"We are trying to get more people involved in our brand rather than just seeing us as a sustainable clothing company."
Silverstick is an adventure goods company located in the south coast of England. The planet is losing 46-58,000 square miles of forests a year and pollution can include anything from unseen toxic chemicals being released into our waterways to the many discarded objects you find when walking on the beach. And it is those people who love the outdoors that are most affected by these ecological issues. For this reason Silverstick is dedicated to create high quality, eco-conscious clothing for those who enjoy the outdoors. This is emphasised by their bird logo which symbolises the freedom of the outdoors and their commitment to create clothing in harmony with nature. Requesting their customers to ‘leave only footprints’, their natural fabrics are built to last and manufactured in accredited factories in Europe. The garments are then hand printed in the UK using certified inks. This week, Emily O’Dowd spoke to Sam Varney, the Co-Founder of Silverstick.
Emily O’Dowd (EOD) @BioBasedEmily: What has led you to this role?
Sam Varney (SV): The Silverstick ( @silverstickuk ) journey started in 2010 when a love of adventure and the environment inspired us to create a collection of t-shirts for people who enjoy outdoor sports and activities. We wanted to put the outdoors and sustainability at the foundation of our design. Our vision of big adventures with small footprints was epitomised by our ‘made for life’ ethos. Since then we have expanded our men’s and women's ranges and have continued to develop products with a strong connection to nature. We call them adventure goods as they are perfect for exploring the ocean, trails and the mountains.
EOD: What do you enjoy most about your role?
SV: There are many things I enjoy from creating a company right at the start; to discussing t-shirt graphics and learning about the innovative techniques that our farmers employ to grow their cotton organically. But I guess the biggest enjoyment for me is hearing how much our customers love the garments we create. I find it very inspiring and rewarding that we can bring people’s love of the outdoors and our clothing together to encourage more adventures in the natural world.
EOD: What is the biggest challenge that you have faced in the industry?
SV: The hardest task has been getting the Silverstick name recognised by a greater amount of people. We are a small independent company without a big marketing budget, so this means we have to be resourceful and strategic. Our social media channels have been a key contributor to our growth and reaching to more potential customers. It makes it a lot easier to create conversations around outdoor adventures. We also have an adventure page on our website that displays photo stories by creative outdoor people. We are trying to get more people involved in our brand rather than just seeing us as a sustainable clothing company.
EOD: What advice would you give for someone starting work in the sustainable/bio-based industry?
SV: I think it is crucial to understand your target market. You must develop an insight into what motivates your customers and build on why they love your product or brand. You also need to be true to yourself and what you’re trying to achieve. If you can combine those two elements together, you are on the right trail.
EOD: What single change would help develop the bio-based/sustainable industry further?
SV: Consumer understanding is the one that stands out for us. Silverstick specialises in organic cotton sportswear. We find the more clarity we can communicate the benefits of organic cotton clothing for the consumer, the environment and the farmers, then the more people get on board with what we are doing and leave only footprints.
EOD: Where would you like to see your company in 5 years’ time?
SV: That Silverstick is still true to our core philosophies of high quality and eco-conscious clothing for outdoor people, while increasing our customer base. I hope that this can then translate into a higher brand presence with a larger range on our website, including more technical garments.
EOD: What is your favourite bio-based/sustainable product aside from your own product range?
SV: As well as sustainable clothing we love natural and organic food. Nourish me is a nutritional therapist who posts healthy food insights on instagram helping us to make positive changes to our diet as well as our wardrobes.
Bio-Based World News will bring this 5 minute feature to our readers every week. This will able to put a face to the brand and provide established businesses and new start-ups the crucial advise they need in this industry. If you would like to be interviewed about your own bio-based/sustainable business then please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Last week's 5 minutes with... Irina Price, Director & Co-Founder, EcoOutfitters
For more stories like this you might be interested in: