In today’s interview, we caught up with Jules Schneider, founder of The Lingerist. If you love lingerie and supporting ethical brands, we sure you’ll enjoy this.
Jules shared the story of how she started The Lingerist, what her goals are, and how she approaches sustainability at her company.
Hello! Who are you, and what do you do?
Hi there! I’m Jules and the founder of The Lingerist.
At The Lingerist we curate and sell affordable, sustainable and ethical lingerie from small independent labels that make you feel beautiful and are hard to find anywhere else.
What were your main inspirations for starting The Lingerist?
I’ve been a lingerie nerd for as long as I can remember. When I moved to Amsterdam to study fashion management, I started to gain experience working with lingerie through various side jobs and internships.
After graduating, I started to work for a big corporate sportswear label, but soon I knew I wanted to get back to my lingerie passion and explore the entrepreneur in me. Through years of personal research I had built a database of exciting independent and sustainable labels that I loved but couldn’t find anywhere in stores.
My inspiration for The Lingerist came from wanting to tell their stories and show women that there is more choice out there than the dominant fast fashion lingerie labels.
What is unique in your approach to selling lingerie online?
When you visit our website, you will see that most of the pictures don’t show professional models but women of all shapes and sizes.
They photograph themselves in the way they want to be seen, which is very empowering!
Our lingerie caters to a vast size range (we currently offer over 60 bra sizes!) and we want our images to reflect this.
It is our goal to be the first fully-user generated lingerie shop to celebrate diversity, authenticity and the beauty of the female body.
How did you get The Lingerist off the ground?
The day the lockdown started in March 2020 was also the first day that I started working full time on The Lingerist.
It made me work harder because I knew it would be extremely difficult to find a job during a pandemic if The Lingerist were to fail.
In some ways, the lockdown was beneficial, as some women prefer to buy lingerie offline, but since the stores were closed, they were able to experience the benefits of free shipping, free returns, and afterpay, allowing you to fit multiple sizes comfortably at home.
What were the main challenges and learnings you had?
I try to approach challenges with one of my favorite quotes in mind: “The first step is the hardest”.
Taking on new challenges energizes me and with every day I need to learn new skills. Now that our team is growing our current challenge is to create optimal workflows to make sure our customers have the best possible experience when shopping with us.
How do you ensure The Lingerist stays true to your mission as you grow?
Our unique offer is defined by small and sustainable lingerie brands. Their values lie with sustainability and ethical labor rather than fast production.
We cannot place a huge order with them and expect it to be delivered the next week. We respect that, so we plan carefully and a long time in advance, making sure that our partner brands have the time and resources to manufacture with a good conscience and sticking to their principles.
What do you think the main challenges are in the fashion industry today? How do you approach these?
In my opinion, the biggest challenge is greenwashing. It is difficult for consumers to distinguish which companies really stand behind ethical and sustainable production and which labels promote pseudo-sustainability with marketing purposes in mind.
Whenever we launch a new brand, we speak with the founder, make sure to know them personally and ask very specific questions about their collections and production.
We ask every brand to supply video material from the production facility (as unfortunately during the pandemic we cannot visit the factories ourselves) which we put on our website.
We not only want our customers to know that the items they buy are consciously made but also that there are real people behind each brand who personally vouch for sustainable and ethical production.
What are some of the main things people should look at when buying from a sustainable brand? How do people avoid greenwashing today?
It is very difficult. In my opinion one should look at the specificity of the information displayed on the website. The more specific in terms of certifications, production facilities, supply chain or fabrics used, the higher the chance that this brand cares for sustainability.
I generally stay away from brands that communicate about sustainability in an unclear way like for example: “we are committed to working towards ethical and sustainable practices” without any further explanation of what it means.
What’s the best sustainable product you’ve purchased or used this year?
The only item of clothing I purchased this year is a bikini made from recycled ocean plastic waste! The fabric feels great and it is very durable. The brand I bought it from will launch very soon on The Lingerist and it makes me so happy to see how strongly the founder advocates for ocean preservation!
I generally buy very few things but when I do I follow the advice of David J. Schwartz: “Pay twice as much and buy half as many.” By consuming products of high quality, they not only look better, but will also last you longer and have a lower environmental impact.
What does the future look like for The Lingerist?
I am very excited for the next developments for The Lingerist.
We continue to improve our research and communication to provide as much transparency as possible to our customers.
Next to launching new sustainable brands, we also want to open a showroom in Amsterdam to meet our beloved customers in person and tell the stories of our brands face to face.
We hoped you found this Q&A interesting! If you have any questions about The Lingerist, leave a comment below, or you can learn more about Jules’ brand by visiting thelingerist.com
If you’d interested in shopping from The Lingerist, you van visit the website here. For 10% off your order, use the code “ECOTHES”.