The ups and downs of building an eco-friendly business with Grace Beverley
The difference? They’re as sustainable as it gets. Hand-produced in Portugal, TALA uses recycled plastic, cotton and various upcycled materials to create a long-lasting, eco-friendly alternative to fast fashion.
Similarly, B_ND uses recycled and upcycled vegan materials, as well as packaging them in cotton and using biodegradable mailing bags, cutting costs for both the consumer and the planet. But how did Grace get both businesses off the ground? We caught up with her to learn more.
WHERE DOES THE NAME TALA COME FROM?
It’s a funny story, really—the name took me months and months to find because I didn’t want to take a word that already has a meaning and try and associate it with the brand, I wanted to take a word that has no specific meaning and make it mean something.
So, I went about looking for words in different languages that I liked the sound of. I found a fake translation of the word TALA and liked the name—it just stuck really!
WHY DID YOU WANT IT BE SUSTAINABLE?
I don’t shy away from talking about sustainability on my platforms as it is something I’m really passionate about, and whilst I accept that I’m not 100 per cent perfect, I always try to make conscious decisions about what I’m doing, buying, eating and wearing. So it makes sense for this to be the case with any business I build.
I also found it frustrating that I couldn’t find an athleisure brand that was affordable and sustainable, and I don’t think the two should be mutually exclusive. Creating something unique was really important to me because there are so many brands out there.
WERE THERE ANY PARTS OF THE MANUFACTURING/LOGISTICS/SHIPPING PROCESSES THAT SURPRISED YOU BY HOW UNSUSTAINABLE THEY WERE?
The entire process has been a huge learning curve—fast fashion has meant that even more expensive options can often be unsustainable, so creating on-trend, high quality, affordable AND sustainable clothing wasn’t easy at all. Sustainability has always been our priority, but we want to make sure that we provide options that aren’t just for the sake of being sustainable.
First and foremost we want people to buy TALA because they love our clothes, the environmental aspects are an added bonus. That way we can encourage people to buy sustainable options over other alternatives, without having to compromise on aesthetics or price point.
WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED FROM THE PROCESS OF LAUNCHING TALA?
No two brands are the same! With the success of B_ND, I honestly thought I had it covered, but a different industry, different processes and different team change the game completely.
HOW IS TALA DIFFERENT FROM OTHER ACTIVEWEAR?
TALA has upped the game in so many ways. We aimed to make it more affordable than most sustainable brands whilst also making the clothes very high performance.
All our items are incredible quality and very flattering, so you can be active whilst knowing that at every stage of the supply chain, workers and the planet are both being treated right. So many customers have said they’ll never go back, which has been so rewarding!
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE THING ABOUT THE LABEL?
This is difficult to say because we’ve wanted to make every part of the process special for the customer and I love so many of the little details. I love the fact we’ve tried to be as inclusive as possible with sizing, marketing and our website and I love that the brand is sustainability conscious right through from the product to the packaging.
I think if I had to choose I would say my favourite thing is that you can plant the swing ticket and it will grow into a seasonal plant – I just love that this is unique and that everyone who buys TALA can have a little TALA plant growing on their windowsill.
THE TALA CAMPAIGN WAS REFRESHINGLY DIVERSE – WAS THIS A PRIORITY FOR YOU?
I prefer the word representative because being ‘diverse’ can seem a little tokenistic, whereas the reality is really that the majority of brands don’t represent their customer base. From the outset, we knew we wanted to cater to as many different women as possible, whilst still being aware that as a start-up providing a huge range isn’t easy.
We currently cater to women from UK size 6-20 and we also offer a ‘tall’ option in the Zinnia leggings. It made natural sense to show off the diversity of the brand using AMAZING models of all shapes and sizes, as well as not just using inclusivity for marketing but at all stages. I wanted everybody to be able to watch the campaign video and get a true idea of what they would look like in TALA.
YOU ALSO RELAUNCHED B_ND, CAN YOU TELL US WHY YOU CHANGED THE NAME?
B_ND has been through a huge journey since it started a year and a half ago, and the name change represents what it has now become. I originally released the products as an extension of my own brand, but having such great quality and well-priced products meant that it just grew and grew, way beyond my own following. We wanted to rebrand to be more inclusive to all genders, abilities, strengths and tastes, so that’s exactly what we did!
WHAT MAKE B_ND PRODUCTS DIFFERENT TO OTHER RESISTANCE BANDS?
We originally released resistance bands and barbell pads in November 2017, they were well priced, vegan, designed well and came with a free guide! Prior to our bands, they were either terrible quality and plastic or good quality and £40, which is what I sought to change.
Beyond changing their marketing, making them more affordable and providing a safe space for people of all abilities, we now have workout and nutrition guides for all goals, making top-level advice available at a fraction of the price they would be otherwise due to our partnerships. B_ND has become a one-stop shop for everything workout based—home, gym, equipment, guides, community, you name it, we’ve got it!
HOW LONG HAS IT TAKEN TO TAKE B_ND AND T/ALA FROM CONCEPTION TO LAUNCH?
I started working on and conceptualising TALA at the beginning of 2018, so the process has taken quite some time. The thing is, I would never want to bring out products that I didn’t believe were perfect and I’ve come to accept that can take some time—it is definitely worth it when you hear everyone’s feedback on how much they love them!
B_ND began rebranding in around August and relaunched in April. The process took a lot longer than expected due to legal requirements, new products, and wanting to make a real splash with its new concepts. Both of them have been worth every second of their gestation periods.
WHAT DO YOU WISH PEOPLE KNEW ABOUT THE PRODUCTS?
I wish I could take people to see where and how the products are made. I’m really proud of the factory I chose to partner with on TALA because it has achieved numerous certifications for its experience and excellence in ethics and sustainability.
I’m planning to include some excerpts of me visiting the factory in June, to give people an insight into how and where the products are made! Each item has months and months of effort, designing, testing and perfecting put into it, and I’m really excited to show people more of the process.
WHAT CAN PEOPLE EXPECT TO SEE NEXT?
Before we even launched the first collection, we were already working on the second and third and I am SO excited for people to see what we’ve got coming up. The first launches (TALA Core & TALA Rec) are all about the basics, your athleisure necessities that will take you from the gym to uni or brunch with your friends.
The next few drops are going to be a bit more daring, colourful and lightweight – taking you from a run in the sunshine to a festival or night out with friends. We want to offer something for everyone, so people don’t need to compromise their ethics to look amazing.
WHAT WILL YOU DO DIFFERENTLY GOING FORWARD TO AVOID HICCUPS?
I’ve learnt a lot since I launched my first business two years ago, and those learnings definitely translated to the TALA launch. I think in future the plan is to get everything signed off months and months in advance just to avoid any hiccups. There are triple the number of issues that can arise when it comes to operating sustainably, so it’s all about problem-solving and preventative management.