The JayAlders.com and GreenOliveClothingCompany.com collaboration has been a shock to our senses! My husband and I met Leanne at my daughters school (our kids are in class together) and when she suggested the Jay Alders Line, we really did not know what to expect. She completely rocked it to say the least! Each piece is one of a kind, sustainable and upcycled and beyond stylish! For more from Leanne, you can find her at the Asbury Park Bizarre this weekend or head to: greenoliveclothingcompany.com
How did Green Olive come about?
– Last winter my spirited daughter, Olive, wanted (aka: demanded) a dress with pockets large enough to hold her collection of found treasures, which at the time consisted of dried playdough balls, dinosaurs, rocks, and Mr. Potato Head! I looked for one online (I’m not a ‘shopper’ so I couldn’t bear the thought of running into store after store searching for one) but alas, one did not exist! I dusted off my sewing machines which had been stored away since my son was born 5 years earlier and began to think. As a family who is environmentally conscious, I knew that purchasing new, formaldehyde laden fabric was not something I wanted to do. So I took a few of my old t-shirts and cut them into dresses! I experimented with different designs and pockets and after 3 weeks, I had my first real dress! As a lover of thrift shopping, I then took off to my local thrift store to look for high quality t-shirts to cut up and turn into dresses, because I was running out of my own to use 🙂 Looking through the racks with a new perspective, I was amazed at the options of colors, patterns, sizes, quality, and weight of fabrics! I took a gigantic cart load home and got sewing. Nine months later, I had made many patterns and had sewn about 100 dresses! I continue to make new patterns on a regular basis and I spend countless hours in my sewing room, which is the heart of the home 🙂
Can you list your top three systems for organizing your parenting/work life?
– I could not possibly call my attempt on organizing ANYthing a system 🙂 I tend to run on an hour-by-hour basis depending on the needs of my children, ages 5 and 3, and myself. When ideas pop into my head and I MUST immediately give them attention, which can often interrupt home activities (especially when I just HAVE to run to my sewing room while muffins are baking!). However, my two wonderful kids and I do have a loose routine throughout the day which provides for a ‘tad’ of flow 🙂
How do you see the lessons you have learned as a parent influencing your business life?
Patience: take a deep breath, this too shall pass
Love: if I love it, it will blossom
Listen: to myself, my children, my intuition
I know you chose to take the Up-cycling/Eco route with this company, we want to hear more on your choice to do that, is it difficult to keep things sustainable and simultaneously growing within your company?
– I am committed to upcycling because it reduces clothing and textile waste by reusing deadstock or gently used fabric to create new garments and products. Making a single cotton T-shirt requires over 700 gallons of water, whereas using a pre-existing T-shirt to make something new requires nearly no water. In addition, upcycling can divert some of the 85% of textile waste that ends up in landfills. Further, it allows my creativity to run free because each dress is unique and the fabric choices in each garment are carefully and artfully selected. However, it is not time efficient, as I find myself visiting thrift shops twice a week! Because using upcycled fabrics is not scalable, I have opted to use organic cotton in the manufactured line of Green Olive (read more below).
Whats your next big goal with Green Olive?
– Early on, people started noticing the unique designs and before I could blink, I was sitting in a beautiful glass-walled conference room at the headquarters of Gilt in Manhattan! They loved the dresses, but we all agreed that using upcycled fabric the way I do, is just not scalable. They offered to develop each of my designs, and new ones!, and put forth an entire Green Olive Clothing Company Spring / Summer 2017 Collection – I was in awe! They honored my commitment to sustainability and agreed to make the dresses using organic cotton. Fast forward to present day, and Green Olive dresses (and tops and bottoms) are in full blown manufacturing! The Spring / Summer 2017 line will launch on gilt.com on March 20, 2017. I will continue to sew the upcycled dresses, original designs and new ones, here in my NJ home. Back to the original question of goals….With the world-wide launch date approaching, my short-term business goal is to continue a demand for and sew upcycled dresses at home and to employ other mommas to help me sew, while wildly expanding the manufactured side of Green Olive. Personally, my goal is to get a handle of balancing the work-at-home / mother-at-home see-saw! Long-term goal? …That Green Olive will become a household name 🙂
What are your top three/Go-To websites for parenting/kids info (other than OmMamas.com of course)?
To finish off…what is one thing most people wouldn’t know about you?
– I used to have VERY long dreadlocks 🙂