Today we’d like to introduce you to Daisy Chen Hutton.
So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I worked in the fashion industry for over a decade as a buyer for big corporations like Guess, Bebe, and Nasty Gal. My job was to identify trends and produce clothing styles that would encourage our customers to shop as much as possible. It was all about driving sales- and I was good at it. Monday mornings were a highlight because we could see how many items we sold and every bestseller was like a personal win, knowing that hundreds of women purchased that thing that week. In the business of buying, one thing we always talk about is cost. What does an item cost and how can we lower that cost? But it was only ever about the cost of goods- and never the cost to our environment.
The only thing we even slightly worried about was our factories’ compliance with labor laws, specifically child labor, and even with that, we probably just accepted very basic inspection reports and turned a blind eye to the rest. But not once did anyone ever think about the amount of waste we were creating from our manufacturing. Waste of resources like cotton and water. Fabric waste. And the eventual waste that we would create in landfills when people got tired of their clothes a few months later. It was an unsustainable cycle that relied on this false narrative that clothing was disposable.
I had the privilege of taking some time off when I had kids. And in that time, I started learning more about climate change and how the fashion industry is responsible for a large part of the global carbon footprint. It hit me that as a buyer, I contributed to that disaster. I still loved fashion but I knew I could never go back to working for those same types of companies. If I were going to do something, it was going to have to be based on a mission of sustainability. I had to find a way to merge my love for fashion with my concern for climate change. And that’s how The Fixx Collective came to be. We are your Fashion Fixx as well as a Climate Fixx.
I launched the business in January 2020 as a clothing rental business. The goal was to have a brick and mortar space where we could build a sense of community by sharing our wardrobes- we even trademarked a term for it- SHARECYCLE. In our store, clients would be able rent fashion pieces and thus help cut down on how much clothing gets manufactured and also extend the life of each garment. And they would also be able to purchase more basic items from sustainable brands.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
So we registered the business in January 2020. In February, we held our first small SHARECYCLE party where friends came and rented a few pieces to wear for the next month as a trial. And then March hit and we were all stuck at home. I remember driving to pick up pieces from everyone just as we were starting to shelter at home. And like that, the rental business was turned upside down. If people had nowhere to go, they certainly had no need to rent clothes. Everyone was in sweatpants. Or no pants.
Luckily, we had not invested in a lease yet so I now just had a house full of inventory. So at that time, we decided to focus on building up our website and refocus on launching our ecommerce site first, featuring sustainable brands that are suitable for your at home life- activewear, loungewear, casual wear. And some accessories, home items, and even eco-friendly laundry products.
But every single thing has been a challenge. I was working with a development team, but I know nothing about branding, web design, UX, UI. I had no idea what WordPress was. I had to learn a whole other language. I drew out some webpage mockups with a pen on paper, taking my best guess on what made sense. But somehow, it came together. But also I know nothing about marketing! I now have a “store” and products I love. But how do we get traffic and conversion? So now, I’m learning about Facebook ads and content creation.
And of course, there is the matter of having the kids at home. All the time. For months. Remote learning is hard. But summer was hard too. There is no balance. Schedules are impossible.
And then there is the social injustice and political divisiveness. People have a lot of stress right now. I am building a brand but want to remain sensitive of our current situation. I keep thinking of how we can use our business to do good and help people. So we come up with give back campaigns. First, for the LA mayor’s fund. And then for victims of wildfires and hurricanes. We’re trying to build this business, but also stay connected to our mission to help our communities.
So let’s switch gears a bit and go into The Fixx Collective story. Tell us more about the business.
We are The Fixx Collective. An anti bland sustainability brand. There are many eco-friendly brands out there doing great work, but to be honest, a lot of it feels so limiting. We are all about protecting our environment and our people, but at the same time, we feel strongly that fashion is an art and that we should be empowered by it. A capsule wardrobe of cotton and linen basics is a great place to start but where is the inspiration in that?
We are providing a rental platform so that clients can still embrace fashion trends for a short term but then continue to SHARECYCLE those items with other members. We want to cut down on how many garments get worn once or twice and then tossed into a landfill. We educate and encourage our clients to think about their wardrobes in a different way. We created a pyramid to demonstrate our three tiers of sustainability. 1) Wear and maintain the clothes you own. 2) Rent your fashion items. 3) Buy long term items from sustainable brands and shop with intention. Any brand we sell is vetted for their equal commitment to the values we hold. People, Planet, Practices.
Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
Luck is everything. Sure, I have always worked hard in my life, but there are so many things that I had no control over that have helped me get to where I am today. It goes to way before I was born. I am a first-generation Chinese American. My parents emigrated from Taiwan in the 70’s. Where does the luck come in? Policy. The immigration act of 1965 is what allowed my dad to come here and pursue his PH D. If that policy had not been put in place, or if it had come ten years later, maybe I would never even be born. Or maybe I would have been born in another country without the same luxuries. Luck is privilege. Privilege is luck. Even as a woman POC, I can recognize that I’ve been given a lot of it.
Luck is also timing. It’s the privilege of being able to start a business out of desire and not need. Luck is what allowed my business partner to devote her time to this project as her previous company decided to relocate and she didn’t want to move. Luck is meeting different mentors at times where you need them.
And of course, there is bad luck. Terrible luck of launching a business right before a pandemic. Or is it? Maybe it’s just temporary bad luck because the fashion industry is also realizing that major changes are necessary and that our old way of life is not sustainable. Maybe it’s actually lucky that I am given this time to really think through our business model. Maybe it’s lucky that I didn’t launch a year ago and end up stuck with a lease I couldn’t afford.
Yes, you can make some of your own luck as it’s not always going just fall upon you, but I absolutely believe that it plays a greater role than most entrepreneurs give it credit for.
- Website: www.thefixxcollective.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @thefixxcollective
- Facebook: The Fixx collective
- Twitter: @fixxcollective
Brie Childers, Stylestation