Interview with Jo-Anne Godden

Jo-Anne Godden
Jo-Anne Godden
Founder and Designer

Carbon reduction is 42% less than other active wear products
RubyMoon is a sustainable brand that offers vibrant, high-quality, affordable swim and active wear for women who want more design, functionality and ethics. Whilst being ethically manufactured and made from cutting-edge sustainable materials, RubyMoon also helps women set up and grow businesses across the globe. In a chat with Paulami Chatterjee, Jo-Anne Godden - Founder and Designer, Rubymoon, discusses about the inspiration behind launching the brand and why it took to helping women from developing countries.

Why the name 'RubyMoon'? What does it symbolise?

Ruby was my grandmother who taught me how to sew. When I was creating RubyMoon I took a trip to Asia and was inspired by a huge red moon hanging over the ocean-- the two names came together and instantly sounded right. 

How did you get inspired to launch an ethical swimwear and athleisure brand? Did your prior experience help you launch the brand?

Yes. When you start a business, they always say "do what you know best", so I pulled on my expertise of working internationally in lingerie and swimwear. But I wanted to create a business that created positive social and environmental impact too.  I was fed up seeing how fashion was creating pollution and modern slavery.

What was the initial seed money you started with?

I used £8,000 of my own money and then we raised further finance to develop our 'Gym To Swim' collection and take it to market.

How many people are part of your team today?

We have a small team, and some are volunteers! We are fortunate enough to attract committed individuals who really want to make a positive change in the world.

To support women, why did you decide to partner with LendWithCare.org in the first place?

The LendWithCare team are based in London so it was easy to meet them and understand their dedication, but they are backed by Care International, so the due diligence is first rate. I was looking for a micro finance partner after reading Half The Sky by Sheryl WuDunn & Nicholas Kristof  which details how this innovative form of loan for women can empower women and their families through enterprise. That was important for me, as I was a single parent with two young children to support and understood how vital it is for women to be able to support themselves.

Which countries are these women entrepreneurs from? Are most of them from an underprivileged background?

14 different countries that span the world from Ecuador, through 4 African countries, to Palestine, Cambodia and the Philippines. Yes, most of the women are from developing countries, where it is impossible for women to find finance to start and grow their own businesses.

What are the biggest challenges to ethical and sustainable brands to compete in the market?

The biggest challenge is having consumers understand the true cost of manufacturing to benefit rather than degrade our environment and working conditions- and then ask them to pay for it.

How does your supply chain network work? What regions of the world are part of it?

We work in a pan-European supply chain. The fabric is made from regenerated nylon collected in fishing nets in the North Sea and the Mediterranean, cleaned and re-spun in Slovenia and then finished fabric in Italy. We dye, print and manufacture in Spain. The carbon reduction is 42 per cent less than other active wear products.

How many collections do you come up with each year?

Only one -- our collection is basics only, no seasonal changes except the coordinating prints. The key to sustainability is to buy durable garments so that we consume less; globally, we simply cannot continue in the way we are purchasing fast fashion in multi seasonal collections that are driving us closer to human extinction.

How are you bringing innovation to your clothes?

Our Gym to Swim collection means that you can do more sports with less pieces. We also have launched a membership community, are designing for durability and circular manufacturing and are spearheading re-engineering of waste polyamide lycra textiles through an innovative initiative. This is the future of textiles and we want to be part of it!

Which are your major markets?

The UK and Europe.

How do you sell your garments? Do you have your own boutique or retail out? Or is it through online placement of orders?

Online only. We sometimes do pop-ups.

What steps are you taking or have taken to face the challenges of Covid-19 like order cancellations?

We hope that our membership will allow our community to spread the cost of their ethical purchases, as consumers want to buy better and less often.

You were going to launch 10 new products this year? How many have you launched so far?

We have taken a breather, but those 10 items will be launched in 2021 instead! The great thing about being part of the slow fashion movement is that customers accept that we are not going to produce seasonal collections that produce waste, we only create quality products that are ethically sourced, and we wont compromise.

What kind of investment you are looking to make in your company in future? What about the expansion plans?

We are currently seeking impact investment partners so that we can expand into new geographical markets. We have several countries that we want to expand into in 2021 which is really exciting! We will also expand our product range into Eco sports and leisure accessories too; the demand for these products is growing globally, as awareness about environmental pollution grows. (PC)
Published on: 13/10/2020

DISCLAIMER: All views and opinions expressed in this column are solely of the interviewee, and they do not reflect in any way the opinion of Fibre2Fashion.com.

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