Revolutionising the fashion industry with The Fashion Advocate

Joining One Roof a few years ago was one of the best decisions I've made in my professional career. It's the epitome of 'community' and such a supportive network for women in business. Sheree Rubinstein has founded an incredible movement, and words can't describe the soul-enriching goodness that the One Roof experience has given me, personally and professionally.

This interview was originally published by One Roof, an online community for like-minded women. The original interview can be viewed here.

Claire has worked in the fashion industry for over a decade nationally and abroad in various roles. Whether its fashion design and manufacturing, styling, sales management, marketing, public relations and events' she's done it all! Claire has now found her place as an ethical and sustainable fashion advocate at the helms of The Fashion Advocate.

As a feminist and an earth-lover, she is dedicated to changing the fashion industry for the better. The Fashion Advocate launched as a blog and now has grown into one of Australia's largest online stores for ethical and sustainable fashion. Claire says that she "couldn't be prouder of the impact we have as a community to create positive social and environmental change."

A professional highlight.

A professional highlight for Claire has been meeting Carla Zampatti at the Women's Weekly Women of the Future Awards when she was a Top 3 Finalist in my category. Plus she is pregnant and due in July! She has put her baby goals on hold for the last seven years to grow a business, so this is a big life highlight for her. Plus, it came as a surprise but an amazing one, she says its the best thing that's happened since starting a business.

A life mantra.

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful and committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." - Margaret Mead.

This Margaret Mead quote informs how Claire leads her life and helps her push through the challenging business times. It's not easy running a business with 'purpose' as the priority instead of 'profit'. However, she believes there can be a balance. Living her life, knowing she's doing something good for the world is worth more to her than making millions.

Claire’s daily to do list.

On Claire's daily to-do list, you will find a little bit of everything. Social media, e-commerce work, blog writing, workshopping with staff virtually, emails, calls, styling and shooting creative content, cuddling her dog, a midday pregnancy nap.

Business lessons.

Claire says a key lesson she learnt in her career has been not rushing into things in the way she rushed into opening her second pop up store. She had set a goal to run one pop-up shop a year and hosted her first 3-month pop in 2019 in the lead up to Christmas. Due to such great success, Claire threw 'plans to the wind' and jumped into her second pop in March intending to stay for the year and make it a flagship store.

The week the store was meant to open, the first restrictions came into place with COVID, and within a month she was at reduced foot traffic, then within three months, she was closed and packed out. It was a ‘shit-storm’, but Claire made it work. Like many other innovative businesses affected by COVID; she made lots of changes in the business including changing her content direction and releasing new styling videos.

Claire and her team worked through it, but she should have stuck to the plan in hindsight and taken things slowly instead of rushing into it all. Claire says, "it's good to take risks, and sometimes you do just have to jump in, but when it comes to something as big leasing property and physically moving pieces in a plan, it's best to make calculated decisions, create a plan and stick to it."

Claire would tell her 15-year-old self...

All the stuff you're worrying about now - isn't worth worrying about. Stop trying to fit in and stand out like you were meant to. People don't like things out of the ordinary or different, but that's what you are - own it.

Her ambitions and life plans.

Over the next 5-10 years, Claire wishes to nurture a healthy family, grow the business, continue having a positive impact and somewhere in the mix, take an overseas holiday!

Her favourite love.

In case you were wondering, Claire, LOVES cheese. She'd generally order a cheese plate for dinner instead of a typical main meal if she were eating out. "Gimme cheese any day! I love love love a good cheese plate with a good pinot noir. I've gone 20 weeks without both - longest 20 weeks of my life!" she says.

How the pandemic impacted her business.

The pandemic was challenging initially for Claire. She was really strong and thought she was invincible; if anyone were going to continue a physical store and get through this, it would be her. But as things progressed, it was hard for Claire to stay positive, and when she chose to close down the store, she went into a grieving process. However, it was interestingly a blessing in disguise as Claire had her best online sales year. Claire learnt that letting go and not being in control can present some of life's best learnings; you have to go with the flow. If you're too rigid, you'll miss opportunities.

Her inspiration.

In terms of inspirational women, Claire says "Sheree, Founder of One Roof, is a bloody dynamo and I love her guts. She's been a constant inspiration from the first day I met her. I've never met anyone as fearless who takes business by the balls as much as she does and goes for it - she's an incredible woman."

Claire was a co-working member and missed the community and business support when returning to working from home. She says the One Roof community is such a fantastic bunch of women who genuinely care about everyone's success in the network; it's such a rare thing.

If you haven’t heard the news already, The Fashion Advocate has shifted away from polyester. Read the story here.

Revolutionising the fashion industry with The Fashion Advocate

Revolutionising the fashion industry with The Fashion Advocate

Revolutionising the fashion industry with The Fashion Advocate

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I spent my first five years in business stressed and in debt.

If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed, or if you're not making enough sales to survive, you're not alone. I've been there.

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