On the road with Will & Bear

What started with a chance second-hand find on a Tasmanian road trip, Will & Bear has grown into a brand with a vision for change.

Loz and Alex are the pair behind Australian hat label, Will & Bear, a business growing with sustainability at its core.

All Will & Bear hats are made using natural fibres - Australian wool and straw - and the wool hats are made by milliners in Mongolia. None of this was by chance - sustainability has always been the backbone of the label for Loz and Alex.

And now they're on a crowdfunding mission to 'Keep It Slow' and develop their next range using upcycled waste materials. Think newspaper into beach hats, coconut husks and plastic bottles into vegan suede. Hooray!

"From the start sustainability played a major role in our designs and every business decision," co-founder Loz says.

"The fact that wool is naturally produced, biodegradable and renewable made this the perfect material for us to use. We ensure all our partners are Reach, Fair Trade and SGS approved. 

"We're committed to continuing a thoughtful, responsible and sustainable business and we think this should be the bare minimum for any brand looking to launch these days."

During a van trip around Australia's most southern state, the couple stumbled upon a vintage fedora, planting the seed for a brand with both aesthetics and ethics firmly rooted in days gone by.

Image via Will & Bear

"To be able to market this brand we needed to believe in what it stood for," Loz says.

"Will & Bear is a very personal brand started by a couple with a vision to help encourage change, so everything that Will & Bear stands for has always been what we personally stand for."

Loz and Alex spent more than a year sampling styles, visiting their factories, working on their brand story and building up a strong community.

"The most instrumental part of this was the community we built online before launching," Loz says.

"We learnt so much from everyone that jumped on board and they helped shape Will & Bear to what it is today - more than they probably know."

Will & Bear wide brim straw hats. Image via Will & Bear

So what advice do they have for others looking to launch a brand, while staying true to their values and mindfulness?

"Don’t be overwhelmed by how to help or make a difference, you can’t do everything at once!" Loz says.

"We’re not perfect - no one is! - but every little step in the right direction helps.

"Just remember to keep moving towards a cleaner future."

Check out Will & Bear's Keep It Slow crowdfunding campaign - which already has $10k backing from ING! - and you can pledge to support the next step in this Aussie brand's journey.


Popular Posts