[3 MINUTE READ]
Happy Friday all! If you are interested in sustainability and specifically, sustainability in business, then today's interview is for you.
This week, we chatted to Lucy Kebbell, Founder of The WIP. The WIP is a digital space for founders and entrepreneurs to cultivate ideas, access learning, and grow their sustainability goals together.
So if you're interested in learning more about this unique platform, how the business came about, and what it could mean for our planet, keep on reading...
Morning Lucy! Could you start by introducing your brand and your mission?
The WIP is a digital membership platform supporting small, sustainable businesses and entrepreneurs working in the eco and ethical spaces. We provide support and a community as well as learning resources, events and member meetups. Our mission is to empower small businesses to grow in line with their values and embrace their positive impact. It can be a lonely and stressful place to be, especially if you have pivoted from another career, or are new to your respective field.
When I was working as a writer for my website The Vendeur, I would often speak to sustainable founders and I really got the sense that people felt isolated, and that they couldn’t access the support they needed. If we are to reach ambitious climate goals and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, we have to help each other in order to progress. So, I started The WIP to encourage more businesses to be sustainable.
And I am so glad you did. It’s important work. What would you say sets The WIP apart?
I knew that I didn’t want to create something new that had a negative impact. Even as a digital company, we have a carbon footprint, so I did a lot of research to figure out how The WIP could create a supportive space for sustainable businesses, but also do good. I am very proud to be a Net Zero business and a member of the SME Climate Hub. We have instigated all sorts of initiatives into both our business and our platform to mitigate our impact.
In addition, I wanted The WIP to be the antithesis of commonly white-dominated sustainability spaces. I believe that all voices should be heard, especially those from BIPOC communities, as many are on the frontlines of climate change and know exactly what needs to be done. It’s time we listened and created a space where everyone feels supported and heard. We worked with a consultant to create our Inclusion and Belonging Policies that are available to view online. We’re serious about being different because being the same hasn’t got us very far!
"Before we do anything we think, ‘Is this accessible? Is this low impact?’"
That is so true! Your values are so inspiring. How did you start The WIP?
I began my career in fashion, working for luxury media publications like InStyle, Harper’s Bazaar and for Edward Enninful (the current Editor of British Vogue). However, I began to feel that my role was counterproductive to my environmental values and I subsequently left to explore freelance styling and sustainability. I am a voracious learner. Having worked for a few sustainable businesses, as well as completing courses, I had a unique point of view both as a consumer and a business insider. I also began writing about sustainability; exploring renting, swapping and mending, as well as sustainable brands that were becoming increasingly prevalent at the time.
It was through working with these brands, and embracing being an entrepreneur myself, that I came up with the idea for The WIP. I was a bit bored of ‘girl boss’ memberships and felt that more passion and creativity could be injected into the world of sustainability in business.
Oh, absolutely. It’s such an underdeveloped space. Could you walk us through how sustainability factors into your business day-to-day?
It’s in everything we do. Before we do anything we think, ‘Is this accessible? Is this low impact?’ Currently, our website uses a green hosting server, as well as neat design tricks to lower the weight of the website and allow users to view it in Lower Impact Mode. Essentially, this is a monochrome version that uses less power and pulls through alt text instead of heavy images. We also recently pledged to send fewer emails, so switched our internal chatter to Slack.
This month, we hosted a few in-person events, which was exciting. We used a Pop Up space that was already in use, both by the brand in question and a gallery. That way we weren’t creating additional demand for energy or space. We were sponsored by The Uncommon wines, the UK’s first and only B Corp wine company, which comes in recyclable cans. I believe it is this kind of attention to detail that ensures companies really lower their environmental impact.
How interesting. I’ll have to check them out. So, what’s next for The WIP?
We have so many plans! From website updates enabling our members to do more, to an app and a B Corp application, there’s so much to do. The WIP’s community is already growing and our members are the most wonderful bunch of people that inspire me every day. I want them to be successful and help change our world for the better.