People’s Champion finalist 2018: Lucy and Yak
The start-up is solving the problem of dull clothes and shoddy photography in the ethical clothing sector. Is it your People’s Champion?
Start-up name: Lucy and Yak
Founders: Chris Renwick and Lucy Greenwood
Started in: July 2017
Based in: Barnsley
Business description: Ethical fashion brand specialising in handmade, sustainable dungarees
The Lucy and Yak story:
After quitting their day jobs to go travelling, Chris Renwick and Lucy Greenwood had some time to think. They decided that, quite simply, working for other people wasn’t for them.
While still on their trip, they started turning old clothes into tobacco pouches and selling them to other travellers.
Upon returning to the UK and selling vintage clothes from charity shops, they noticed a pretty major (but fixable) problem in the ‘ethical’ clothing industry: The clothes were boring and the photos were “often crap”! In contrast, the high street had excellent fashion photography but the clothes origins weer more questionable. .
Their solution: Lucy and Yak – an ethical and environmentally-friendly clothing brand with dungarees as its core product and excellent photography to boot. The range has since expanded to include trousers, dresses, sweatshirts, socks and more.
All clothes are handmade by well-paid tailors in excellent conditions (Renwick and Greenwood personally visit the factories to make sure) with organic cotton. It sells online through its website and through 25 UK stockists.
Most of its business is based in the UK but around 10% of sales are now going to New Zealand, Europe and its second biggest market the US.
It is also making an impact in India. As well as the 15 jobs the business has created at its HQ in South Yorkshire, it has given 50 people in India jobs that are paid way above the minimum wage for the region.
Why Lucy and Yak made our shortlist:
Lucy and Yak doesn’t just say it’s ethical as some token badge, it’s business practices prove it is, through and through. That means consumers can buy clothes safe in the knowledge that the people involved in their production are well-paid and well-treated.
Its commitment to the environment is highly commendable and it goes beyond clothing to packaging – all of its garments are sent to customers in biodegradable plastic mailing bags and recycled fabric dust bags.
Where to find out more about Lucy and Yak:
Place your People’s Champion vote below.