Many great things came to life in the 90s, and Melanie Lechte’s passion for sustainable fashion was one of them.
Melanie has been in the fashion industry since the 90s and has always had an intense passion for creating brands, but a little doco called The True Cost changed all of that for her. With Organic Crew, Melanie admits to having to, in some sense, re-train consumers to expect fewer batches of clothing, though with much higher quality than the regular fast fashion companies they’re used to. She’s raw, real, and driven to inspire and create change, and we are 100% here for it.
What made you start Organic Crew?
My career started in fashion way back in the 90’s and so I was always so passionate about creating brands. I then watched a movie called The True Cost that changed everything. I knew I needed to do something that would make a difference. I wanted to create a brand the stood for something and helped educate and start a movement for more conscious consuming.
What is something others wouldn’t know about creating an ethical business that you think they should?
Manufacturing is hard! The margins are way lower when you do the right thing from start to finish and consumers are used to so little for clothing now. We are having to re-train them. It is a labour of love!
What has been the most challenging thing you have uncovered since the beginning?
That consumers are so used to buying when there is a sale on. We don’t really go on sale because we make basics for every day. Also the manufacturing process—it is complex and so detail oriented. I wasn’t prepared for that.
Within the ethical fashion community, there’s a big question that we ask which is ‘who made my clothes?;. In the scope of Organic Crew, who made your clothes?
We manufacture in Melbourne in a factory in Coburg that has been operating for over 40 years. It’s a 100% Melbourne-made brand! We often profane some of our makers in this factory on social media.
Best piece of advice you have ever received?
It all takes time!
One tip you’d give to others who are wanting to start their own business?
Research the market, know your target, plan your launch and be super tight on ALL costs!
Where do you envision Organic Crew in the future?
Our goal is to make basics for the people, so that means everyone! We would love to be a global brand creating great basics for men and women. Hoping to launch Men’s next year and have interest from a few countries internationally! That’s the plan: grow organically!
What or who inspires you to do what you do on a daily basis?
My children Chloe and Charlie. I want the world to be a better place for them and their kids. We would like to see less destruction and more love!
Do you have a morning routine? If so, what is it you do to set yourself up for the day ahead?
I live opposite the beach on the Mornington Peninsula and have a kelpie so a morning walk starts my day right. I also meditate daily. I did the Vedic meditation course last year and it has changed my world.
One book everyone should read? Why?
‘True Love’ by Thich Nhat Hanh. It’s a tiny book by an amazing Buddhist monk, all about self-love. It’s simple and a good reminder of why we are here and what really matters.
Are there any other Movers & Shakers out there in your world that you think people should know about?
My favourites are my meditation guru Laura Poole and Aimee Marks. Laura teaches Vedic Meditation and she started the app ‘One Giant Mind’ with Jonni Pollard. Aimee created TOM organic feminine hygiene products, Aimee is a game changer and has been such a great supporter of Organic Crew.
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