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Fairbee is leaded by Saja Chander. She studied Law and International Business Management and worked in the banking sector for 15 years, which she combined with co-owning a clothing store for many years. She resigned in 2014, because she wanted to use her knowledge and experience in the sustainability space. After that, between 2014 and 2019 she did international projects in the sustainability area before starting the company that led to Fairbee in 2019.
How did you decided to create Fairbee?
These past seven years I noticed the gap between consumers searching for sustainable products, not knowing where to start looking or how to distinguish sustainable from greenwashing, and conscious brands which were looking for these consumers. By enabling them to connect, we can accelerate the transition towards a more conscious lifestyle. This will lead to more sustainable and accountable production chains.
Why a sustainable fashion marketplace?
We have a shop, an online magazine, podcasts and a buyback program, all set up to close the earlier mentioned gap and to enthuse and inspire consumers toward a more conscious yet stylish lifestyle. Therefore, it is a platform, not a marketplace.
We really love the principles you work according to, your visual line is amazing. Is that what makes Fairbee different from other eco-conscious shopping platforms or there is something else?
I hope every company has similar principles like we have. These should be the basis of all futureproof companies. What distinct us from the rest is our Big Hairy Audacious Goal, which is to make Fairbee unnecessary. Meaning that sustainable by design has become the standard for consumers and companies and Fairbee becoming superfluous. We have committed ourselves to dissolve Fairbee when this standard is reached.
How was the beginning, how has been the way and in which situation is the company now?
I started the company myself but knew that I needed a dedicated, knowledgeable, ambitious, fun team and funding to take it to the scale of positive impact I was envisaging. Together with the team we managed to secure funding. Fairbee was relaunched on 1 September 2021, amidst the pandemic. In six months, 60 brands committed to our shop, we launched an online magazine, a podcast, a Fairbee essentials collection, the Fairbee Buys Back program and more great things to be announced shortly. Yes, we are proud and gearing up.
We found more than 45 sustainable brands in your marketplace. How do you select the brands?
At this moment, we have 60 committed brands. Some of them are still in the onboarding process. We are looking for companies that are sustainable by design, meaning established to generate positive impact in the area we are focusing on: environment, workers and animal welfare.
How do you ensure they respect eco/ethical commitments?
We are selecting companies which are sustainable by design. To do so, we have our own database based on research, experience and network. It is our policy that companies, which do not have the companywide certification we use on Fairbee, will acquire this within a given timeframe; a four out of five rating on environment, workers and animal welfare. At all-time transparency is key, because it is a complex process.
Are sustainable certifications important for your platform? Which ones do you have?
Yes, they are! Our main pillars are environment, workers and animal welfare and within these pillars you have many certifications like GOTS, PETA, B-Corp, etc., but it would be limited to focus on a few only. That is why, we are aiming for the overall picture. For Fairbee, we are aiming for a B-Corp certificate in the future.
What is your goal here? How many brands would you like to sell in the future?
Thousands, we have a big hairy audacious goal.
Dresses, Jewllery, Bags, Deco… what do you sell the most?
Nowadays, we sell most fashion; clothes. It depends a bit on the season, but we expect the majority of the sales will remain fashion items.
Is Fairbee expensive?
The product range we offer at Fairbee is aiming for midrange, so high quality for reasonable prices. We are looking for beautiful, stylish high-quality products and great stories.
Fairbee just introduced Fairbee Buys Back Guarantee. Can you explain what is it and how does it work?
We aim to contribute to a circular economy. We extend the lifecycle of the products and prevent them from ending on a landfill. We recently launched Fairbee buys back guarantee. Every product purchased on Fairbee will be bought back, offering our clients two alternatives: either a purchase voucher in combination with a m2 from Earth Today, for the preservation of our planet, or cashback. The received items will be handed over to our partners such as a 2ndhand store, clothing library, upcycle or recycle company or donate them.
You also have a Podcast, can you tell us more about it?
We have just launched our 3rd Podcast, wherein you can listen to the stories of the people behind the brands and where we inspire and enthuse you towards a more conscious lifestyle. Every step counts. For the moment, the podcast is in Dutch.
Now that everybody is talking about Metaverse and Virtual Fashion…is Fairbee working on something connected to this techno-future?
Yes we do. The Metaverse will be a fact and we believe that virtual fashion will play a significant role in the future. Although we find it a precarious balance between less physical production and the major footprint of designing, creating and storing virtual products.
So, what are the future plans of the company.
The next phase is to scale up: more to choose for the clients, more countries and more interesting projects/initiatives, because we would like to reach our Big Hairy Audacious Goal in ten years. We are looking forward to a world where everything is sustainable by design.
Any events, pop-up stores you are planning to celebrate?
We are in the process of making our first capsule collection and of course we are going to celebrate our 1stAnniversary in a Fairbee way, so definitely more to be announced.