ēthikos, in Ancient Greek, means 'arising from habit' and 'morality.'
We're all aware that sustainability is the way forward, but unfortunately, that knowledge has never been enough to persuade us to embark on a journey towards a sustainable lifestyle. There's sacrifices that most of us just aren't willing to make because there's simply no incentive for us to change our ways.
At ēthikos, we’re not trying to be perfect; it's certainly hard to push for 100% sustainability, especially since we acknowledge that consumption is an integral part of our lives. Oftentimes there is no accessible sustainable and ethical alternative to products that cause convenience. There’s no benefit in pushing a message to our consumers with an expectation that is unreasonable; we realise the unfortunate, but existent, roadblocks, so we’re merely asking our customers to take small steps.
As a brand, we appreciate what everyone means when they talk about sustainability as a means to save the planet for future generations, and we fully support that, but we’re also aware of the implications of unethical and unsustainable practices on people and economies today. We’re more invested in what we can do now to help us in this moment.
what are we doing?
We reward effort at ēthikos because we value participation and initiative, especially given that very few people even try to contribute. We started after winning the Entrepreneurial Ventures Bootcamp at the University of Melbourne in July 2020; since then we’ve participated in the Melbourne Accelerator Program’s Velocity 2020 Cohort and Victoria University’s BETA planetary pre-accelerator. Each time you decide to take a step forward, we thank you for your effort with rewards points that you can use as you like on our platform.
We don’t make consumption look bad, and we don't take the typical guilt tripping approach that several ethical businesses take; our goal is to incentivise ethical consumers, not demoralise indecisive customers and consumers of fast fashion. Whilst sustainable and ethical principles guide us, they are no substitute for product quality; ēthikos aims to associate itself with robust products that are also ethical and sustainable, rather than sustainable and ethical products that aspire to serve as weak substitutes.
We strive to provide consumers with options from around the world because, to us, sustainability does not refer merely to supporting environmental and economic stability, but also encouraging cultural integration and globalisation. Consumers and brands on the ēthikos network have the option to look beyond their borders and seek opportunities that better suit their needs.
Yes, we plant trees when you buy from us, and yes, we also uplift local communities and support the rehabilitation of abused children and incarcerated women, but that’s not a reason good enough for you to buy from us. We do those things because we care, and we would do them even if we weren’t running ēthikos. We think our true selling point is the incredible brands that we’re partnered with; they all have something unique to offer — every brand that we work with is certainly sustainable and ethical, but they’re also brands that were featured on the likes of Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, and Cosmopolitan, and brands that have walked the ramp at New York, Paris, and London Fashion Weeks.
We actually want you to look good and feel empowered; it’s not just about saving the turtles. Scientifically and socially, we are progressing consistently, but large fashion retailers have remained consistent in their approach over the past few decades; unfortunately, innovation within fashion is often overlooked and deemed unnecessary. At ēthikos, we curate brands that not just preserve local weaving traditions and pay fair wages, but also make you look like the boss you truly are, all whilst minimising the usage of natural resources and synthetics.
The founders we work with are independent, strong, and create with a vision. ēthikos is not an initiative that strives to merely put up a website with a few products; if that’s all we wanted to do, we’d be working a day job at a large-scale marketplace that focuses on transaction volume and capturing large markets through mass advertising. At ēthikos, we bring innovation and quirkiness to the forefront; we shine the spotlight on our brands and their vision, and we’re focused on building a community because merely taking about change is starting to get a little boring.
about the founders
As a teenager, I spent 8 years living in the same house, going to the same school, but my life was far from mundane; the streets of Bahrain echoed the cries of innocent civilians who'd faced the dire consequences of the Arab Spring. I spent much of my life in an environment where I realised the emotional impact of suppression, physical abuse, and trauma. I worked for 3 years alongside the United Nations to enable ethical and sustainable practices across the Middle Eastern school and business network, placing a keen focus on uplifting Middle Eastern women and children.
After getting an education in Finance from the University of Melbourne and spending 3 years working in consulting, specifically Digital Strategy and Operations, at Deloitte, KPMG, and the University of Melbourne, it was most intuitive for me to solve the issue of resistance towards adopting sustainable and ethical lifestyles with financial incentives.
As someone with severe exposure to unethical lifestyle practices, it was ironic that I paid for services and products that contributed to the issues I'd personally experienced. I started ēthikos to ensure that there exists a platform that swayed people away from spending their wealth on encouraging practices that they may not personally support.
As an avid diver that's spent 1,000+ hours underwater exploring what was once some of the world's most pristine dive sites, I have personally retrieved over 500 kgs of ocean plastic in an effort to restore coral reeves and marine biodiversity in the Pacific Ocean. With degrees in Supply Chain, Economics, and Politics, I spent 5 years heading a national transportation company in the Philippines, overseeing ethical supply chain practices and enabling sustainability amongst local merchants in the ASEAN region. With experiences working closely with government and nonprofit organisations, I also spent 4 years working with 'Great Women of ASEAN' (NGO) to preserve local weaving traditions and empower underrepresented women in Asia Pacific.
I am personally attached to the idea of ēthikos because I’ve seen the dire situations traditional weavers are placed in. Whilst their pieces are regularly purchased and sold, by large conglomerates, for hefty prices in international markets, these weavers and their families are almost always unrewarded for their efforts. I’m from the Philippines where this an unfortunately common occurrence; having witnessed the unsavory consequences of my purchasing decisions, it was difficult for me to continue on without addressing the many problems my purchasing decisions indirectly encouraged.
To us, everything matters less than people and their welfare. For each post anyone (customer or not) makes on Instagram with #ethikos and #schoolachild, we pay a days' tuition for a child in the Philippines to go to school. A mere 365 Instagram posts mean 1 years tuition, on us. This is an initiative in collaboration with the Mengal Women Foundation, which is a women-led organisation working towards the rehabilitation of abused children in rural Philippines, especially given the tragic rise in the number of abuse cases owing to COVID.
For each sale made on the ēthikos platform, we commit to planting an indigenous fruit-bearing tree in areas affected significantly by natural disasters and deforestation. We're partnered with global organisations like the Great Women Initiative and Mengal Women Foundation to facilitate this endeavour. To fulfill our promise, we're employing local women, prioritising those who have been in abusive households and/or incarcerated.
In 2019, we planted 6 hectares of Bamboo across Asia Pacific and employed 23 women.