10 Years of Gather&See - Reflections from Steph & Alicia

This summer Gather&See is 10 years old! It's been a serious journey and we are very proud of this special space that we have built alongside our amazing partner brands and with thanks to you, our incredible customers. It's taken some very hard graft, a lot of juggling, some tears and a lot of laughter to get us here. The anniversary is also a testament to friendship, respect and authenticity along with a genuine belief that we can do fashion better. 

"Gather&See is a labour of love that we have built over the years, through motherhood, moving continents, changing times and challenging climates, always sure of our end goal - to make shopping sustainably easier."

We sat down to answer some questions around reflecting on ten years in sustainable fashion. Read on for some real talk....
Why did you start Gather&See way back when in 2014:

“As a pair of fashion lovers who have shopped endlessly from department stores to high streets, markets to charity shops we started to think about how disconnected we are from the production process behind the clothes that we were buying.  We were becoming more and more dubious about how our products could be made so cheaply and travels to Africa, South America and India in our early twenties had opened our eyes to both amazing traditional craftsmanship but also extreme
poverty and exploitation.  We felt that there had to be a better alternative. We wanted to find brands that were transparent, treated their workers fairly and safeguarded the amazing craftsmanship we had seen around the world. And so, we arrived at our vision for Gather&See. Fast forward several years and we are honoured to work with so many brilliant ethical designers and to connect with like-
minded customers on a daily basis.”  

How does it feel to reach the 10 year mark for Gather&See: 

"Part of me can't quite believe we are at 10 years already. It does feel like an achievement. It was quite a risk launching Gather&See at a time when sustainable fashion was still very niche and with very little backing. We’ve seen other brands come and go in this time so it feels great to still be. here and doing what we love. It is also testament to our amazing customer base who have really got behind what we are trying to achieve."  

"It's been a journey, that's for sure. With highs and lows! A slight miracle we have made it."

How has the business grown and evolved over the last 10 years?

"We began with just a handful of brands that we bought at wholesale and sent out from my spare room. We now work with over 60 amazing sustainable brands, the majority of whom ship direct for us. We have been flexible with our model and adapted to the needs of our brands, ourselves and our customers over the years. It is still just Steph and I, two Mums, running the business on a day-to-day
basis and we are really passionate about maintaining a really personal service and focus on authenticity."

"It's been a constantly changing model, when we set out, it was seen a bit different, not many had really thought of the impact of fashion, how it affects people lives, from the makers to the environment. Now it's on, and rightly should be, everyone's radar - it's important we stay authentic to Gather&See and don't get caught up in the mad rush, green washing of it all." 

What have you learned along the way? What have been the main learnings /most important if many?

"I think we’ve learnt that firstly there is an absolute appetite for a more mindful and sustainable approach to fashion. Given the opportunity people really do want to shop better. We’ve also learnt to stand by your convictions and stay true to your vision. It’s been really tough at times but we’ve maintained a positive
approach and tenacious spirit and that has helped. People also appreciate transparency and authenticity, which are values Gather&See is built on. 

"It really does take a long time to find your place and work out exactly the message you want to create. It's so important to get the details right. There are so many amazing people out there, wanting to change things up, whether it's working with local craftsman to customers wanting to shop better.  We've also learnt how important the personal aspect is, and how our customers appreciate that. Stick to your gut, don't always think everyone knows better than you - as more often than not they don't!"

Things you wish you'd been told at the start of your journey or anywhere on your journey for that matter?

"I think I wish we'd been told that it's always ok to trust your gut and intuition. At the beginning we felt so new we sometimes were afraid to make brave decisions. As we've gone on we've learnt to believe in ourselves and not always take the most obvious or easy option if it doesn't feel right to us as business owners."

"You need huge amounts of resilience! Always come back to the core of why we set up Gather&See and that's it's long term goal, to change the way people shop. Try to look at the whole picture and not get too bogged down in the day to day!"
To celebrate this milestone we've collaborated with brands who have shared this journey with us to create a collection of exclusive and limited edition pieces that we will launch over the coming weeks. These pieces really embody the G&S ethos - sustainable, thoughtful, timeless and (of course) fun to wear! We hope you will love them as much as we do.