Jaclyn Dowdle is on a mission to rewrite the story of fast fashion.
After corporate life left Jaclyn feeling unfulfilled, she embarked on a journey across the world to work with refugees. From that experience, she discovered her true passion in helping people and giving back which led her to launch Trove — a fashion brand that features handmade apparel from artisans around the globe.
Below, she discusses the importance of sustainable fashion, how her career path has influenced her, and what she sees for Trove’s future.
What is your background? What motivated you to launch Trove?
My background is in advertising, but when I found it starting to feel hollow I went searching for more. I knew I wanted to spend my career participating in work that I could believe in and find meaning. Work that mattered (to me anyway). I decided I needed to trade in my corporate job for passion and moved to Australia to work for Amnesty International as a Refugee Caseworker. One of the hardest and most rewarding jobs of my life!
“I knew I wanted to spend my career participating in work that I could believe in and find meaning.”
When I moved back to Austin, I knew I needed to look for jobs that fulfilled my passion for helping people in vulnerable situations and utilized my skill sets in production, strategy and creativity. I was able to find an incredible startup at the time called, Noonday Collection. They are a social enterprise that creates jewelry and accessories with Artisans from around the globe. After four years of working in their home office in varying Marketing and Creative capacities, I reached a ceiling and knew that it was time to start looking for the next thing.
So in April, I launched Trove, an online fair trade women’s apparel company! With my experience from Noonday, I knew there was a market for women who wanted to know the hands and faces behind their products. That women crave to be able to use their purchasing power for good. And that they wanted fair trade clothing to match their fair trade jewelry and home goods.
What has been the most unexpected part about starting your own business?
It’s hard to identify just one – there are so many unexpected parts about starting a company, particularly when you have a fair trade business that works in multiple countries. For example, it is currently Monsoon season in India and so I have a Partner group who can’t dye the fabrics we need to make our Spring collection. However, the intangible things like the knot in your stomach when you wake up every day is always somehow still surprising. The waves of confidence, followed immediately by the feeling of insecurity. The all-consuming nature of it all.
Trove’s mission is to “rewrite the story of fast fashion.” What is one thing you want people to know about sustainable fashion?
First, I want people to know the significance the fashion industry has on our economy, it’s people and our planet. Second, I want them to know they don’t have to sacrifice style for responsibility.
What gets your creative juices flowing?
Oh man, creativity can be spurred from so many things. Books, songs, magazines, but ironically, flying is usually a good place for me to get creative. I think it’s because I’m forced to sit still and actually think through my thoughts. Day to day life is just too crazy. There’s always something or someone vying for your attention.
What skills or experience have you taken away from your previous jobs that you’ve been able to apply to running a business?
Immeasurable skills. I treat every job like it were a class for an MBA and am constantly absorbing everything. I think the important thing to recognize is that nothing is wasted. Every job, no matter how short, rough or insignificant it felt at the time, had purpose in creating a path for me to be doing what I’m doing today and I feel very grateful for that.
Favorite thing to do in Austin after a long week?
Be lazy with my husband at our house, walk the trail with our dog Gus, go to our favorite coffee spot. Just try to be present and relish in doing every day life because during the week I feel like I’m mentally (and often physically) not able to be present.
How do you see Trove growing over the next five years?
This is a hard thing to determine right now, but what I do know is I want to see more Artisans with jobs. I’d like for sustainable fashion to become the norm, versus the niche. I want people to realize the importance of their purchasing power.
Images courtesy of Trove.