This year, the Taronga HATCH Accelerator Program has been supporting ‘ecopreneurs’ to take their idea from vision to reality. One of these ecopreneurs is Emma Foster-Geering, who is making an impact with her environmentally-friendly fashion rental startup LOWN.
Emma is one of the pioneering voices in the sustainability movement, experienced in transforming large corporations to integrate positive environmental and social impact. She has worked with some of the world’s biggest brands and has an impressive track record of fostering powerful partnerships to achieve ambitious sustainability outcomes.
Here, we chatted with Emma to find out more about her startup LOWN and how the HATCH Accelerator Program has been supporting her venture.
Tell us about LOWN
LOWN is a fashion rental platform with sustainability at its heart. Our mission is to fix toxic fashion for good by incentivising brands with higher margins and reoccurring revenue streams to design high-quality products made of natural materials. In addition to the type of product we offer, our service is unique in that it is tailored to suit busy corporate professionals that can afford to buy but don’t want to (for a variety of reasons).
What was the inspiration behind LOWN?
Over 70% of products in the fashion industry are made of synthetic materials (plastic) and require hundreds of thousands of toxic chemicals to be used in making them. People are starting to wake up to the impact of having these products in their homes and demanding better, but the financial margins that exist in the conventional fashion industry have always prevented this problem from being solved at scale. With the new rental business model, brands are able to realise higher returns on investment in quality and natural materials.
What is your ultimate goal for LOWN and what does success look like to you?
The ultimate goal is to fix toxic fashion for good. Success looks like brands knowing exactly where their products are made and in what conditions. Most importantly, it means the clothing we wear is not made of toxic plastic materials that make us and the planet sick.
How can people get involved?
Come to the HATCH pitch night event on the 28th of June! We will be inviting onboard the first 1000 customers soon after. In the meantime please follow me on LinkedIn for updates.
When did you first grow an interest in conservation?
As a kid, I was always curious about why human development always seemed to be at odds with nature. My father was an engineer and encouraged me to work within the ‘system’ rather than against it to try and create change. So, I did exactly this, working for big companies trying to improve their environmental and social impacts. After over 15 years, I am now building my own business that has a regenerative impact on nature built in from the start.
How have you benefited from the HATCH Accelerator Group?
Being in the HATCH programme has been incredible. It has felt like 10 years of starting up a business all condensed into a few months, in a good way! The people who run it and are available in the network are brilliant, I can’t believe the calibre of everyone that gets involved. I’ve learnt loads but the best thing has been the help getting over hurdles!
What tech do you use? Favourite app and/or podcast?
Honestly? I try to spend as much time off it as possible and out in nature 😉 But when I am on it I make sure it’s good! I love WHOOP and my PELETON apps. Pinterest has been a long-term go-to although I’m getting sick of the never-ending stream of Ads now, and in terms of the industry I’m playing in, I love what Selfridges and The Outnet have been doing in the fashion e-commerce land for a long time and ARIVE (Berlin) as a newcomer into the space.
Keep up-to-date with Emma Foster-Geering’s journey with LOWN on social media:
HATCH Taronga Accelerator Program
Join the HATCH: Taronga Accelerator Program Pitch Event 2023 to hear from the passionate founders about clever initiatives they are hatching for the planet. This is the first year the HATCH Pitch Event will be coming together in person at Taronga Zoo Sydney, for what will certainly be a memorable night.
You can book your ticket here