Generation Generous, a promising Greek start-up founded by Natasha Athanasiadou, captures consumer power and uses it for good towards people and the planet.
Greek Start-up: Generation Generous
Much has been written and said about the Greek-American entrepreneurial spirit, however, most don’t know there is an exciting start-up community in Greece. The economic crisis has inspired people to embrace their own creative and entrepreneurial spirit as never before. Last time, I told you about start-up, PointGreek. This time, I’ll tell you about Generation Generous.
Working in the fashion industry brought Natasha Athanasiadou around the world and what she saw wasn’t glamorous at all. Her visits to clothing production factories changed her life, spurned an idea and a start-up aimed to make a difference.
The Fashion Inequality Factor
Born in London and raised in Athens, Natasha eventually returned to England to work in fashion wholesale as a business development executive.
“I discovered firsthand the extreme inequality between fashion consuming and fashion producing countries where people, mainly children, are deprived from basic life needs.”
Despite witnessing the life-threatening working conditions fast fashion employees faced, she firmly believed that fashion at its core is about creativity, innovation and beauty. She wanted to do something positive for an industry that she says is the second polluter globally after the oil industry. During one Christmas season in London she began to see the shopping bags around her in a new light — sparking an idea.
“Those bags represented the amount of money and power embodied in our purchases.”
That’s how her start-up, Generation Generous, was born. Natasha came up with a “generous” shopping bag that would capture that consumer power and use it for good towards people and planet.
Natasha elaborated on her vision for Generation Generous.
“I believed that if people knew they could do so much with their purchases to change the fashion industry, they would actually do it. I tried to make this shopping bag stylish, timeless, durable and as “generous” to people and planet as possible.”
Inspired by traditional paper bags, the Generation Generous bags are sustainable faux-leather.They’re custom made from 100 percent recycled plastic bottles (R-PET) that would otherwise be in oceans and landfills.
The business model is also generous. Production provides fair work. The price of a bag, at $130 USD, includes a standard set donation which goes to on-going global projects that provide people access to basic life needs such as clean drinking water, nutritious food, safe shelter, better health, and empowerment through education.
Since Generation Generous was established 2013, the company has sold nearly all of its initial 500 bags organically. As a result, she says the money donated has made a difference to 3,000 lives through employment and giving programs. She admits, there have been challenges.
“It has been difficult establishing something like that especially in a fast paced consuming society full of very cheap, accessible fashion. Our product’s price reflects its value and story.”
Making a Difference
Natasha splits her time between London and Athens. She travels the world for fashion – in a different way. She works as an independent ethical manufacturing and sustainability consultant for individual designers, brands and other businesses worldwide.
In the meantime, Natasha continues to grow her brand and she said there are signs she is making a difference. She receives much email feedback about how her start-up’s message has changed perceptions about consumption. Additionally, she learned of donations leading to employment of Taiwanese workers, now making a livable wage to support their children. She saw an Indian ex-trafficked 18-year-old girl’s smile after being accepted to college. She said there are more positive stories possible if everyone thought of being better designers, producers, entrepreneurs and consumers.
“It’s that ‘touch’ that I would like to feel throughout my business life.”
Generation Generous bags are available starting at $ 130 USD online and at various points of sale in London and Cyprus.
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