Conscious Step sells the one product that we need (almost) every day: socks.
Why are these socks special? For one, Conscious Step insures that 100% of their manufacturing process is as good as it gets. This includes a well paid adult staff, auditing from the Business Social Compliance Initiative, meeting the Global Organic Textile Standard and meeting Oeko, the Tex Confidence in Textile standard for harmful substances.
That's just half the story.
Each sock design is paired with a social cause. The initiatives vary from giving books, donating water through Matt Damon's Water.org and to treating HIV.
These causes are sourced directly from the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
Prashant Mehta, CEO and Co-Founder, took some time out of his December schedule to give us an inside look at Conscious Step.
Thank you for taking the time! What socks are you wearing right now?
Socks for Hunger (stripes). Funny thing, I wore them with a suit last week and today I'm wearing them with sweatpants.
Does Conscious Step have a preferred shoe company?
There are a few vegan brands we like to support (Will's London, Seer footwear, Olsenhaus) but we like to mix it up based on mood, outfit and vibes. Our team's goal is always to make it comfortable and fashionable to incorporate Conscious Step in a diverse range of lifestyle choices. We tell the story congruent to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, alongside the resources available in the ethical fashion space.
Your factories are in New Delhi, India. If you had one recommendation for someone visiting the area, what would it be?
The Taj Mahal is a few hours away. I did the trip myself. Seeing one of the wonders of the world really helps put life into perspective.
Also, you can take a camel to see the sunrise.
Why focus on multiple causes instead of one?
While starting Conscious Step, our co-founder Hassan was working at the World Health Organization where he became aware of the United Nations Development Goals. These goals are structured to help people understand the root causes of poverty.
We felt that the world needed to understand the root concerns of poverty and be empowered by solutions. We were passionate about sharing the stories of people and organizations making sacrifices for a better tomorrow.
We wanted to share with people Conscious Steps :)
I love that you state your last visit to your manufacturing factories on your website. In your opinion, how often should organizations visit their manufacturing partners?
It’s important to understand your own supply chain. It’s easy to blindly throw words such as fair trade, organic, non-toxic, etc. If you haven’t been there and experienced the work that goes into making your product and why you’re paying premiums for better quality and honest labor conditions, then it’s hard to say that what you’re standing for is truly congruent to your values.
If you haven’t been there and experienced the work that goes into making your product and why you’re paying premiums for better quality and honest labor conditions, then it’s hard to say that what you’re standing for is truly congruent to your values.
With annual visits, your product ends up better and your relationship with your suppliers improve. Real relationships are always managed with care and for our team it came naturally. It was, and still is, our mission to understand more about world supply issues.
We see more and more organic cotton on the market. How does using organic cotton impact our lives, our environment and the lives of the factory workers?
A big issue into today’s world of fast fashion is that many of us get caught in the latest style as companies like H&M’s shelves evolve every day.
The common consumer doesn’t understand how it’s possible for products to reach the market at such a low price point. In many cases pesticides are used in the farming of regular cotton, toxic dying processes are also used and synthetic fabric consumption ends up leading the world to a constant stream of environmental issues.
Producing organic apparel not only improves the health of farmers, but the process uses much less water and prevents the pollution of toxic chemical waste.
It’s simply a matter of doing our best to apply what we learn about premium products into eco-friendly consumption. Educating the customer on this issue shares the same value of the problems we try to expose.
On your site you list fashion as the second leading cause of pollution in the world. Can you elaborate?
Last year I saw a movie called The True Cost. [Editor's note, the movie is now available on Netflix]
While I’ve always done my best to educate myself on the global consumption issues with sustainable development, this movie really put in perspective how terrible the conditions in the fashion industry have become. Pollution spreads in all directions - from the poor removal of waste to the inability to recycle the products that have a 3-5 wear lasting cycle. Factories are forcing mass amounts of people into small vicinities to meet unrealistic deadlines and synthetic and toxic fabrics are destroying the workers health, their water and the environment around them.
Pollution spreads in all directions - from the poor removal of waste to the inability to recycle the products that have a 3-5 wear lasting cycle.
Who inspires you?
Inspiration comes from a variety directions. The journey of connecting myself to our amazing non-profit partners around the world has brought a powerful perspective on the harsh realities facing our planet today. They're are problems with solutions that badly need awareness.
Two entrepreneurs I’ve always admired are Richard Branson and Elon Musk. I also admire the people who continue to make sacrifices for a vision of something greater than themselves.
The best part is the reminder that failure can be an undisguised blessing.
The founders of Conscious Step are split between New York and Sydney. Which city is the best?
It’s nice to have the best of both worlds.
New York has a stronger sense of opportunity through network, energy and drive. It empowers your dreams through resources.
Sydney is nice when it’s freezing in New York and your head needs a rest and your lungs some clean air. The grass is always greener so coming from the U.S going towards Australia is very nice, but many Australians would say the same about New York.
Thanks for doing this. Where can people learn more about you guys?
ConsciousStep.com and @consciousstep on social. It’s going to be an exciting 2017 with amazing stories to tell and upcoming launches with Oceana and Oxfam International in January 2017! We always appreciate feedback!
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