1 Million Women Interview designer, Kelsey Genna

Kelsey Genna takes time out from her busy schedule as a sustainable bridal wear designer and shares her story with the 1 Million Women community.

1.Tell us a bit about your story.Screen Shot 2013-09-07 at 8.10.43 PM

I first started selling dresses on Etsy in 2008; I sold my first dress when I was 16. I started my business on close to $20. I remember going to a fabric sale one morning and coming home with 20m of $1 (per metre) fabrics. That is where I started, with very little resources but a lot of ambition.

I shot my first handful of lookbooks on our family point & snap camera, with my best friend helping out by modelling. During my three years at university I spent many lunch breaks sewing orders on our school machines, and endless late nights hand stitching floral embellishment to dresses. I have loved being able to build every facet of my label from scratch with my own two hands.

I am now 22 and work as a self employed bridal designer, I am based in the countryside of New Zealand making dresses for brides located all over the world.

Screen Shot 2013-09-07 at 8.17.12 PM2. Where do you see sustainability factoring in to your work?

Sustainability is something that is really important to me, and trying to run both an ethical and successful business has been and continues to be a challenge for me. Whilst I create high quality, non-mass produced dresses from natural fibres with very little fabric waste.. at the end of the day I specialise in wedding dresses – a purchase which often only ends up being worn once! So I try to apply sustainable practises to other areas of my business rather than the product itself. Being based online I run an almost paperless company, our garments bags are all made from recycled fabrics and gowns are often sent out in recycled boxes. The great thing about all these factors is they also help cut costs!

Screen Shot 2013-09-07 at 8.19.18 PM3. What are your thoughts on the changes of how and where people are buying their clothing from, are you noticing any trends in the field of sustainability and DIY?

Absolutely! As a consumer with a love for dressing I almost buy 100% recycled clothing, and truthfully this isn’t just for ethical reasons… wearing mass produced pieces which everyone else is wearing just doesn’t appeal to me. I think sites like Etsy and Ebay have really helped with recycling & sustainability, I buy a lot of my footwear brand-new but once I get tired of each style I will sell them online. This also is a great way of recycling your budget for clothing too.

Screen Shot 2013-09-07 at 8.20.40 PM4 . Any tips you have for the 1 Million Women about living a more sustainable lifestyle through our consumption choices?

Try not to buy pieces you won’t end up wearing, I use to be an impulsive shopper but nowadays I try to put more thought into where and what I purchase. Try selling on your clothing once you grow tired of it or do swaps with friends… one persons trash is another’s treasure. I think over consumption is something most of us are guilty of I know I am, it is definitely something I would like to work on.

You can find out more about Kelsey by clicking below.

Website: www.kelseygenna.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/kelseygenna
Instagram: www.instagram.com/kelseygenna

Don’t forget to head over to our website! We are daughters, mothers, sisters and grandmothers getting on with practical climate action to live better for us and the planet. Join the movement at www.1millionwomen.com.au