Sustainably Chic – A Conversation with Natalie Kay Smith


We recently caught up with blogger Natalie Kay Smith and asked her to share with us her story. We were curious to know more about her passion and interest in sustainability and how she came to create a community and platform for those with a similar passion. For our friends in the artisan and producer community, there is some great food for thought on understanding the consumer here!

What prompted you to start learning more about conscious consumerism and sustainability? How did the idea for the blog come about?

I studied Fashion in college, and became quite disappointed in how business was being conducted. The unethical treatment, waste and overconsumption was just too much for me. I took a strong interest in Fair Trade, at first, and then stumbled upon Sustainability. My first job out of college was temporary and coming to an end when I decided to start the blog. I felt disconnected to the industry, specifically sustainable initiatives. Sustainably Chic was my way of feeling a part of things again, and creating a loud voice for something I cared very much about.

How do you choose what topics and products to focus on? How do you discover brands?

I’ve been very lucky to have Instagram discover all the new brands for me. It is such an easy tool, and can feel like a mini online family at times. Everyone is extremely supportive, and just wanting to get the message of sustainable fashion across. Typically, all my topics are related to sustainability within fashion and beauty. This means anything organic, Fair Trade, upcycled, recycled – the list goes on! Of course, all brands I genuinely like. I won’t promote a brand just because it has a sustainable business model. If I won’t wear it or recommend my friend using it, then it is not going on the blog. I get pickier as the demand becomes higher, too. You can do as much promoting to as many people possible, but if the product isn’t right then it won’t sell.


What are some of the trends you’ve noted in this sector? Do you have a sense of why consumers are drawn to sustainable and ethically sourced products?

I don’t think anyone wants to feel they are causing harm to someone else. Now the conversation of unethical fashion has become louder, more people are thinking about the impact of their purchases. For example, when buying Fair Trade, the consumer knows they are giving back to an impoverished community and supporting a more sustainable lifestyle. I feel it is in our nature to want to help others, and the easiest way we can do so is with our purchasing power. Positive consumerism makes the consumer feel good about their purchase, and I believe it’s a high for most. Once you get bitten by the ethical bug, every purchase you make is a thought process.

What types of products are consumers most drawn to? Do you have a sense of what pulls them in – is it design, function, colour? How often are consumers curious about origin of an item?

Product wise, clothing and anything beauty related is quite popular. Being they are things we use the most, I find there is a bigger response to those categories. People are more quick to try an organic lotion or a zero waste t-shirt than a decor piece for their home probably because they can justify the spending more. Even though my viewers want an ethically produced product, they still want it to be affordable and well made. The more unique and better quality, the more willing they will spend $300 on a handbag. They don’t want something they can find just anywhere. I love working with companies focused on artisan groups. They always come out with the most interesting products. Not something you could find in H&M! More consumers are becoming aware of where their products are being made, too. If something is made overseas, they want to make sure it is done properly. Made in USA is always a great route to go, and many of my followers believe supporting locally made items are extremely important in fostering a sustainable community. We still have a long way to go until everyone is thinking ‘Where is this made?’.


Do you receive feedback and comments when you share stories and/or reflections on certain brands?

I love hearing when stores pick up a product they have seen on my site or Instagram. My friends even go in on the purchasing {I rub off on them with all the talking I do}! Comments on posts don’t happen often, but emails do. Weird how that works, but feedback is feedback. Most everything is positive and supportive of what the brand is trying to accomplish. I do track links too, and watch social media stats closely.


What are your plans for 2016?

I’m diving back into creating a little, and will have some handmade items online soon! Otherwise, it is all about spreading the word of sustainability, and building a larger audience for the site. The more followers I can create, the more business I can bring to others.

For more information about Natalie, visit:

Photos courtesy Sustainably Chic

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