Lucy Pink, founder of ethical fashion app OnYou, said talking to her customers was a huge confidence-building driver early on in her business.
All Lucy Pink wanted was to find a place to buy clothes online, where she could be sure the items weren’t made in a sweatshop.
But after not finding anything that could help her the way she wanted, she decided to create a solution on her own.
Pink founded OnYou, an online marketplace that makes it easier to discover and buy ethical fashion.
The focus on OnYou is to remind consumers where their clothes are coming from and to show them that there are options outside of fast fashion supply chains, Pink said.
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“Businesses have made us very comfortable buying products that harm people and the planet,” she said.
“We have become completely disconnected from the reality of production.
“I think consumers have been lulled into a false sense of security that our clothes come from happy factories, when in reality they come from anything but everything.
OnYou started as a side project in 2019.
The first piece of advice she received was to go talk to potential clients.
“I ended up interviewing over 400 people. I would find them on forums, or by replying to YouTube comments, through Instagram, or by joining Facebook groups, ”Pink said. “I just wanted to understand the difficulties people face when trying to find ethical brands. “
Pink found that many of the people she interviewed were confused or suspicious of the rating systems used by many fashion retailers.
Brands can sometimes get highly rated by an ethical fashion rating system even without doing things like paying their garment workers a living wage.
“The fashion industry is a pretty complicated space, with so many moving parts. But I wanted to take all of those complexities and just have a space where people could go and find information on what companies are paying their workers well or are environmentally friendly, ”said Pink.
After refining the idea, Pink had to get to work to make it a reality, although he had no training in coding or web design.
Pink learned on her own how to datascraper (pull product data from websites for fashion clothing) and build an app from scratch.
“That’s when the momentum changed. I sent the prototype of the app to the 400 people I initially interviewed, but within a month with no commercialization, the user base grew to over 1,000, ”said Pink.
In the first three months, the app generated $ 8,000 in purchases for the featured businesses.
But Pink said that was just the start and OnYou had a lot going on in a short period of time.
OnYou has been supported by the Te Ōhaka startup incubation program as well as The Golden Ticket, a program that gives tech startups access to pro bono professional support, which has helped Pink accelerate her growth.
“We worked hard and got 70 ethical brands on the platform and over 4,000 customers who requested early access to the platform, so we’ve never stopped building this community,” said Pink. .
One of the biggest lessons she learned during her business creation journey was to always be confident in herself as a businesswoman.
“I think being a young lady in the fashion business trying to do something different, you can sometimes have awe-inspiring eyes when I say I’m making a fashion app,” Pink said. “But honestly, that only spurs me on. “
She said that user feedback and talking to customers is the best confidence engine for someone trying something new.
“It’s so easy to base your self-esteem and confidence on what the experts and investors are saying about your product,” Pink said.
“But keeping coming back to the customer is so important, they are the ones who will use the product and they are always by your side. “