2020 was a year of many things, and it was also the year we started Stor-ey. Our Co-Founder Fanny Imsel has written down her personal journey of 2020 and what this, let’s call it, “different” year has taught her
Even though this year was a bit different than all the other years and doing a recap of the year has a kind of sour aftertaste, I still wouldn’t want to miss it.
It’s been a year that blasted off a new decade with a lot of unexpected things, but let’s just call it an experience. And I tell you what. It’s been an experience I wouldn’t want to miss.
As for many of you, also my 2020, started with a year full of excitement, I mean I just started STOR-EY, my very own first company. And I could sense that this year would be intense.
I have to admit that I was expecting an unexpected year – but like a little bit differently. I kind of expected the year to be fast-paced, I expected to travel a lot for work and I thought I would meet a lot of new people and do networking.
In the end, it is no secret what happened – None of this
And we all stayed home, worked from home, and cut down most of our social contacts and we started to think twice before going traveling anywhere.
Yes, it’s been a crazy year to start a new business, and I feel it’s really the best moment to write a personal recap.
So let’s start with the beginning of the year, at one point I’ve read a quote by Lutz Schwenke, founder of TwoThirds (a nice sustainable brand) and he said:
“I think founding a brand is a journey back to yourself, it forces you to define who you truly are and what you truly stand for, which is a great exercise…”Lutz Schwenke, Founder TwoThirds
Back then, I shared it with my co-founder Sergio and we both just agreed but didn’t grasp its actual depth. And as STOR-EY grew and we put more and more thought into it, the quote got a much deeper meaning.
2020 has been a year of self-experience.
If you want to be a real sustainable brand, you need to ask yourself a lot of questions. Also about your personal moral and point of view on things you just took for granted the way they are. And many of those questions are questions that are not really pleasant to answer and make you go out of the comfort zone.
12 months back, I would have never imagined what kind of personal journey this year would have been.
For STOR-EY, I did a lot of research around the topic of sustainability:
I read books, did online courses, and spoke to various people. STOR-EY’s mission is to share different stories of people and their journey to become more sustainable and conscious, and one of those many stories – is also my story.
And I wrote for you a recap of personal thoughts of growth of 2020.
Part 1: Becoming more sustainable
The change of perspective on fashion
Having worked for more than 7 years in the Fashion industry, fashion has always been a big topic for me.
But can you imagine that I was working for years for a shoe brand and never thought about where our leather is coming from and how it is tanned?!
I knew everything about how the shoe is made, every single step that spoke for the quality of the shoes. But I didn’t think one step ahead and question where our materials came from.
One of the first things we did with Stor-ey was working on our “Conscious Consumption Guide”, to provide the information to make better purchase decisions. Our intention was to make people think outside their usual habits and question the way we consume.
Also, I had to learn to question everything I knew, not just speaking in terms of production of the products, but also in terms of Marketing (Note: I have a professional background in Marketing). When I started to look at brands now I was not interested anymore in the cut, fit, and material. I wondered: How does a company describe/promote the product? What’s their business model? How often do they release new products? What’s their pricing strategy? And how often are they having promotions/sales?
I could endlessly go on here and bring up examples of brands that claim that they are “sustainable” but don’t do the things just quite right, but I guess I am going to save this for another article. But I suggest you read our article on “How to spot greenwashing”.
The seemingly endless story of packaging
We can start here from the packaging of the online shipment (a big topic in 2020!), but sustainability is not just about fashion. Also, the products that we use day in day out. Our toothpaste (& toothbrush), our cosmetics, and our household tools, but also how we store food. Plastic waste is everywhere. And COVID-19 surely didn’t have a good impact on that. Disposable single-use masks (ideally to be swapped every 4 hours), increase in delivery services and I can tell you that in my regular supermarket are now much more single wrapped fruits and veggies than one year ago.
I did a lot of swaps to more sustainable alternatives this year, but I know that what has been the easiest for me has been the hardest for other people. I think my easiest swap was to replace packaged shampoo and shower gel with soap and shampoo bars. I really never had this nice hair ever before – it’s so damn easy to brush, but I know that friends of mine used the same products and had the totally opposite experience and switched back to bottled shampoos.
When it comes to sustainable swaps, it is a little bit of experimenting with what comes easy and what comes a bit harder (like giving up your favorite snacks).
But it is important to be happy about every successful swap and get step by step closer to the topic.
The CO2-print of food
Living in Italy, food is a big topic. I always loved food and cooking.
Because of the increased time I spent at home due to Covid, my inner foodie has blossomed. My whole Instagram feed is now flooded with food pics. Our (=my boyfriend & mine) food habits have improved a lot in the past year, but I didn’t turn completely vegan. I am proud to say that we became much more conscious about what we’re consuming. We try to eat 90% plant-based and most of the food we buy is seasonal and regional. Like this, we’re already reducing our carbon footprint for quite a lot.
Even though currently I am struggling a bit because cucumber season is over, and it’s like a staple food in our home. But in my (personal) belief it is more important to be conscious about what you do than hustling to be 100% perfect in being vegan or plastic-free or fast-fashion free.
I don’t want to replace the pride of all my improvements this year with the pressure of not being enough (“sustainable”) and not appreciate every single choice for the better that I’ve made this year.
Part 2: Becoming more conscious
The thing about Feminism & Body Positivity
From the beginning, I knew that STOR-EY’s mission will be intertwined with feminism and body positivity because as it is important to me, I know it is important for everyone growing up. Awareness plays a big role when becoming conscious and education is the key to it. There are different forms of education like reading, online courses/webinars, and watching documentaries – and I still have to learn a lot more.
In the past months, my Instagram feed became super diverse, and I also learned a lot from it.
My Instagram feed turned into an oasis of people who used their voice to speak up.
But during that time I also saw a lot of hatred and (seriously disturbing) hate speeches. And it kind of flashed me. I somehow lived so much in my own bubble that I didn’t expect it. And I just understood (like really understood) why it is so important to use our voice against people who foment hatred and educate people and maybe inspire them to be different (and true to themselves)
The connection between un-sustainable activities and racism.
But 2020 had another big topic that was omnipresent and is interlinked with a “Sustainable and Conscious life”.
The Black Lives Matter movement left most of us with a moment of realization (like our dear friend Anna-Giulia who founded “Become an Ally” – you can read the interview with her here)
I guess at the beginning of 2020, most of us were quite confident about the fact to be anti-racist. But now we understand how deep the system has failed (and is still failing) and that our own perceptions and stereotypes are part of it. Here is a lot of work needed by every one of us and we need to be active about it. (Keywords: Educate yourself, question yourself, and reflect)
And racism also plays a big role in the denial of the climate crisis, because the one’s experiencing its impact already now are not the white male people but people of color.
Also, racism builds the fundament for fast fashion. (Keyword: Exploited workers). And Covid-19 also had its massive impact leaving many on the edge to starvation (because fast fashion brands like Zara and H&M don’t #PAYUP) but the world is still buying from them as nothing happened.
2020 was also loaded with politics driven e.g. by the country-splitting US elections. I am not really proficient in the topic of politics. But once you try to understand more about sustainable alternatives you start to wonder: Why is it so hard to change for the better? And then you are tied up with lobbyism and politics (Don’t want to say it: but, keyword: white male).
And sometimes these things made me feel powerless and without any impact. Just like a tiny screw in the system that has no chance of changing
But then I need to remind myself that every small thing adds up. And e.g. us as customers, we can “vote” with our money what we can buy.
But did you see a lot of big meat companies start producing vegan alternatives? Because the demand is there (One of the good things of our capitalist system: demand and supply).
2020 has been for me a year full of interesting insights.
It has been a journey for me, a journey that will not stop with the bell at midnight announcing the long-awaited 2021, the journey will go on.
And I learnt a lot about life, about the world, about me and about STOR-EY.
2020 has been a year of learning and just made me more sure about the importance of what we want to do with STOR-EY.