GREEN is the new Black !
This week, we are thrilled to bring you an inspiring talk with Allison Georgopoulous, founder of MEER GUIDE, the guide to ethical and sustainable baby and kids fashion. An initiative that highlights ethical brands and shops, and provides essential informations to parents and professionals. Enjoy the reading !
1. Hello Allison, can you briefly present yourself ?
Minimalist, Type A Creative, passionate and often long-winded (as you’ll see below). Mama to a sweet and hilarious boy. I had a slightly workaholic 15+ year career in women’s fashion before I started Meer. I grew up in the US, in a small coastal town in Maine and spent a decade in NYC after college. Not too long after turning 30, I picked up and moved to Los Angeles, commuting back and forth. New York is still the place I feel most myself in this world. A few years ago, my family started splitting their time between our homes in Venice, CA and a small mountain town in New Hampshire, we really have the best of both worlds and I feel incredibly grateful to give my son that balance.
2. How and when did you found MEER GUIDE ? What was the idea behind this project ?
I started ruminating on the idea in 2018 and entered the research stage in 2019, quietly launching the website at the end of the year. I’ve repeated the mantra ‘it’s a marathon, not a sprint’ to remind myself not to rush it, pay attention to what people are finding helpful and adjusting as needed. I’m trying to build a lasting platform, a guide focused on sustainability in baby and kids fashion.
Like many mama owned businesses, I felt a need for it while I was pregnant. I knew very little about kids' clothes or brands. If I had to buy a gift, I would go to my local shop on Abbot Kinney and pick up something cute and organic, that was it. I started searching online for ‘organic baby clothes’ and noticed most of the articles I found were skewed towards monetized brands, meaning brands with paying affiliate links. The same mostly 10-15 brands on repeat; bigger companies, mass producing organic clothes, usually in countries not known for ethical production. It made me feel like I couldn’t trust the recommendations.
So I talked to friends, what are your favorites, why, where do you like to shop, why? I did a deep dive online into forums to try and find reviews. A big question I had when I started discovering smaller more sustainable brands was if the additional cost was worth it. Did the clothes last, how did they wear, fit? I knew I wanted to focus on reviewing these brands and started an earnest surveying system, asking friends and putting together a tester group. The group grew significantly when I opened it to Meer’s online community and received feedback from mamas worldwide. It was incredible. We just started publishing reviews, we have a lot coming online this year.
Simultaneously I started working on the brand guide. Essentially brand profiles with helpful information and a breakdown on how sustainable they are. We’ve already done sustainability q+a with over 100 brands and those are finally starting to hit the site.
I realized when talking to parents and sustainability experts, that everyone prioritizes different things. For some it’s the people, who are the makers and are they treated fairly. Others would mention the material, natural, organic, non-toxic dyes, certifications. For others it’s more environmental, what are their processes, wastage, recycling habits, carbon footprint. In the last year, there’s been more conversation about social justice issues, what are brands doing to ensure diversity and representation, what initiatives are they involved in. The idea is to be transparent with the info, so parents can make informed decisions that work for their families.
Our priority is really just to highlight ethical brands and shops from around the world and stay flexible. Besides our reviews and brand guide, we have a shop guide that will eventually feature hundreds of the best baby and children’s shops, including preloved. There’s also Meer Loves, our ‘best of best’ hit lists, general fashion content and interviews. The goal is to be a one-stop resource for parents interested in high quality brands and a more sustainable future.
3. As a “digital" professional, do you think that kid’s fashion goes toward a new era?
We’ve seen a real shift is brand discovery these past 6-8 years. You no longer need a massive marketing budget to build a brand. There’s so much more word of mouth and unique perspectives putting brands on the map and helping them reach global audiences. It opens up so much more opportunity for ethical brands to have a voice and communicate with their end customer. I love seeing how brands are spending more time expressing their viewpoint through their images, telling a story and helping consumers to see how the brand can fit in their lives.
4. With the MEER GUIDE, you are strongly focus on sustainability and we share this value on Little-tag platform. Can you pick up some pictures and name some brands you would feature on your magazine?
Ah how to choose, you have some fantastic brands. First up, LiiLU. One of my favs, ethically made with organic materials in Portugal and the quality is excellent. They’ve really mastered the minimalist boho vibe.
For more playful but modern brands, both Bobo Choses and Tiny Cottons. Organic, made in Spain, lasting quality that both Mamas and children love.
Actually, quite a few I’ve featured, Búho, Repose AMS, Minimalisma, Bonmot Organic, Oeuf, I could go on and on.
5. Last but not least, what would be your advice for young brands that would like to get into the kid's universe ?
No one likes to hear this but set realistic goals. Very rarely does a brand have overnight success. Plan for 2 years minimum of no profits. Better to be pleasantly surprised than unprepared. And play the long game from the start. You have an opportunity to set up your systems to be more sustainable and ethical from the beginning, so you know your true costs and have the right priorities. It’s so much harder to reorganize later.