Kevin Harper wears his heart on his sleeve.

WE ARE HARPER ethically produce men's bamboo & organic cotton tees. 
"I started the business because I wanted to do something that added to society, rather than taking something away."

Wouldn't it be great if every new business took this approach?

I'm kicking off 2016 with the inspirational words of Kevin Harper, founder of ethical and sustainable men's apparel brand WE ARE HARPER. It's about time I shared something for the guys!

Kevin launched his socially conscious brand in March 2015, with a focus on giving back to the community in which it now thrives.

"I believe that any one person or business extracting more than their share upsets the balance, creating unnecessary friction. I hope to spread the message that we can live in ways that are mutually beneficial and positive for the communities in which we operate," Kevin says.

WE ARE HARPER white bamboo cotton tee (& mini heart!)
"We established a relationship with Future Unity who provide sports programs for disadvantaged kids in the west and south west of Sydney, so 10 percent of profits are directed to assist them in nurturing our future generation of community leaders."

It's taken Kevin a few career moves to get him to sustainable men's clothing - he's gone from finance to media and landed in the world of entrepreneurship.

"I think the market system does a great job of distributing goods and services to a community. Generally, customers get what they want, where they want it, people get employed, businesses make money and there's some wiggle room for innovation - it's a beautiful thing.

"But free markets don't capture all a community's needs, so it requires governments and benevolent entrepreneurs to make up the difference."

That's not to say it was an easy ride getting a new company off the ground - one that Kevin was determined would produce goods ethically.

"It's near impossible to source ethically made, 100 percent environmentally neutral products. You can stand still and do nothing or you can make a start and agitate for greener outcomes," Kevin Harper.

"Wear your heart on your sleeve." Haze grey tee
"I couldn't consider building any business without thinking about the broader implications of bringing a product to market.

"We've made policy choices in Australia that have just about shut down manufacturing in this country. In recognising this, we work with international suppliers, independently certified by ethical accreditation providers, to get a quality product that doesn't exploit the poor labour standards in other countries.

"I want to promote the idea that we don't have to exploit others to achieve the things we want, and we can do this when our primary motivation is not profit."

I couldn't agree more with Kevin's sentiment about making a difference in our own way.

"It's very difficult to live a completely sustainable life, but we can make choices that move us all in the right direction.

"An ethically minded business attracts other ethically minded people and building that community of people is possibly the best part of the experience."

Expect to see more of WE ARE HARPER in the coming year as they begin working with new stockists to expand their reach. I'm all for more sustainable products on the shelves (and more hearts on sleeves)!

-  Ash 
Socially conscious brand WE ARE HARPER puts people and planet before profits.


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