Located in a 1971 Shasta camper, there is more to StriveGreen than meets the eye. Since its inception in the summer of 2016, the self-funded start-up has expanded from a simple online store to a unique venue in Austin. The simple white camper stands out amidst JuiceLand and Ann’s Piece of Cake food trailer on Barton Springs Road.
Story by Samantha Favela
Photos by Maya Coplin
With a single step into the camper, a feeling of intimacy immediately greets every customer. The shop is filled with neatly stacked clothing and a simple selection of shoes and jewelry. With “StriveGreen: Sustainable Fashion” solely placed on the outside of the camper, the ideas of simplicity and style are felt throughout the cozy boutique.
Julie Bennis, the founder and owner of StriveGreen, has been in the buying world for seven years. When Julie discovered that the fashion industry is the second largest polluter in the world—next to oil— her environmentally-conscious mind peaked her interest in helping the cause. “It’s [the pollution] so sad for something I love,” Bennis says.
StriveGreen's e-commerce, a completely online store, was launched in 2014. To make a difference in the industry, StriveGreen only supports brands that are conscious of their carbon footprint. In order to be a part of the merchandise sold at StriveGreen, brands must be manufactured with minimal waste, utilize organic resources, use non-toxic dyes and have fair trade policies. The store is also 98percent vegan. “The goal is to become completely vegan,” Bennis says.
“I had to invest in the learning process of everything,” Bennis says. Her husband built the camper, and she handled the rest. Bennis became a jack of all trades by doing the photography, graphic design, html coding, content and web development for both the online store and the boutique all on her own.
With sustainable apparel and eco-friendly accessories sold online and in-store, StriveGreen has evolved into a boutique filled with vegan, fair-trade and green products. Most of the brands sold in the store are produced domestically, with only two brands manufactured in China. StriveGreen has shoes by Inkkas, jewelry by Mata Traders and bags by Canopy Verde which can add an eco-friendly touch to any outfit.
“The industry has a long way to go,” Bennis says. However, shopping at StriveGreen is the first step in the right the direction.