Alina Anghel is pioneering a new way to shop eco-friendly independent brands
Ecoeri needs to be on everyone’s radar. Collating the best sustainable brands under one online roof, the platform covers everything from fashion, to beauty, to homeware. As a customer, you know you’re guaranteed to be shopping items with ethical values and a sustainable ethos, as founder Alina Anghel has already done the hard work for you by sourcing the best products. We caught up with Alina to find out more about the idea behind her site, new brands she has her eye on… plus an exciting beauty giveaway!
How did the idea for Ecoeri come about? I come from an entrepreneurial family so I always knew I wanted to have my own business one day but I wanted to create something that I felt can help solve an existing challenge and throughout the years I’ve become more and more interested in climate change and sustainability so I started spending more and more time researching these topics. When the idea of Ecoeri originally came about I was already thinking about the next steps in my career and I have stumbled upon an article that mentioned that even though there is a growing interest in sustainable products consumers are often put off shopping sustainably believing the price was too high and they struggled to find eco-alternatives easily. That alongside my experience in e-commerce sparked the idea of creating a platform where consumers can discover and shop sustainable and ethical products easily and provide them with transparent brand information.
What were you doing before? Prior to Ecoeri I have worked in a mix of agency and client side roles for 10+ years across Digital Marketing, SEO, and Product Management which has given me the opportunity to learn about e-commerce, data analysis, technology, and how to drive growth all of which have been very useful when starting a new online business. I have left my last role as a Digital Product Manager for a large fashion brand in lockdown to start Ecoeri which was definitely scary at the time but felt like the right thing to do.
What was the process of launching like? I ran a survey quite early on to test the concept and get an initial idea of what type of products customers would be interested in and what they struggled with when shopping for sustainable products which provided me with a good basis for launch. While working on building the website I have also started doing quite a bit of prep around building social channels and putting a placeholder landing page for people to subscribe to which provided with a good starting point for when the website did go live as it meant there was already an initial customer-base in place. I think it’s easy when launching a new venture to overthink every single element from the logo to the design to pricing and delay launching until everything is perfect however I think the best is to put something out there as fast as possible and let customers provide feedback and then continuously improve from there.
How do you go about choosing brands to stock? My focus is on independent brands that create high quality and beautifully-designed sustainable and ethical products across homeware, beauty, fashion and gifting. I wanted to showcase that you don’t need to sacrifice on style while shopping eco-friendly and that there are some fantastic great independent creators out there. I spend a lot of time researching which brands are truly sustainable and finding out about their manufacturing process and brand values. On each product page there is also a bit of a synopsis about each brand telling their story alongside ‘value badges’ around their sustainability credentials. What’s your hopes for the future? For future the focus is around expanding into even more product categories and bring more and more brands on-board as well as having more of an international presence. My goal has always been to transform Ecoeri into a truly global destination for sustainable and ethical products.
What’s the latest eco brand that’s caught your eye? I am constantly pleasantly surprised of how many amazing eco brands are out there now and more and more are launching. I am currently in love with our W&P Design reusable food & drink essentials – I think they are perfect for summer and they have really fun and modern designs. Kutis Skincare is also one of our summer bestsellers and a game-changer with their fully plastic-free and biodegradable deodorants that are also vegan and made from natural ingredients in the UK.
Any fellow female founders that inspire you? There many amazing female founders out there that I love listening to their startup journeys through podcasts or by reading articles or books, but some that I have found the most inspiring are Chrissie Rucker, Holly Tucker, Emily Weiss, and Estée Lauder.
Any advice to pass on to independent business owners following such a tough year in the pandemic? Although it’s been a tough year I find that now more than ever people love supporting small local businesses which is great to see and small business owners have the advantage of being able to react to changing environments much faster than big corporations so my advice would be to be open to constantly adapt, listen to customer feedback, always test new ideas, and be creative on how you can raise awareness of your offering.
And for something random... favourite book? Favourite insta account? Favourite place to travel to? Favourite book always changes but I’ve just finished Holly Tucker’s “Do What You Love” and I think it’s a lovely read for any small business owner. I also loved Sheryl’s Sandberg “Lean In” and “Quiet: The power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking” by Susan Cain. I love to follow other female founders and business women on Instagram as well travel and food inspiration and sustainability focused accounts. One I’ve been following for a long time is @ecoage which has some great stats and stories. In terms of travel I would love to be on a beach in Spain or Italy right now or go back to Mexico for the amazing food! We’ve teamed up with Ecoeri for a competition! Head to our instagram @thetrove_uk to find out how to enter to win the fab beauty giveaway…