I have had the pleasure of interviewing Jemma Finch, the CEO and co-founder of Stories Behind Things:
“A storytelling platform exploring sustainability and mindful consumption. We aim to empower humans to live consciously”.https://www.storiesbehindthings.com/
Stories Behind Things are a force to be reckoned with, changing the face of fashion by inspiring others to live more consciously and fight for a more sustainable future.
Built on a desire to re-connect to the things we consume on a daily basis, Stories Behind Things sees the power in story-telling, sparking important conversations and celebrating the stories behind what we consume.
“I came into the sustainability space through a mental health lens, I felt the fast-paced and throwaway culture we live in to be extremely overwhelming.”
We’d love to know the story behind Stories Behind Things. Why is story-telling so important to you? And what first inspired you to launch a story-telling platform?
The platform started as a passion project simply sharing stories of pre-loved clothes, the memories they had and the adventure they’ve been on. It quickly grew into a thriving community of humans interested in sustainable consumption, and the rest is history! I came into the sustainability space through a mental health lens, I felt the fast-paced and throwaway culture we live in to be extremely overwhelming. So for me, Stories Behind Things was created to be the platform that leads with positivity and explores subjects that intertwine with sustainability; from mental health, consumption, sustainable brands to support etc.
Has fashion always been important to you? And if so, why?
I studied the business of fashion at University and have always been excited by the creative industries. I adore the self-expression and artistic side that the fashion and art world have to offer, paired with the storytelling aspect of creativity and sharing a narrative using colour, texture and style. After studying and working in fashion I started to explore the intersection that the industry has to sustainability and how clothes hold the power to change how we feel every day – that’s what sparked my initial interest! I guess it really was a fusion of interest between fashion, sustainability and mental health and how they intersect.
Stories Behind Things “celebrates mindful and considered consumption”.
What does the term considered consumption actually mean? And how does mindful consumption impact on our wellbeing?
Mindful consumption to me is consuming things with caution – whether that be technology, purchasing things and the objects we choose to have around us. Being aware and conscious of our daily surroundings is a key part of considered consumption to me. When it comes to sustainability, considering the journey an item has taken before ending up in the store is considered consumption at its most basic.
Mindless shopping affects mental health exponentially. The dopamine hit we get from shopping for things we don’t need is temporary, but the impact these purchases have on the planet and our minds last forever! The intersect between mental health and sustainability is something that interests me, and the notion of impulsive shopping or shopping to make us feel ‘happier’. Fast/mass brands are continually trying to tell us to buy more stuff to be happy, and it’s so important to break away from the noise where you can!
Events such as The Big Clothes Switch have been integral to Stories Behind Things, which have been paused due to COVID-19.
Due to the standstill of physical events, where have your efforts been focused after adapting to a fully-digital way of working?
We have launched The Seasonal Shop, a space dedicated to providing sustainable alternatives for the everyday. We have been working on this concept for over a year and started testing in October, we are so proud to be launching this fully in April. That’s all I can share for now, but keep your eyes peeled!
“So often we get asked “What can I do? I’m just one person” – the answer is EVERYTHING!”
The fashion industry is a systematic and social justice issue that demands individual and collective action.
What can individuals do to help create lasting change within the fashion industry, especially at the moment whilst life has moved online?
The most important way to engage with intention online is to first recognise that your voice has the ability to make real change. We often get asked “But I’m only one voice, what difference can I really make?” and to that, I always share one of my favourite quotes by Margret Mead:
‘Never doubt that a small group of committed citizens can change the world, indeed it is the only thing that ever has’.
By using your voice online you can help add to the noise of people holding brands to account when it comes to greenwashing and misleading marketing. Sending dms, emails, tweets really does make a difference.
What are some of the other ways that individuals can create a more sustainable way of living, apart from being more conscious of what we consume?
Although sustainable living is possibly associated with marching on the streets or buying sustainable products, that’s only one form of this. Whatever your skills and interests are, you can (and probably are already) implementing many forms of living in line with your values into your daily life. See below for a few ways you can live in line with your values:
Having a conversation with a friend about the climate crisis
Creating climate art to inspire
Signing a petition
Holding the brands you love accountable
Switching from petrol to electric cars
Talking to your online community
Educating yourself through research
Holding large corporations to account by signing a petition
Using social media to bring about change
Taking care of what you own
Writing poetry to help re-imagine our future
Having challenging conversations with family
Using social media to start conversations
What about Stories Behind Things brings you the most joy?
My favourite thing about SBT is being exposed to the power of social media and online communities. It’s an incredible tool, and if used consciously it can really create thriving communities and create real momentum and positive change. It gives me hope that individuals really can implement tangible change through online and offline action.
So often we get asked “What can I do? I’m just one person” – the answer is EVERYTHING!
To discover more, educate yourself and get inspired: