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It’s time for another Cocoon Conversations, and this time we’re delighted to introduce you to Marine who runs ethical marketplace and blog, Attitude Organic. After discovering Attitude Organic through Twitter, we couldn’t wait to find out more about Marine and her business. Marine shares with us the modern-day challenges of trying to live an ethical lifestyle, her journey towards becoming a business owner and also her favourite ethical brands.

Here’s what she had to say…

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

My name is Marine and I’m a big fan of ethical fashion, organic and natural skincare, yoga, travelling and a supporter of the vegan movement. I started being interested in organic beauty about 7 years ago because I wanted to find a natural way to treat my eczema. I was scared of the amount or corticosteroids I was using to get rid of it and I began to look into natural alternatives. I then realised that there was a full world of organic alternatives.

I then turned vegetarian in 2013, when I moved to the UK. To be fully honest, just by taste at first because I found the meat I could afford there absolutely disgusting! The more I had to explain to people why I didn’t eat meat, the more I questioned myself. I started researching and found out that the meat and dairy industries are a nightmare for the environment, so I decided to reduce my dairy consumption and transitioned to veganism.
I’m still not perfect and I’m continuously working on it. I can’t say I am 100% vegan but I hope to be there within 6 months. I am all about baby steps…I’m not a part of the super activist vegan gang as I find it can be counterproductive. My interest for ethical fashion then came naturally after I realised that fashion, like farming is an ethical and ecological nightmare.

What inspired you to start Attitude Organic?

I left London to move to Malaysia in November 2016. Considering I was already into ethical fashion, a vegetarian diet and organic skincare I was of course looking for products to maintain my lifestyle. However, they were extremely hard to find. The market in Malaysia is not mature yet in terms of natural alternatives and even worse when it comes to ethically made products. People just don’t know what it means and there is a huge misconception because of greenwashing.

I realised two things: I wanted to share the ethical and natural message using words and make products to adopt that lifestyle accessible for people. This is how Attitude Organic as a community was born. With an ethical marketplace and a blog, I want to give women (I wasn’t focusing on men yet) all they need to achieve their ethical, sustainable and health goals.

What challenges have youAtt faced on your journey?

As mentioned above, my main interest and core business is not popular in Malaysia. Thus, it can be hard to discover new brands naturally just by walking down the street. I need to do a lot of research and find reliable people to collaborate with and to help me. I got there eventually!

From a personal point of view, it can also be very hard to find vegan alternatives. There are none in the city I live in so I need to cross the border and go to Singapore to find products. But, I love my life there and you gotta do what you gotta do, right?

Finally, as a woman entrepreneur, I face hundreds of self-doubts and the journey can be very lonely. I am sure all entrepreneurs would agree on this. I could speak about this for hours but let’s focus on what is important!

Tell us about some of your favourite brands and why you love them.

I absolutely love Armedangels, their values and their aesthetic. It just fits my style, I guess. I have a LBD from them that I cannot stop wearing. It looks both chic and rock roll. I often pair it with vegan Chelsea boots.

Speaking about vegan Chelsea boots, I am going to share a secret with you (spoiler!!!) I am currently working on stocking a new brand on the ethical marketplace: Will’s Vegan Shoes! I loooooove their boots collection and I cannot wait to see them on my website.

For jewellery I used to be very minimal, but a friend of my mum does beautiful handmade pieces in France and I fell in love with her brand, so I got a few pieces from her. I also wear an arm piece I bought from a Guatemalan artisan during my travel in Chiapas.

What are you most proud of on your Attitude Organic journey?

First, I am proud of Attitude Organic itself, its aesthetic and its concept! I love that I do not focus only selling products like some of my competitors. (No hate here, I trust it is important to be kind and to support each other). I enjoy the fact that before pushing sells, I bring content and knowledge and only then products to help people.

And of course, I am proud of myself for creating AO. Honestly if you had told me 3 years ago, I would run a business, I would have laughed at your face. I did not know I had that strength in me!

What 3 tips would you give to people who are beginning to look at becoming more ethical/sustainable?

1. Start small! You cannot change all aspects in your life at the same time. You can’t switch your full closet to ethical brands, stop eating all your favourite products and cut out ALL your waste in once. I am all about baby steps. Choose one aspect, work on it, smash it and focus on the next one!

2. Be kind to yourself! If one day you make a mistake, do not beat yourself up. It’s ok, it does not destroy all the efforts you made the days, weeks or months before. Just keep going and move towards your goals. If you ended up buying fast fashion because you were in a rush, make sure you make it last and that next time, you are better prepared and able to anticipate. We do not need a few perfect people to make a better place but many people trying to improve.

3. Be curious! Not only it will make you happier, but it will also make you discover new brands, new ethical alternatives and will help you “convert” people around you. Read, listen to podcast and watch documentaries to keep learning about sustainable and ethical movements.

What are your plans for the future of Attitude Organic?

Let’s dream big: I want Attitude Organic to be the new Amazon! Do not get me wrong, I do not aim to build a multi-million dollars company at all and I do want to preserve the community aspect of AO that I love so much. (You deffo can’t feel that on Amazon, can you?)

What I mean is: if people head straight to AO like they go naturally to Amazon to shop, I will have achieved my goals because:
1. It means that the sustainable and ethical words are widely spread. Who doesn’t know Amazon?
2. That people instinctively go for green alternatives instead of fast fashion, made to waste, unhealthy and unethical products.

How can you not feel incredibly inspired after hearing Marine’s story? We wish there were more people in the world like you, Marine! If you would like to visit Attitude Organic you can visit the website here, or follow them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.