Who is on your team?
Maurita Antoinette (pictured left) is a Product Designer & Software Engineer that lives in Oakland, CA and went to Spelman College
Winston Vakunta is a Product Marketer who went to the University of Wisconsin Madison
What will your enterprise do? Aggregated product transparency so people can use their buying power for good.
Today, conscious shoppers want to be aware of which products, designers, and brands are positively or negatively impacting the environment. With the rise of the #antihaul and consumers taking corporations to task for their mistreatment of employees and the environment, consumers want to use their buying power to make systemic environmental change.
Currently, it is time consuming to research, discover, and buy eco-friendly products. Furthermore, the lack of transparency from brands prevents shoppers from using their consumer buying power for good. Ethical Icon solves this problem by being the most convenient platform to discover and buy sustainable products while providing ways for the consumers to make systemic impact as they shop.
We are building a fashion app that will aggregate products from different fashion brands and score each item based on their environmental impact. The brands will range from popular household names with sustainable initiatives to completely ethical/sustainable brands. We are creating a platform to help make shopping sustainably easier, while providing more affordable options.
What inspired you to create this enterprise? Why is this issue important to you?
Winston: Many of us know that fashion is the second most polluting industry. For me this was more real because I witnessed the extent of this firsthand. Growing up in West Africa and visiting often, I have seen communities overrun with waste and products dumped by the fashion industry. Seeing this first hand inspired me to create this enterprise. Secondly, with climate change becoming more and more of an issue, I believe it’s time for consumers to hold brands more accountable to be more ethical with their products and manufacturing processes.
Maurita: A few years ago I had an “aha moment” when I felt despair reading an article that said most of the biodiversity had been wiped out and that climate change was the cause. That despair brought me to question how could I make an impact? Then I realized I could, using the skillsets I already have. Since then, I have been focused on designing experiences that empower people to help the environment.
I originally started this by actually mentoring Winston on how to do user research and synthesize qualitative data for a project he was working on relating to sustainable fashion. The more I worked with him, the more I thought his initial concept was really inspiring, and so I did a lot of research about it in my free time. The more research I did, and the more we developed the concept, I believed that it could really have a profound impact on society and on climate change. It had the potential to empower people to make more conscious buying decisions and make systemic change happen within the fashion industry which directly correlates with the type of impact I want to make. Given all of the research (both primary and secondary) we had done, we were confident that this should be a real business. Based on where the data was guiding us, we believe it’s what the world needs and have been doing non stop user research to validate it every since.
What changes would you like to create in your community through this enterprise?
A world where the supply chain is 100% transparent through the ongoing demand of consumers who have all the knowledge they need at their finger tips to make sustainable buying decisions and systemic impact.
How can people support your enterprise or get involved with your work?
The best way to support our enterprise is through connections and or recommendations to brands (both ethical and none ethical) and funding! We are looking to interview and potentially partner with brands. With every connection and or recommendation we get closer to understanding how we can provide value for brands while empowering people to shop more sustainably and make systemic impact. You can reach me at: email@example.com