We had the good fortune of connecting with Emily Waddell and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Emily, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
When I was in college, I started a blog The Honest Consumer (https://www.thehonestconsumer.com) to educate others on sustainable fashion and conscious living. I enjoyed creating resources for people to learn how they could make a positive impact. After graduating I wanted to further my impact by finding a way to take these conversations offline and have them in person. I’d always loved shopping and volunteering at local craft fairs, so I felt like this could be a great outlet to create ethically made t-shirts that encouraged conversation about the greater good and self love. I enjoyed dabbling in doodling and graphic design, all of these passions combined encouraged me to launch Give a Damn Goods (https://giveadamngoods.com). My first t-shirts featured the Give a Damn (https://giveadamngoods.com/collections/affordable-ethical-clothing/products/give-a-damn-t-shirt) design which is a great conversation starter.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I think being a blogger and small business owner makes my journey unique. While they are both very different, the research and writing I do for my blog, The Honest Consumer, helps me make more sustainable business choices for Give a Damn Goods. I also think that as my blog community embraced me, this has inspired my designs for Give a Damn Goods.
For example, on The Honest Consumer, I talk pretty openly about anxiety and mental health. Since so many people related and embraced these ideas it inspired me to create shirts like Anxious Mind + Courageous Heart (https://giveadamngoods.com/collections/affordable-ethical-clothing/products/anxiety-shirt) and Hot Mess Express (https://giveadamngoods.com/collections/affordable-ethical-clothing/products/hot-mess-express-t-shirt) to celebrate the messiness of life.
Balancing both Give a Damn Goods and The Honest Consumer. has definitely been challenging. As a solo-preneur it’s really difficult to stay organized and on top of things. This is something I’m always trying to improve on. I think if you’re a solo-preneur it’s really important to surround yourself with other small business owners who know what you’re going through, are willing to provide feedback, and can be there for both the wins and the loses.
As my Give a Damn Goods t-shirts (https://giveadamngoods.com/collections/affordable-ethical-clothing) began to take off I wanted to expand the online boutique to offer more items as a way to support other small businesses. I’ve loved this aspect of my business because it’s allowed me to connect and grow my relationship with other small business owners.
I want people to know it’s so important to support small businesses. While a lot of customers just see the finished product, there is SO much that the small business owner is doing behind the scenes. Your purchases really do make a difference and help support that small business owners dream.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I live in Seattle and as an advocate for small businesses and supporting local I would have to show my friend some of my favorite small businesses. I would start with coffee and pastries at my go-to coffee shop Cafe Suisse (https://www.yelp.com/biz/café-suisse-seattle). This family owned coffee shop has amazing gluten free pastries, coffee, and the owners are so sweet. Then we’d head to Pike Place Market, a Seattle staple for shopping local. We’d visit my favorite produce stand, Sosios (https://sosiosproduce.com) to grab some local produce. We’d explore the shops on the lower levels, check out the view, and then have lunch at Market Grill (https://www.marketgrillseattle.com). While we are near the market, we’d visit one of my favorite boutiques featuring local & sustainable fashion, Sassafras (https://sassafras-seattle.com). In the afternoon we’d go kayaking on Lake Union. This is not only relaxing, but features a prime skyline view. Their fresh fish is amazing. For dinner we would head to Rays to enjoy the beautiful view and some more seafood.
On Sunday we start the day with brunch at Shaker & Spear (https://www.shakerandspear.com). Their dutch baby pancakes and eggs Benedicts are amazing. Then would hit up my favorite local market Fremont Market (http://www.fremontmarket.com). This weekly year-round market features crafters, produce, and more. This is one of the markets I love selling my t-shirts at. After looking at the vendors we’d eat lunch at the food trucks. Fremont is also a super cute part of town filled with great boutiques and food. This is a great neighborhood to explore. After exploring we’d enjoy dinner and drinks at El Camino in Fremont (https://elcaminorestaurant.com). We’d end the day at Golden Gardens enjoying the view.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I’ve had so many incredible mentors through out my entrepreneurial journey. Lauren, the co-founder of BRANDED Collective (https://www.brandedcollective.com), taught my everything I knew about craft fairs. I started volunteering with her social enterprise jewelry company while I was in college. I learned so much from her about the ins and outs of working with customers and sharing the story of the product.
My friend Nicole, founder of Gen20 (https://gentwenty.com), The Capsule Collab (https://www.thecapsulecollab.com), and Gen30 (https://genthirty.com), has also been a wonderful friend and mentor. She is always willing to share resources. do collaborations, and provide feedback on ideas. I’ve learned so much from her both as a small business owner and a blogger.
Dr. Turner was my Social Entrepreneurship professor in college. He really helped me find my way and discover my passion for business with a purpose. His encouragement and support has helped me get to where I am today.
giveadamngoods4 and giveadamngoodscasey2 are by Casey Horst Photography