play in your business?
From the ground up, we were set on creating a brand that would think critically about how we were affecting our planet. We asked ourselves…were we just making more waste, or were we making something that people *actually* needed or wanted, and were likely to get elsewhere — but from less sustainable companies?
Nearly every day, we look at our supply chain and think about what we’re doing, how we’re doing it, and how to make it better for the environment. As part of our initial development, we joined 1% for the Planet, and aim to become a Certified B Corp. We donate a portion of our annual profits to organizations that focus on environmental conservation/protection and maternal health.
Can you share a bit more about your production process — from material sourcing, all the way to our favorite part of the process — shipping?
We work with a fabric manufacturer in Italy that is both PEF and Oeko-Tex certified, and the specific fabric we use is made from over 70% recycled materials. We are also currently working with a factory in New Jersey to manufacture our products, so they follow the US and UN guidelines for ethical manufacturing.
We are working to offset all of our carbon produced from shipping, while donating trees for every purchase and not using any plastic (except tape). Instead of the more traditional plastic Poly-bags used in packaging, we have crafted cotton bags for our products which are then shipped inside of recycled mailers. With our partnership with Greenlist, I am extremely excited to hopefully reduce the long-term waste associated with returns. As a very small company, we haven’t had too many returns yet, but as we grow, I love the idea of paying it forward with our returns/exchanges.
Thank you, Ellen, for taking the time to speak with us. We are excited for you and your business, and couldn’t be more proud to be your partners in helping to make the world a better place — one return at a time.