Amadea Hills owns sustainable brand, Waves Flip Flops UK. I spent ten minutes with her to learn more about her ethical brand and chat about her hopes for the future of consumerism. Wondering where to start on your sustainable summer journey? Read on.
How did you discover Waves?
I was travelling in Sri Lanka with a friend and her flip flop broke. While shopping for a new pair, we noticed that Waves were twice the price of the others.
I researched them and discovered they were made from natural rubber. It sounds strange but I never thought about the fact that flip flops had plastic in them before. I didn’t need any flip flops at that time, and I assumed they would be available in the UK.
But I learned there were no natural rubber flip flops back home. There were brands using recycled plastic but no natural rubber. I emailed the company and offered to take them to the UK where I was certain there was a market for ethical flip flops.
That’s a brave step. Do you see yourself as an entrepreneur?
My background is in supply chain. I’ve worked for big companies, so I had experience working out profit margins and that kind of thing. That side is really easy for me. But it’s true. As a kid I used to get my mum to buy me Smash Hits and Top of the Pops magazines and I’d tear out the posters and sell them at school.
Tell me more about Waves flip flops
They’ve got six or seven stores in Sri Lanka and the brand goes back to 2009. They used to be a rubber base with a plastic strap. But the company has been on a journey to create an all-rubber flip flop, which it’s achieved.
The rubber is FSC certified, but that’s the easy bit. It’s simple to certify rubber but I also want to ensure that everyone in the supply line is fairly treated. That’s why I hope we’ll get SMETA certification this year. I believe that everyone has a responsibility and I’m adamant that we pay the people who produce the rubber fairly.
What’s next for you?
Seeing the actual rubber farms is on my list of things to do. I would have gone earlier but Covid put a stop to that. I’m hoping to make a trip later this year.
Do you think we can change?
I’ve never understood the mindset of fast fashion and I really don’t think the consumerist culture is healthy. It’s clear we need to move away from the mindset of mass consumerism. But it’s hard for people to find affordable alternatives and sustainable products.
I think it’s important to remember that we lived lives before plastic. It can be overwhelming, and going for zero waste can seem unobtainable. But if everyone made small changes, things would be better. If you can make a small step, swap to refill. It makes sense rather than trying to overhaul your whole life all at once.
What hope do you have for the future?
I think people tend to research more before they make purchases now and that’s positive. But there’s still a long way to go, especially in fast fashion. There are people that don’t want to be seen in the same outfit twice, and social media just amplifies this.
Price tags can prevent people from choosing sustainable items. The rise in affordable sustainable items is definitely a step in the right direction.
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