Rachel Pines of Moonbird Designs
At Kindred, we are very much aligned with fair trade values. In this post we’d like to introduce Rachel Pines of Moonbird Designs.
Rachel is a business owner who has experienced the benefits of mentorship herself, not to mention she has encountered all of the common challenges of building a business from scratch. We’ve asked her a few questions about Moonbird Designs: goals, challenges, and the role of good mentorship. An interesting take home in the interview is that Rachel turned to someone that had experience in her space, Mel Tually, for marketing and brand advice. This is what Kindred hopes to promote – learning from others that have been in your shoes.
Rachel, can you tell me a bit about Moonbird Designs?
We are an ethical clothing brand specialising in pajamas, that provides the conscious consumer with a beautifully-designed and handmade product. Our customers can be comfortable knowing that every care has been taken for Moonbird products to tread lightly upon the world in its production, and also that there has been respect maintained to all those who have helped in its making.
How did you get started?
I personally wished that there was ethical clothing available to purchase, because I understood the value of fair trade. When I realised it was not readily available, I thought I had to do something about it!
What was your motivation for creating an ethical business?
I couldn’t do it any other way. I love the business model of fair trade, where each person is respected and has a voice and that not only do the employees gain from their involvement with the business but their families and communities and local charities benefit, too.
How would you say your business and fairtrade business more broadly, tangibly helps others?
In my case, we help by supporting the organic cotton industry because it grows the organic movement and protects the environment. Also, by supporting fair trade it encourages others to do so to.
What were some stumbling blocks you encountered as you got started, and some advice you’d give others from that learning?
Always get a sample! Don’t rely on a photo. And ask questions all the time, even if you think it makes you look dumb, even if you already know the answer as sometime it’s easier than being confrontational.
What are some of the biggest lessons from your learnings to date?
Try not to say you will never do something, because as information and research change and evolve daily, you will end up eating your words and it’s easier to keep an open mind. It has been wonderful to be a part of the ethical community because everyone you meet on the whole is more supportive of other businesses and it’s been great to collaborate so much.
What is your goal ultimately with your business?
To be the first fair trade fashion brand in a department store. Here’s to the future of fashion!
Have you had a mentor and what difference did it make?
Yes, quite early on I contracted Mel Tually from I Ran The Wrong Way to help me with marketing and brand strategy. This was invaluable, as I had no experience in these areas. Even just having somebody to talk through your decisions with is important, and when you’re trying to decide everything by yourself, you can become quite uncertain about all your decisions.