Written by Teghan Acres
Hello Beautiful, a textile and ceramics company, creates high-quality products while keeping “waste” material out of the landfill. The owner, Denise Jones-Chu, is carrying on her grandmother’s legacy of upcycling textiles with her business model. Upcycling wasn’t always done from an environmental lens, for her grandmother it was about making use of what you had. Denise used this as inspiration when she started her company by transforming discarded leather into handbags. She now offers activewear, accessories, buttons, and specialty clothing.
Denise in the Hello Beautiful studio behind a wall of fabrics that they use in their bag making and active wear.
Hello Beautiful makes 80% of its products with fabrics from a local Vancouver textile recycling initiative called Our Social Fabric (OSF). OSF receives donations of excess fabric from the film industry, factories and production facilities. Volunteers manage fabric sales and their profits are used to put back into the organization or for building awareness around issues related to the textile industry. They also sponsor a zero waste design competition at Kwantlen Polytechnic University. OSF diverted almost 10 tons of textiles from landfill in 2017.
Spools of thread, credit: Our Social Fabric
Hello Beautiful not only believes in environmental sustainability but social as well, which is why they educate and hire people with disabilities and various work barriers. Denise teaches workshops on sewing and textile skills through WorkBC and the BC Ministry of Education. Those students are then able to come work for her business.
Meaningful and fair work opportunities are a key pillar of a just and sustainable society which can sometimes be left out of the circular economy conversation. Denise explains that “full circle economy is a term that’s thrown out there but this is a complete heart matter. It goes way deeper than that.” Hello Beautiful was recognized with a Certificate of Appreciation in 2020 from WorkBC and the British Columbian and Canadian governments for being a diversity champion and practicing inclusive hiring.
Tradle partners with Hello Beautiful for our garment tags. Hello Beautiful sews the Tradle tags into our pieces so that parents know it’s not only from the sustainable Canadian brands we partner with but us as well! Denise is just as much of a fan of Tradle as we are of her work: “I’m so impressed that they’ve chosen these wonderful Canadian brands. Tradle is the type of company that I want to work with. We hold the same values – the social aspects as well as repurposing clothing.” Tradle is proud to be partnering with socially and environmentally sustainable businesses, all the way down to the small details.
Check out the product lines and learn more about Hello Beautiful Textiles & Ceramics at hellobeautiful.ca