HOW IT STARTED
Hello! Nat here, the director and founder of GNGR Bees - I wanted to tell you more about how GNGR Bees came to life and what we do, so follow along to understand why we empower the world through activewear!
My story in the fashion industry started when I was 16, as I left my hometown in Brazil to work as a model in Asia.
I later had the opportunity to move to London for my studies and while doing so, I worked for a number of different fashion houses. In 2015, I graduated and later left my job at the time as I wanted to create something that embodied my passions: nature, empowerment and health and so GNGR Bees was born as a clothing line. A year into the development process, I realised the brand was missing the ingredient that set my soul on fire - while the clothes represented empowerment and health to some, I wanted empowerment to all, not only to the awesome women that wore it.
Figuring out what this meant for the brand and how to embody this within GNGR Bees took some time. It was essential to analyse and reassess every step of the supply chain and to understand the origin and journey of each resource, process and participant that contributes to our products and the impact each of these individually and together have on the environment. Believing business should be about more than the end product, GNGR bees as a brand was born: creating fashion to empower the world.
WE WORK WITH WASTE
Compared to the 22 billion plastic bottles that end in landfill every year, we are only a little fish in the ocean, but we are proud to have reclaimed as many bottles and other materials as we have because every single piece of waste that does not pollute our environment is a big win.
So what do we do exactly?
Activewear made out of plastic bottles isn’t headline news. We have seen it before, haven’t we? The magic isn’t in the clothing itself, but the story it tells the world.
GNGR Bees is a brand that thinks beyond product and makes everything out of reclaimed materials. We are an activewear brand based on personal, environmental and cultural empowerment, that starts the process of creation backwards. We look at waste and then work with social enterprises and communities to up cycle the materials rescued into forever products.
Whilst plastic bottles are the main material we use for our activewear, GNGR Bees also works with reclaimed cement sacks, dead stock textile and tea sacks for our reusable packaging.
GNGR Bees as a brand is about finding solutions to existing problems, basing our efforts on slow fashion that isn’t bound by seasons, supported by conscious development, transparency and honesty whilst still creating activewear that is versatile, beautiful and full of personality.
Everything in our supply chain has a story. After choosing to ban plastic out of it, we creatively decided to use up cycled waste to create our packaging and to partner up with other businesses that have the same mission we do: empower this world.
Upcycled posting bags from Azizi life, Rwanda:
Our partner in Africa, Azizi life, aims to participate in local initiatives for the development of Rwandan communities, working towards physical and spiritual wholeness for all. They are also committed to paying an agreed-upon fair wage to the artisans as soon as we receive their products. The additional income from the sale of their art allows the craftspeople & their families to afford many things that they struggled to get before, such as medical insurance, school material for their children, hygene and cleaning product, a more balanced diet and financial independece.
Together, we have developed the Eco Shipping Tote - an upcycled cement sack with handles that would allow us to ship our activewear single-use plastic free and allow our consumer to keep the tote forever, re-using it as they would like.
Upcycled tea sacks from Booteek, Sri Lanka:
Booteek is a social enterprise that aims to link underprivileged women in Sri Lanka with the rest of the world by marketing products handmade by them. This project started as a workshop in needlework for students at the Chitra Lane school for the special child. Today, it is a collective of their mothers and other women from Sri Lanka’s low-income bracket.
In addition to working with the women, they recently started training a team of young adults with special needs, to paint and create our packaging from up-cycled waste paper - which is where GNGR Bees comes in. Forget single-use plastic bags to keep your clothes “safe”. When you buy a product from us, they will arrive in these worderful upcycled tea sacks that have been painted just for you and that you can use and re-use as many times as you would like.
By rescuing these materials and up cycling our packaging this way, we are able to create a zero waste packaging that can be reused and that empowers communities & a clean planet.
Microdonations that empower the world with Earfh:
We are partnering with Earfh, a new social network that is set to revolutionase how people and businesses give to charities. Through them we will be able to empower our customers to contribute to projects they are passionate about: from trees to children’s hospitals, orangutans to disaster relief. Our first collaboration together is about funding tree planting projects.
Planting trees for our planet with One Tree Planted:
One Tree Planted is a 501C3 non-profit environmental charity with a focus on global reforestation. They work with amazing partners around the world to get trees in the ground and restore forests after fires and floods, creating jobs, building communities and protecting habitat and biodiversity.
Supporting One Tree Planted is crucial for us to further support the right causes to make this a better planet. Through planting trees, we hope to make a contribution towards a better climate, biodiversity, people and water as well as curb our carbon emissions altogether.