// LOVECO: WEAR IT ECO - HOW WE CAN CHANGE THINGS WITH OUR WALLET!
Claudi sat down with Christina, a young powerful lady and the owner of LOVECO - which is Berlins biggest concept store for eco-fair fashion!
What can I say, LOVECO is definitely one of my favorite eco-fashion stores ever - and this is not only because of that amazing swing that’s hanging in the middle of the shop 🙂 I honestly have a feeling that we’re sharing a lot the same values. Not only are the pieces they sell really beautiful, trendy, hip and approachable - there's a lot of cool streetwear, but also if you're looking for some chiquer pieces, you can all find it there. All in all, the whole store just transports a warm atmosphere, a feeling of happiness…
But I don’t want to reveal too much now - I rather start asking Christina some questions and let her talk 🙂
Watch this short intro video of LOVECO to set you right into the scene:
In this interview, you'll learn more about
- What is the story behind LOVECO & which products can you find there?
- The passions, values and beliefs of Berlin ecopreneur Christina Wille
- Why Berlin is a great place to shop green & still looking stylish
- The current state of the fair fashion world
- What future visions and dreams are pushing Christina forward
LISTEN TO THE PODCAST EPISODE RIGHT HERE:
- Listen to the episode on iTunes
CLICK HERE TO READ THE FULL TRANSCRIPT OF OUR INTERVIEW
Hey Christina, I'm super happy to have you hear with me. You're my very first interview guest - thanks so much for taking the time!
To set us into the scene: can you give us a rough background of your way to becoming an „eco-preneur“? What happened to make you say „I want to create a concept store for eco-fashion“?
Yes! Interesting question! I started studying cultural studies in 2007/8. We had a professor who was very interested in textile production and fair trade production. He taught us a lot about organic fabrics, about the materials that you can use for eco stuff... I learned a lot about beautiful labels from Germany, from Europe, and they all had the same goal: They wanted to produce fair and organic. So I started to think about the production of textile.
And then, after some years, some other stations at the theatre and Greenpeace - I worked for Greenpeace at their Detox Campaign - I was thinking about opening my own shop, because there are a lot of beautiful brands, but not a lot shops who are selling these brands. But there are a lot of customers who want to buy these clothes, but there was no offer. So I started my own shop.
That’s great! If you feel something is missing, but people want it, just create it! But it’s also very brave - coming to a new city and opening a shop in this niche. Why did you choose Berlin to make your dream come true?
After my studies I first went to HH and then to Berlin to work in another store.. And - it was my dream to go to another city! I studied in Oldenburg, which is a small town by the North Sea. And after that I needed a bigger city! so I moved to Berlin. And I think a lot of people in Berlin are interested in these topics, sustainability and fairtrade…
Yeah, I think you probably a good choice 🙂 There is so much creativity around the city, and people are very open to try new things, new concepts of lifestyles…
Yes. And we have a lot of tourists. Not to forget 🙂
Haha, exactly. So what would you say, who are your customers? Are they mainly from the neighborhood, are they all full-on eco-minded, or is there something else?
It’s a bit of all. It’s a lot of people are living around here. Some people live in other areas, who would come here especially for the shop. I have a lot of tourists, definitely. It think Friedrichshain is very popular. So yeah, it’s both. Some people are interested in the stuff I’m selling here, some people just have lunch next door at Transit and then they have a look into the shop and browse and find something beautiful.
Not everybody knows about sustainable clothes. But then they come in and see, okay it’s all eco and fair produced - and then they’re surprised “Oh it’s not that expensive”!
That’s really cool! Do they ask a lot of questions?
At the beginning, some people came in and asked “what are u doing here, I heard it’s all about organic and fair trade and tell me more. But not everybody is asking.
So would you say that a lot of people also come in because they’re curious?
Yes definitely, they see the window and then they think “I have to check” and come in.
I really love that about your shop and your approach. The 'eco' is in the name, but there’s also a strong focus on aesthetics, on selling beautiful stuff. Things which draw people in.
>> I think it’s really important to show people that they can buy organic and fair trade stuff and it doesn’t look any different to “normal” clothes <<
Exactly! Okay, we already tapped a bit into it, but I want to dig a little bit deeper here: How would you describe your core values - how do you want people to see LOVECO?
I would like to show ALL the people, all my customers, that it is possible to change the textile production, and that the customer has the same chance to buy beautiful stuff like every other clothes in this world as well…
>> And that they can… They can change something with their wallet! <<
That’s beautiful. That’s a really good value. Now, what would interest me: Based on which criteria do you select the brands and labels you work with and sell in the shop?
Most important topics are fair trade, organic and vegan. So I’m looking for brands that have the same philosophy like me - organic and fair trade. And then I’m choosing the vegan stuff. Means: I’m not selling wool, no leather, no feathers, no silk...
For the organic part, I’m looking for certain certifications, like the GOTS - this stands for the organic production of the fabric. And the social aspect is very important for me as well. There’s the Fair Wear Foundation from the Netherlands. And they’re checking the whole production process. That people have normal working hours, are fairly paid and have rights.
Ah awesome! So it’s not just about the enviro aspect, the social component is super important for you too. I can really tell that you know what you’re talking about.
I try my best 🙂
And what else can people find when they come into your shop? It’s not only fashion right?
We have some cosmetics, we are selling Soulbottles - the first plastic free water bottle. They’re produced here in Germany as well, it’s a small startup.
Yes, they’re awesome! Soulbottles, people, check them out as well [link in the shownotes]!
[Laughs] Yeah, then I have sunglasses, I have some jewelry, some postcards, some bags...
How did you come to that decision, to make it more a concept store and not only fashion?
I think there are not so many places to buy sustainable stuff. When you show all the customers okay, we have sustainable clothes, but this is not the only part of life you can change! It’s good to drink tap water, or to think about your cosmetics...
I totally get that, I stroll through your shop and initially want to buy a shirt, but then I discover sunglasses or a new detox tea I want to try. It makes sense, it becomes an experience. It’s slow shopping, it opens up your mind. A great way to show people what other eco-fair products exist…
Right, next question: When you look into yourself, what is making you extremely happy about doing what you do?
I’m really, really happy when I see a customer. And she tries a dress and looks beautiful. And you see in her eyes that she feels very nice and she will leave the shop… That makes me really happy. To see she will wear this dress - and it will make her happy 🙂
Aww, that’s really really nice! And honestly: what annoys you? Anything in the eco fashion scene that could be better?
Hehe, well, at the moment it’s definitely a nice community! But we will grow. And I think, that will change the whole community. But at the moment, it’s very familiar, you can talk to everybody, everyone’s very nice and tries to work together as it’s best.
Sounds good… For GreenMe Berlin, I strongly believe into the power of linking sustainability with positive feelings, enjoyment and fun - although of course in essence it’s a serious topic. How do you think about that?
I think both is very important. You need to show people that it’s fun, because otherwise they wouldn’t buy something and change their minds. But on the other side, there’s definitely a serious part to it...
Because you have to think about how are the conditions for people who are working in the textile industry. How is it to work on a cotton farm, how hard is this work... So there is a very serious part. Yeah but I think both is important and when people come in and just buy something to know they did something good - that’s okay for me! But of course, I’m happy when people are more interested and ask me questions.
The great thing is to have people like you, who are the experts, who are very aware of the serious aspects. Who question things, who really try to make a change. And then bring it out to us in a beautiful, light way that we just enjoy and love to do and love to wear in your case.
You really show people: Hey there’s beautiful clothes, come into my shop, check out what’s there and then maybe also dig a little bit deeper.
Yes, I think it’s such a complex topic, which is really hard to understand for the customer. So it’s very important that there are experts and that we are trying to show beautiful things and give people the feeling "okay, she knows what she’s doing, we can trust her" - and that’s important.
Exactly, and the barrier just gets lower. I think a lot of people are put off through "sustainability is stressful, I really have to read into it, I have to ban stuff out of my life". Which is actually not the case. So it’s really good that shops like LOVECO and people like you exist.
And you 🙂 GreenMe Berlin!
Hahaha, yeah! Can you describe the most important things you learned since LOVECO exists? Have there been any „aha“ moments? What has changed over the past 3-5 years?
When I studied, there existed I think maybe 10 or 20 green brands and I would have never opened a store back then. But I think the brands are changing a lot. They’re thinking about “okay we need to be as good, as stylish as the normal brands”, but with a great quality, great materials and a good philosophy behind it. That changed definitely in the last 10 years.
And, in your eyes, what will be happening in the field of eco-fair fashion in the near future?
I think, or I hope that the customers will change their minds. That more people ask about the production. And I think that the big companies have to change. It is happening already. H&M are starting big campaigns about conscious collections and green fashion... which is green washing for me... But: they are starting. And they are thinking about it. Because customers are asking!
And it brings the topic to the masses...
Yeah! I mean, I would never, not in 20 years (!) would I say go to H&M and buy their stuff because it’s organic. But organic cotton, at the moment is just about 3% of the whole cotton market in the world. We have to change that - and we will only reach this with the help of the big companies I guess.
I mean, living in Berlin, it sometimes feels like a little bubble 🙂 But the offer is growing, the focus is a lot on smaller independent shops, that’s what people love about Berlin (locals and visitors). Most people I know heard of eco fashion and realize, hey it’s not this 'potato-sacky' thing anymore. It’s really nice and I can also pay for it...
I think There are lots of small brands and they will grow in the next years. That’s very interesting to see. And I hope there are a lot of new brands coming into the market.
Oh yes, me too. Now tell me, what are YOUR plans for the next year? Is there any vision or new path for LOVECO?
Not at the moment, because we opened our online shop just a few weeks ago.
Yeah right so people: there’s an online shop!! You can order online amazing!
And we ship internationally! Yeah, so for the moment, I have the store and the online shop, and I think we will work a lot on the online shop.
Right, to wrap it all up: If there was one thing you could pass on to the GreenMe Berlin tribe - what would it be?
>> People: think about what you consume. Think about what you buy. And change the world <<
Alright, strong! I love it! Christina, thanks so much for the great chat, for giving us all these insights & ideas… Please keep doing what you do - and help us all to look awesome while wearing it eco!
© Jenny Paetzolt, Portraitmacher
And you guys, make sure you head over to LOVECO in Friedrichshain, I promise it’ll bring a lot of sunshine to your day.
OR, if you're not around, LOVECO has a pretty cool online shop as well!
Of course, LOVECO is also part of the GreenMe Berlin Map. Want to learn more about some beautiful future-thinking places like this? Sign up for my newsletter and you’ll get a Free Green Berlin Guid to my top7 green places in Berlin to download.
>> Bye bye for now - and remember to keep it green 🙂
Disclaimer: the handpicked choices from the LOVECO Online Shop above are an affiliate link. That means if you order through that, it helps me to keep this site running, while the price for you stays exactly the same. Of course, I only recommend stuff that I know well, use and love. Thanks a lot for your support!
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