We had the good fortune of connecting with Emily Ward and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Emily, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
After 10 years of working in product development for various fast fashion brands I grew weary of putting more “stuff” out into the world. Products that were made overseas by underpaid workers in less than ideal working conditions all so that it could be so inexpensive that we wouldn’t think too hard about what we’re buying.
Every step of the traditional apparel production process creates waste from the energy used to spin fibers to the water used in dying fabrics to the approximately 20,000 miles a garment can travel from raw materials to our closet.
On average, consumers throw away 70lbs of clothing each year and and only 10% of clothing donations actually get resold which means that globally we produce 13 million tons of textile waste each year. The saddest part is that demand for clothing is expected to grow 3 times by the year 2050.
That’s why I started All the Tiny Rebels. I want to reduce textile waste and educate consumers about the wasteful nature of the fast fashion industry. I wanted to create something that would not only not contribute to creating more waste but would actually start turning the tides in reclaiming existing fabrics before they reached landfills.
Each piece I make is one less shirt bound for the landfill or downcycling. I’m able to give the original fabric new life for the next generation by upcycling them into adorable, one of a kind, zero waste children’s wear.
For now its just me, hand making each unique garment one at a time but the eventual vision of All the Tiny Rebels is to lessen the environmental impact of clothing, and to create as many well paying jobs as possible through a network of makers, making with love and the spirit of rebellion.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Like I said, I spent 10 years in the corporate apparel world learning all about production at a massive scale and running multi – multi -million dollar businesses. Stripping all of that away has been really rewarding and humbling at the same time. I’m used to working with large cross functional teams and giving high level direction. Now, I’m not only the business owner but the seamstress, accountant, marketing guru, web designer, sewing machine mechanic, warehouse worker and so on and so forth. I’ve hit 1000 more road blocks than I ever would have anticipated and it can be really challenging sometimes to keep plugging away but knowing that I always eventually figure it out really keeps me going.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My family and partner for continuing to support me in my crazy dreams.