A successful sustainable fashion label managed and made by women
Janneke Honings and Judith van der Wolde were having trouble finding sustainable fashion. And so they started their sustainable fashion brand, J LABEL. With their company, they are also working to empower other women. The pair has recorded their efforts in a mini-documentary about J LABEL.
J LABEL has received funding from the Dutch Good Growth Fund (DGGF). This is part of the Netherlands Enterprise Agency’s International Financing programme. Thanks to its help, J LABEL found the right factory in India. Most employees of that factory are women. The company is happy to help them discover their talents.
Watch the mini-documentary about J LABEL
The 2 female entrepreneurs have known each other for years. At university, they did not study fashion – they studied law. They found that the legal world was not the right place for them. Janneke: "I have always been into fashion. I even started a fashion blog. Then I learned about the world behind fast fashion. With J LABEL, we want to do things different."
Choosing a certified factory
After their first 2 small collections, Judith and Janneke wanted to make a real impact. To do this, they realised they would need to scale up. "We wanted to make clothes to order, so we began looking for a suitably certified factory. The Netherlands Enterprise Agency put us in contact with an experienced adviser. They went to India with us to choose a good factory in New Delhi." They selected a factory that is GOTS-certified. GOTS stands for Global Organic Textile Standard. The agency behind this certification inspects factories. They look at the fabrics used, the social conditions and the ecological standards.
J LABEL works to help women discover their talents. They name every item of clothing in their collections after one of the women who make it. The company also connects the wearer and the maker. It photos of both of them and shares their stories. For the same reason, J LABEL has also made a mini-documentary about the company. Judith: "Most of the people who make our clothes are women. We send them to work in safe conditions for a fair wage. We want to show our customers that they can help these makers discover their talents."
Coronavirus and expanding in Europe
Last year, Judith and Janneke were able to sell their collection to 30 shops. But just before their planned roll-out of the collection, the coronavirus pandemic struck. Judith: "In the end, the year went well for us, although 3 shops we supplied did go out of business."
"We have noticed that retailers are cautious because of the coronavirus pandemic. But we plan to keep going anyway. Our mission never changes. We want to create an impact by offering great collections that also make the world a better place. That is why we are looking past the current crisis. We want to become active in other European countries, including Germany. Hopefully France and the Scandinavian countries in a few years, too."
More information about DGGF
Would your company like to make a global impact as J LABEL? The Netherlands Enterprise Agency acts on behalf of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. They have set up DGGF to finance projects in developing countries and emerging markets. Our advisers will be happy to give you tailored advice without obligation. Email us: firstname.lastname@example.org.