Helpsy brings an edge to sustainable fashion
Cutting-edge fashion for eco-conscious shoppers has a new home. Helpsy is an online boutique that offers up beautiful and edgy clothing. "If fashion design, which tends to be edgy and kind of out-there, is going to meet with the eco-friendly and socially conscious movement, someone has to offer a platform that gets fashion people excited," said founder Rachel Kibbe.
Kibbe launched Helpsy in March, after spending several years working in and writing about the fashion industry. Before launching the online boutique, Kibbe kept a blog featuring sustainably-minded designers.
"I started writing on my own blog about fashion houses that seemed to be doing it right, doing it differently but also keeping the aesthetics as the first and foremost piece of their design process," she said. "That's kind of my unhealthy obsession: trolling the internet for really great designs that are made ethically."
Rachel Kibbe, founder of Helpsy/Photo: Margaret Badore/CC BY 2.0
Her next step was to create the e-shop, which was helped by the relationships she had already established with the designers she wrote about. "A lot of the designers I have on my site weren't willing to call themselves eco-friendly, because they wanted to be known for their design," said Kibbe. "Which they should be." But creating a site that focused on cool design convinced many designers to participate.
Since the site has launched, designers are starting to come to her. "People have been reaching out to me more and more, and I don't have to look for brands anymore because I have so many emails everyday from companies that want to be on the site."
One of the coolest features of Helpsy is a search feature that allows you to find items by their ethical characteristics. These categories include "Cruelty Free," "Upcycled," "Fair Trade" and "Local Production." This feature helps Kibbe communicate the value of each piece, beyond its aesthetic qualities.
"I don't think that people are going to pity-buy," said Kibbe, but she does want to bring transparency and communicate the higher value of sustainable clothes. "I try to tell a story with each of the pieces that I have on the site."