I hope you’re all having a productive day. If you’re knew to Prettygreentea then you may not be familiar with Behind the Biz. It’s my weekly interview series where I chat to the founders of exciting brands and share their business journey. I hope that these interviews introduce you to new brands and inspire you within your own life.
This time we’re exploring the world of slow-fashion. I’m always keen to support and champion independent businesses with an ethical focus.
Today I’m chatting with Chris Tull-Williams, the founder of Erebus – the place to go for the best emerging avant-garde, slow fashion and accessory brands and designers.
Where did the inspiration for Erebus come from?
After working in high-street fashion for such a long time, I found that the soul and artistry of the current state of fashion is really getting watered down. Some say that gone are the days when people really put a lot of thought into their wardrobes and celebrity endorsements are all you need to know and I want to challenge that.
How did you decide upon the name of your business?
I wanted to combine some of my passions, ancient cultures, with the ethos of the business I want to build. Erebus is one of the first Greek gods, the god of darkness, which seemed to fit. The designers we work with have a darker aesthetic and they are innovators, forging their own path in this world.
Where did your interest in sustainable clothing over fast fashion come from?
This was a gradual evolution. Once I started to research some of the brands who had an aesthetic I appreciate, I noticed that a lot of these great brands are placing a larger focus on ensuring that they aren’t negatively impacting our environment. As a lot of the pieces for sale through Erebus are made-to-order, our brands are reducing our environmental impact by only creating what is needed.
I’ve always been a passionately political person so this just seems like a natural way for me to do what I can to promote environmental sustainability and ethical responsibility in fashion. Beyond the environmental concerns, we are in a moment where the larger corporations are squeezing out or buying up the competition increasing the distribution of wealth to those who can already afford a lofty lifestyle; at Erebus, we want to give a chance for these artisans to take back some of that power.
What did you do before starting Erebus?
I have been working for premium high-street and fast fashion brands for my entire adult life. Some of my experience allowed me to build the skills to not only run my own business but to help some of my brands who tend to have the creative skills but need some assistance on the business end of running a brand.
Did you always plan to set up your own business?
Not at all. For a long time, I was content to build my skillset and grow within these large organisations. It just happened that I came home one day and decided I wanted to do something more meaningful. It is definitely scary to turn away from a steady pay check and go out on your own, but it is much more rewarding.
What has been the biggest challenge in running your business so far?
The most difficult challenge that I’ve faced so far is just breaking through the super saturated fashion field and getting attention to our cause and our brands. As a small business who works with little known brands, it can be difficult to get attention. In a world where fashion is constantly getting faster, we just need to connect with clients who appreciate what we are doing.
What has been the highlight of your business journey to date?
The highlights really come when you hear from the designers how much they appreciate that I am shining the spotlight on their hard work and giving them the opportunity to pursue their passions. Our first pop up shop in November of 2016 was another highlight, when we had a full house for our launch party; it was extremely satisfying to see this online dream in tangible reality.
What role does social media play for your business and do you have a favourite social platform?
I was never really an avid social media user before starting Erebus. As fashion is a visual business, I’ve really focused on growing our Instagram account to showcase our amazing designers.
What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs?
Get out there and meet people. Don’t be afraid to fail, but you should build a network and work together to anticipate hurdles and get advice ahead of time. Also, offer help whenever you can, the good karma will come back to you.
Where do you hope to take your business in 2018?
We are working to find ways to expand the support we offer to our brands as well as increase their exposure. We are also working on some exciting partnerships and projects to bring a more interesting experience in our off-line presence with our series of pop up shops.
I want to say a huge thank you to Chris for taking part in Behind the Biz. I really enjoyed hearing about his business journey and I can’t wait to see Erebus continue to grow. I think more pop-up shops would be very exiting.
I love that Chris combined his passions for environmental sustainability and ethical responsibility alongside fashion. A business with a solid mission and passionate founder is one I love to spread the word of. Do check out the fab brands over on Erebus.