Trove: A Brand that Delights in Dignity
One of the challenges I faced a few years ago in transitioning my wardrobe to sustainable, ethically-made pieces was finding brands that I could afford, matched my style and provided me with outfit versatility. It was tough in the beginning, as prices are understandably higher for many ethical brands -- and finding pieces that were work appropriate in my creative-office environment was always an obstacle. However, we've been so pleasantly surprised and encouraged to see more brands emerge that offer both the style and price-point that works for our family!
I was recently introduced to the beautiful brand Trove, and have fallen in love with their business model and the variety they offer their customers. Founder and CEO, Jaclyn Dowdle, started Trove with the mission to provide sustainable clothing that was also stylish and affordable. The unique aspect of Trove is that they have a pre-order model that helps to cutdown on costs and make the price-point for customers more affordable! In other words, the customer chooses the style and fabric from Trove's website, and once purchased THEN the piece is produced and shipped! I love how that concept alone helps to cutdown on product waste as well!
Trove partners with Artisans in four different countries (soon to be 5!) -- by working with existing small business owners in other countries, Trove is helping to bring beautiful, handmade apparel from around the world to a U.S. market.
This Spring, Trove launched their Guatemala line, which includes the most amazing peachy-pink hues, olive greens and linen-whites! Throughout the post, you'll see me modeling their Betty Dress in the White Stripe! They also released several other sweet dresses, skirts and tops that are perfect and so breathable for warmer weather!
We had the pleasure of chatting with Jaclyn, and we know you will love the conversation on the heart behind Trove, how the brand is making an impact and even news on the next country they will be partnering with on their Fall line!
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I'm Jaclyn Dowdle. I've lived in Austin, TX for the last 10 years. My hobbies include renovating our mid-century home and taking our dog Gus out to walk, hike or play ball. I love a good garage sale or estate sale on a Saturday! And I'm pretty sure I collect throw pillows - a girl can never have enough, right?!
When did your passion for fair trade and ethical fashion begin?
I have always been a girl who loves fashion and how it can be used as a form of creative expression. I didn't really know about fashion's seedy underbelly until the last few years though. I worked for a company called, Noonday Collection, who does fair trade jewelry and accessories for about four years in their corporate office. That's where I started to learn how fashion could be a source for good in the world. With all my fair trade jewelry and handbags, it dawned on me that there needs to be clothing that is affordable, stylish and responsibly made too! With limited options out there with these stipulations, I knew I had to just create my own private label. Trove was launched in April of 2017 and I haven't looked back since.
What was your inspiration for starting Trove?
Like I mentioned above, I really couldn't find apparel options out there that fit my budget, my personal style and my ethics. I wanted clothing that was still fun and on trend. I love a good bold pattern and color! I'm also someone that isn't able to shop for luxury goods with high price tags. Like many women, I'm a girl who did most of her shopping at Target, Nordstrom's or Anthro - so I knew I needed to design into a price range that fit a middle class, mass market budget. Most important, I didn't want my purchases to continue exploiting people or the planet. I wanted more transparency in where and how my clothing was made and it just wasn't readily available.
How did you all decide on the name Trove for your brand?
The literal meaning of the word Trove is "a store of valuable or delightful things". Apparel has become mere throw-away items, to be tossed out once the season is over. I couldn't help but think that if people changed the way they think about clothing and the supply chain behind it, than maybe some of our habits would change. If people knew some of the alarming statistics around fast fashion that they would think twice before purchasing from some of these mass retailers that are seemingly just interested the bottom line. We use the word "delightful" throughout our branding as well. Our mission statement is to "rewrite the story of fast fashion for a more delightful existence" because I think there's a lot of work to be done on both sides of the apparel supply chain to make it more delightful. A delightful existence, to us anyway, is where people aren't just surviving or getting their basic needs met, but actually thriving in their respective families, communities and countries.
Your pieces are beautiful and unique to each country where your artisans live and work. What countries do your artisans currently represent? Any other locations you hope to explore for future lines of clothing?
We work in Guatemala, India, Nepal and Rwanda. We will be launching a collection from Cambodia in the fall of this year!
Trove does a really wonderful job of helping customers connect to the stories of the artisans who made their pieces. Why is this connection important?
Thank you so much. That part of our story is helping bring our Artisan Partners stories to the forefront. They are the real stars here. They own their own small businesses in their respective countries and we just partner with them to create our collections. I want our customers to know how hard working, resourceful and capable these Artisans are -- how access to a market in the states could make all the difference to their lives.
Where do you all get your inspiration as you’re designing each Season’s line?
It comes from all different places like books, magazines, trends I'm seeing in the marketplace or even styles from the past that I personally want to bring back. However trends are just projections. It's up to us as the consumer to make trends actually happen, so I try to design a collection that includes pieces that any woman of any size or proportion would like to wear. I want every woman to feel like she has an option that she could select from in each of our collections.
One of my favorite aspects of Trove is how your business model is really customized to each person that places an order. Everything from choosing the style, to selecting the fabric – it is such a fun way to shop! Can you explain why this model was chosen for Trove?
The idea of allowing the customer an opportunity to customize their piece is a product of the culture that we live in today. People want to feel like they're a part of the design process - its more personalized that way. A pre-order model also helped offset upfront costs necessary for purchasing inventory that we may or may not sell. As a new start-up, we're learning new things everyday so we wanted to be wise with our limited resources. We wanted to ensure we weren't purchasing apparel that might not sell and inevitably be shipped off overseas to sit in a landfill. That's such a big problem in fast fashion - mass producing and then not being able to get rid of the inventory.
Your Spring collection is beautiful! Do you have a favorite style or fabric from the collection?
Oh man, that's like picking your favorite child! I will say the white textile is my favorite. I would wear it in any of of our styles! It's just so beautiful and effortless.
It’s always inspiring to hear businesses talk about their dreams for the future! Where would you like to see Trove in the next few years?
It's so hard to say at this point since we're so new, but I want us to be able to employ more Artisans. If we can make a bigger impact in the communities that we work in and start making ethical fashion more of the norm versus the niche than that to me will mean we are wildly successful.
The Tassel Necklaces | Sela Designs
Leather Smoking Flats | The Root Collective
Note: Special thank you to Trove for gifting me the beautiful Betty Dress styled in this post! We love it, and look forward to sharing more about Trove in the future! For the sake of transparency, we were not compensated for this post and all thoughts and opinions are our own!