- November 13, 2019
- Posted by Claire Goldsworthy
- No comments
We’re all about supporting our fellow #bossladies and backing good women doing good things. When women work together and support each other, the impossible becomes possible. There’s a lot of women we admire and respect and while we’re ‘Insta friends’ who double-tap each others' photos and compliment from our keyboard, we wanted to get a little more personal. So, we launched our Boss Lady List – a series of interviews with the women we admire, respect, and swoon over, because they deserve to shine in all their beautiful glory.
Grace Beverley is the first inspirational fellow female on our Boss Lady List, and what a woman to launch with and set the standard. Grace is an impressive woman; she has nearly 600k subscribers on her YouTube channel and over one million followers on Instagram, but we don’t love her for the numbers. Grace is an advocate for sustainable fashion, and a body-positive honest woman.
Grace uses social media to raise awareness on the importance of taking small and achievable steps towards a sustainable life, and she’s open and honest about the slow changes she makes personally too. In May this year, she launched TALA (affectionately known as ‘her baby’), an activewear label with a conscience, and it’s one of Grace’s best #bosslady triumphs to date.
The TALA fitness and lifestyle range is made from factory cutoffs and recycled plastic bottles; it's comfortable, affordable and incredibly flattering too. TALA is on its way to being 100% upcycled and is 92% of the way there too. Every new stock drop has been a complete sell-out, and we're not surprised.
Grace kindly took some time away from her busy to-do list and changing the world to chat to The Fashion Advocate about her journey so far…
You started out creating content about your fitness goals in a healthy way and went on to launching fitness guides and your first business, B_ND. How did your love of fitness come about and why did you start sharing it with the world?
It was never so much ‘I’m going to share this passion and knowledge’ at the beginning, in fact, it was quite the opposite. I started my Instagram to keep myself accountable because I just couldn’t work the gym out. I really wanted to get fitter and healthier after a few years of doing the bare minimum but wanting more, but I just couldn’t stick to it. I started my Instagram with an anonymous name and didn’t show my face until I had 10k followers, also blocking every single person I knew so they wouldn’t find me - I definitely didn’t ever think it would become what it is now!
You were studying while running a business, creating regular YouTube content, and being a normal human being. You’re an absolute #bosslady and we need to know your secret. How did you juggle such a busy lifestyle?
Thank you so much! The last few years haven’t been easy at all, in fact, they’ve led me to huge stress build-ups and ripping my hair out a good few times a week, but they’ve also been insanely rewarding. Prioritising is hard, but it’s so important - there is no way I’d be able to do my job without it! I’m not going to lie, I work multiple workdays in one and have done since halfway through my first year at uni (but have for some reason just thrown more and more on my plate). You just have to create habits! No one has that impressive a work ethic, it’s all about knowing what your goals are and making small steps every day to reach them. My goals were to get my degree, build multiple really cool businesses and still maintain my social life - if I’d looked at it from that big a picture at any point I probably would’ve imploded, so instead for each step of the way I’ve just taken it day by day. Oh, and I can’t remember the last time I watched TV in the evening without also doing work.
Your YouTube channel is an open conversation about relationships, sex, body confidence and all the fun stuff that come with adolescence and young adulthood. Why are these topics worth discussing openly and did you face any difficulties talking so openly about ‘taboo’ topics online?
Anything worth talking about will bring you criticism, but I’d rather put these topics out on my platform and create a discussion than being quiet for the sake of appeasing everyone. I have a platform, and although I love talking about fitness, fashion and beauty, I also think there are many significantly more important things you can and should talk about with such a wide audience. I would rather stay completely silent online than leave issues such as women’s rights untalked about. Being able to stay unpolitical is such a privilege, and it’s not a privilege that I wish to abuse.
You’re a woman after our own hearts and a fellow advocate for sustainable living. Was it a lightbulb moment when it came to the importance of sustainability or is it something you’ve been learning about over time?
I’d love to say that I was born an ethical warrior, or that I instantly changed all my habits when I heard a snippet of the realities of some of the damage we’re doing to our planet, but truly I don’t think many people have, and I think that rhetoric creates a few issues when encouraging people to make changes. We’re all guilty of cognitive dissonance - we all know about sweatshops and factory farming and the melting ice caps but we continue to change very few habits if any. Over the past 3 years, I’ve gradually made the change from omnivore, to pescatarian, to vegan, to a vegan business owner, to sustainable and ethical business owner - it certainly hasn’t been overnight, but now the changes are coming thick and fast. I think ignorance was one of my weak points, knowingly too. As soon as I started to actually confront this head-on I was able to start making small, manageable changes to my lifestyle. I think it’s so easy to look at someone and everything they do for the planet and see it as overwhelming, but 3 years ago I was eating meat at every meal and using single-use coffee cups for ignorant convenience, and now my businesses are up for sustainability awards. We all start somewhere, I’m still far from perfect, but every little change really does matter.
In the ‘social media world’, there’s no escaping criticism. When people post comments about you not being ‘100% waste-free’ or criticise your decisions, how do you respond?
I am very conscious that I’m not perfect, and also that no matter how hard I try to be, I will be hounded for not being good enough. I think the reality is that once you state you’re interested in doing good, everything ‘bad’ or ‘not good enough’ that you do is called out - I often envy influencers who post without fear of scrutiny from this type of thing, but truly I think it’s just how it is when you open these discussions. I check myself far more than anyone checks me, so as long as I genuinely stand by my decisions, I’m happy!
The success of your ethical and sustainable activewear brand TALA has been enormous. The sustainable fashion industry is a tough mistress and many brands find it difficult to compete with their fast fashion counterparts. How did TALA beat the odds and become such a success?
We have been so incredibly fortunate since our launch in May - not once have we not sold out the majority of a collection within minutes, and I am SO grateful for the support we’ve received. I think the reasons for TALA’s success are tenfold, with a clear top two contenders. Firstly, we absolutely cannot downplay the huge relevance of my following here - they are SO supportive and lovely, and have welcomed TALA with open arms. Being able to market directly to a million targeted people is invaluable, and the brand’s success absolutely has that to thank. Secondly, I do think we’ve really identified a gap in the market for athleisure-wear that matches the prices of its unsustainable, fast-fashion competitors, whilst having all the benefits of being made from recycled and upcycled materials with ethical manufacturing practices. Our customers do not need to compromise on ethics, sustainability, trend or high-performance gear or anything in between. We have truly presented a midway solution between no consumption at all and fast fashion, between high-priced sustainable goods and £5 dresses made in terrible conditions, and we’ve done this all whilst creating some really cool pieces.
What are your plans for TALA and what are your hopes for the sustainable fashion industry as a whole?
We have SO many plans for TALA that it’s almost overwhelming (but mostly exciting!). A few of them are coming very soon, so keep an eye out! In terms of the sustainable fashion industry, I have high hopes. I think the rise in sustainable brands and change in consumer habits are really scaring some of the big fast fashion brands and truly hope for change, no matter how much competition it creates for us. I hope that fast fashion brands can move beyond greenwashing with recycled collections when they incinerate their old stock and that they stop talking about female empowerment when the 250 million women worldwide are living in horrendous conditions being paid far less than our minimum hourly wage per day to make their clothing. I think people are really starting to ask questions and vote with their money and seeing through some of the BS - long may it continue!
If you could grab a coffee with anyone, alive or dead, who would you choose and why?
This is such a tough one, I have so many! I think Michelle Obama is incredible and would be so over the moon to meet her, then there are about 1000 other powerful women who’d make this list too. I could go on forever!
Support our fellow #bossladies and follow Grace’s journey on Instagram here.
The Fashion Advocate x