Our lives are frenetic. We always seem to be on. Smart phones connect us to social networks, online dating, real-time updates, work. It’s all part of the chase for more; more money, bigger houses, lots of stuff, greater debt. More.
“But more and more individuals are choosing to remove themselves from the ever increasingly out-of-reach chase for more,” says Jessica Abraham. At just 23, she’s at the helm of a thriving fashion brand, Tasi Travels, and it’s growing fast, which is something of an irony, given the slow, intentional foundation upon which she’s built her business.
“People are rediscovering the joy of the simple things in life; reconnecting with where our food and clothing comes from, and reimagining what true happiness and connection on a soul level looks like to each of us.”
For Jessica, the beginning of her brand began with the close of another. Prior to Tasi Travels, she co-founded Tidal Magazine, “an independent publication that showcased young creative along the East Coast of Australia.”
While Jessica says she learned a lot through her experience with Tidal, it was burning her out.
“I knew I had to make a decision about the future of the project,” she remembers. “I struggled with it for close to a year, but it wasn’t until I took a week off and jumped last minute on a trip to East Timor that I had the time, space, and clarity to realise it was time to let it go.”
Her current baby, Tasi Travels, is built on the principals of slow living and slow fashion. To Jessica, that means “finding pleasure, value, and connection in leading a simple but authentic life.”
The slow fashion movement is built on transparency, sustainability, and responsibility, she says.
“It’s a glimmer of hope against the giant that is the fast fashion industry, that is growing brighter every day, as more consumers make conscious purchasing decisions, and more brands choose to be transparent in their supply chains.”
The fast fashion industry is all about disposability, she says, and slow fashion reimagines that “by producing clothing in a way that is sustainable for both people and the planet.”
Jessica herself has always been aware of her impact on the world around her.
“When I had the idea for Tasi, I knew that I wasn’t going to go through with it unless I could make sure that all of my practices were as responsible to both people and planet as possible. To me, that’s nothing extraordinary. That’s just what I expect of myself and of other businesses. That should be the norm, not the rarity.”
By making the deliberate decision to incorporate slow fashion into her business, Jessica has kept authenticity at the heart of her practices. She’s worked hard to trace her products from source to end product to maintain sustainable and ethical practices all the way through. This, she says, has been the biggest challenge so far.
“Being able to get a clear answer on sustainability and traceability has been really hard. You can choose the most environmentally friendly fabric possible, yet it can be made in a factory that doesn’t treat its workers well, or it could be dyed with harmful chemicals.”
This is especially difficult as a small brand, but she’s been lucky enough to get help along the way, with industry contacts supporting her efforts and sharing their knowledge and know-how. She makes her items to order, minimising waste.
But if there’s one thing she’s learned, it’s the importance of systems, processes, and clear communication.
“Having these systems in place really does protect you. It’s all learning. You’ll always make mistakes, but you make them once, and you don’t make them again. Learn fast and grow.”
To the budding entrepreneur, she advises to beware of the trap of waiting for perfection.
“Just start as soon as you have the idea. I think a lot of us fall into the trap of waiting until we have the perfect idea, but why wait? Get the wheels in motion before you’re ready, start sharing your idea, tick something off your list every day. You’ll be surprised by how quickly your business and idea grows when you prioritise action!”