The month-long National Sustainable Living Festival brings together Australia’s brightest innovators, founders, and change-makers in the sustainability space. The festival showcases the leading ecological and social solutions to the world’s growing challenges, as well as encouraging individuals and communities to host their own events.
Speaking at the event this year was Activator Alumni Rose Duong, founder of The Clothes Loop. The Clothes Loop is a fashion retailer allowing consumers to shop for products and swap them afterward. Speaking on the ‘Disruptive Design’ panel presented by major event partner RMIT University, Rose took to the stage to discuss the ways in which disruptive design, circular economy, and innovation can help tackle climate change. Rose joined a panel of design experts, including Tom Bentley, Executive Director for Policy and Impact at RMIT University, Dr. Scott Valentine, Professor and Associate Dean of Sustainability and Urban Planning at RMIT, and Tasmin O’Neill, Founder, and Editor of Green Magazine, to explore how disruptive design, circular economy principles, and innovation can help tackle the biggest challenge we face… climate change. On the event, Rose says, “I was amazed by the number of people who showed up to learn about the Circular Economy, it was refreshing to have an audience with such a strong interest in sustainable design.” Rose continued, “I was humbled to be surrounded by a panel of experts in their fields and to have a forum to talk about what we can do as a community to encourage more sustainable innovation.”
Rose was a part of Activator’s early Residency program, which she credits with allowing her to test her product, build a team and put her startup on the map. “I had a lot of support from the Activator team and mentors who helped me promote my business and open up new business opportunities,” says Rose. Since her time at Activator, The Clothes Loop brand has continued to expand and innovate within the sustainable fashion space. Rose’s number one piece of advice to aspiring entrepreneurs is to make sure their business comes from the heart. Rose explains, “Starting a business is hard work and making it sustainable is harder, especially when you have to take on extra considerations around the planet and making a positive impact.”
Sustainable startups often have long-term strategies and big visions, which can be time-consuming and costly, creating huge risks. “If you’re passionate about the topic and you breathe the problem you’re trying to solve, this will serve as your north-star for everything you do,” says Rose. “After all, the planet needs passionate people and the best reward you get from the journey is the chance to inspire others too.”