Women in Business: Laura Dooley

We just hosted an amazing giveaway! Thanks to everyone who participated, this won’t be last! We were so lucky to partner with amazing businesses run by some incredible women. We asked each of them to tell us a little more about what it means to be a woman running her own company; for the next few weeks we’ll be giving you an inside scoop into the professional lives of these women. First up, Laura Dooley from LoKey Designs! 

 

LoKey Designs was founded five years ago. It Is a local store in the Shaw neighborhood of St. Louis that offers plants, pots, home decor, gifts and more. They also have in-studio shopping by appointment, plant styling consultations and can create custom plant creations. Laura also hosts classes  to help everyone learn more about plant care. Enjoy!

 

Q: What does it mean to be a woman entrepreneur? 

 

A: Being a woman entrepreneur is empowering, freeing and gives new meaning to community. I’ve worked a lot of different jobs before I became my own boss. I never felt like I belonged. I struggled to feel like I was ever doing a good job and always doubted my place. 

I had a defining moment when I was laid off from my career job. I could find another 9-5 with benefits or I could make my own job, create my own path and take on LoKey Designs full time. 

Though uncertain and terrifying, I’m so glad I took that leap. I’m so glad I believed in me.

Through being an entrepreneur, I’ve found my passion, defined my strengths and grew a true community for the first time ever. I found out I wasn’t out of place, I was just in the wrong place for me. I have found my work family in fellow female entrepreneurs and feel so at home for the first time in my work life. 

Q: How has the female perspective influenced your business? 

 

A: I work around primarily women on home decor, plant styling and gift giving. The influence of fellow women owned businesses and clients keeps me inspired and also in the loop on what real customers are looking for when they shop. It’s given me so much more perspective on also what is lacking in the market when it comes to personalized gifts and plant shopping. 

 

Q: What advice do you have for young women pursuing a career in entrepreneurship? 

 

A: I would say to get as many jobs, random work that interests you, to gather as much experience in a wide range of things as you can. All the random jobs I ever had, from being a hostess at a burger joint in O’Fallon, MO to working in Marketing at Burberry in New York, all of that experience gained from being 16-years-old on helped me do better work, connect with clients or fellow business owners on a first hand basis. 

What the heck is a Quagga anyway??

Ever wonder what the quagga in Quagga Green Label means? Our name was inspired by a real animal with a tragic story. Like the dodo bird, the saber-toothed tiger, and the woolly mammoth, the quagga met an early demise. The difference between the quagga and these other extinct species is that we are entirely to blame for the disappearance of this unique animal. With more care, action, and forethought, its extinction could have been prevented and we might have been able to see these animals grazing on the beautiful plains of Africa today.

 

However, history did not play out that way. The quagga is an extinct subspecies of the plains zebra that was endemic to South Africa until it was hunted to extinction in the late 19th century by European settler-colonists.  The quagga looked distinct from the zebra because it had more brown tones and the back half of the animal was free of stripes. The stripes were present on the front end, but faded away, creating a beautiful ombré effect. 

Rendering of the extinct quagga

This species, now lost, carries such a powerful message. Our actions directly impact the animals of this earth. The human impact of the environment has led to catastrophic changes in ecosystems around the world. Biodiversity is steadily declining. The wildlife of the world is facing unprecedented problems due to the effects of human activity. This tragedy won’t stop until we take action. 

 

Quagga Green has embodied this message into everything we do. Creating sustainable products that don’t neglect the environment around us is our top priority. Our goal is to create products that you can feel good about buying, because they are made with sustainable efforts and care. Not only that, but we believe donating to organizations like The Big Life Foundation, has a huge impact on preserving endangered animals and preventing them from ending up like the doomed quagga.

 

If you’d like to learn more about the science behind the quagga, visit here.

Want more information about Quagga? Visit our social media @quaggagreenlabel.

 

With Love,

The Quagga Team

Fabulous Fabrics that are Mother Nature Approved

Quagga’s mission is to provide our customers with sustainable products that you can feel good about wearing. We know that in today’s cultural climate, sustainability is a pressing issue. So we want to continue to do our part in making the world a better place one day at a time.

That mission starts with our fabrics. All of our products are made using sustainable materials that are ethically sourced from around the world. Here at Quagga Green, our designs embrace the idea that fashion can be both stylish and ethical. Working with our suppliers and partners worldwide, we strive to create personal connections to both the people and places that bring us our products. Our commitment to sustainability is reflected in the materials we use.

Organic cotton was one of the first materials the sustainable fashion industry was founded on.

Lightweight and breathable, cotton has been a popular fiber for centuries. But, as with much of our worldwide agriculture, industrial farming methods have made cotton growing and processing disastrous for the environment. While industrial agriculture may yield higher volumes of cotton, it is responsible for high levels of pollution. This method has made a negative impact on climate change and has also depleted soil fertility. Not only that, but the pollution caused by industrial harvesting can lead to respiratory and cardiovascular issues for those exposed.

Organic farming eliminates the use of toxic pesticides and weed killers that can contaminate water supplies and impact local wildlife. Sustainable practices like crop rotation help to reduce water waste and soil erosion. There is also less energy being used, making conservation efforts a top priority. Another great effect of using organic farming methods is the benefits seen in the entire ecosystem in the area. Without the thread of pesticides and chemicals, other animals in the area thrive in their natural environment. Growing cotton without harmful chemicals creates better conditions not just for the land, but for the farmers who work the fields.

Because of organic farming, Quagga Green is helping to save almost 20,000 gallons of water per acre. Now that’s something to be proud of.

Want more information about Quagga? Follow us on instagram @quaggagreenlabel.

With Love,

The Quagga Team

What Sustainability means at Quagga Green

Since our founding in 2016, Quagga Green has dedicated itself to providing exceptional products to our customers. Quality is our top priority; we want you to feel good about every purchase made with us. That is why we have taken every step to ensure that our efforts are always sustainable.

The products we develop and manufacture are all made from recycled and/or renewable resources. We keep plastic waste out of landfills and ecosystems by breaking down plastic bottles and converting them into beautiful recycled polyester fabrics. Lenzing modal is another favorite fiber of ours. This lightweight and beautifully flowy fabric is made from beech tree pulp that is harvested without harming the trees in the process. We also love to incorporate organic cotton into our styles over conventional cotton, as it drastically reduces the amount of soil and water pollution. 

Another way we integrate sustainability into our day to day operations is through our partnership with The Big Life Foundation. At Quagga Green, we aim to do our part and empower our customers to change our current course and leave the planet a better place for everyone. We are fighting to protect the environment and all of its wild creatures because soon we will be beyond the point of no return. Already, many animal species have gone extinct due to human activities and we can never bring them back. Every day the climate and other species are impacted by how we humans live and act. The fashion industry has unfortunately played a role in this problem with fast fashion, throw away products, and environmentally harmful materials.

Together with Big Life, we are helping to protect over 1.6 million acres of wilderness in the Amboseli-Tsavo-Kilimanjaro ecosystem of East Africa. Changing the impact of human activity on our wildlife and ecosystems is crucial. That change starts with you! With every Quagga Green purchase, 1% is donated to the Big Life Foundation. We have already donated almost $26,000 to Big Life and cannot wait to keep helping this amazing organization. 

To learn more about Big Life and all of their amazing efforts, visit their website here! 

If you want to continue supporting sustainable efforts in the fashion industry, follow us on our social media! 

 

Instagram: @quaggagreenlabel

Facebook: Quagga Green (@thequaggagreen)

Twitter: @quaggagreen

 

With love,

The Quagga Team

 

Green Vacations: Rancho Margot (Part 2 of 3)

Alexandra shades her face from the sun in the Quagga Green Kovalam Striped Floppy biodegradable paper straw hat. Photo by Jeremy Goss in partnership with Big Life Foundation. https://biglife.org/

While we are in the midst of the scariest pandemic of our lifetimes, stuck at home in quarantine, let’s dream about our next green vacation…Costa Rica!

 Second Stop: Rancho Margot, Costa Rica

 Costa Rica tops anyone’s list of eco-friendly vacation destinations, and with good reason. The country was one of the first to recognize the importance of sustainable tourism and is on its way to becoming the world’s first truly carbon-neutral nation. The country’s protection of its forests and beaches is setting the standard for environmental conservation.

Rancho Margot Eco-Lodge, in Costa Rica shows that sustainability and amenities can co-exist. This off-the-grid lodge combines luxury, adventure, and environmentalism to provide something for everybody. The lodge aims for 100% self-sustainability, producing everything from food to soap on-site and with an eye toward eliminating waste. In fact, Rancho Margot was recognized as Costa Rica’s first carbon-negative company in 2012. Living roofs, hydroelectric power, and furniture made from repurposed materials provide comfort with a focus on conservation.

The off-the-grid lodge will both relax you and excite you with adventures! https://www.ranchomargot.com/

Visitors to Rancho Margot can partake in a wide variety of activities that take advantage of the lodge’s expansive grounds within Costa Rica’s pristine forests. The area can be explored on foot, on horseback, or by kayak. Fishing provides hours of relaxation and guests can take a dip in one of Rancho Margot’s spring-fed pools. You can also leave the lodge to enjoy all the exploration opportunities the area has to offer. Nearby Arenal Volcano Park offers challenging hikes, zip-lining through the forest, whitewater rafting, and tours of the region’s chocolate farms.

Explore nearby Arenal Volcano Park while staying at Rancho Margot. https://www.ranchomargot.com/

Rancho Margot offers more than outdoor adventure, though. Sustainability and luxury come together in the lodge’s first-class amenities. Twice-daily yoga classes and professional massage services let you unwind in a peaceful tropical setting. Common areas provide WiFi access in addition to a well-stocked library, playground, athletic facilities, and a well-stocked bar. The on-site restaurant uses no processed foods. 75% of the food comes from Rancho Margot’s grounds, with the rest being locally sourced from independent growers.

Get a cold drink at the well-stocked bar at Rancho Margot. https://www.ranchomargot.com/

Of course, Rancho Margot is more than just an eco-lodge. It is also a working organic farm with a community dedicated to service and environmentalism. Visitors are encouraged to take advantage of Rancho Margot’s educational programs to learn more about sustainability. You can tour the organic ranch, which includes grass-fed cows, free-range chickens, and of course, organic produce. The ranch also provides learning opportunities, from milking the cows that provide all the restaurant’s yogurt and cheese to touring the vegetable gardens. The truly dedicated can even receive free lodgings in exchange for volunteer work on the farm or in the community.

Green Vacations? Issa Vibe! (Part 1 of 3)

Basking in the African sun
This photo were taken on location at ol Donyo Lodge in the Chyulu Hills, Kenya. Amy Baird, Big Life’s Associate Director, is wearing Quagga Green Spring 19 product on her vacation in Africa!

We’ve all said it at some point: “I need a vacation.” For some people, that phrase might conjure visions of an all-inclusive resort or a luxury cruise. But more and more people are looking for alternatives to the traditional vacation.

Sustainable travel is about more than just admiring the local wildlife. Truly eco-friendly travel options prioritize both environmental protection and the needs of local human populations. Working with local farms and residents, the best green destinations have a commitment to the land and people. But going green on vacation doesn’t mean you have to skimp on comfort or miss out on activities. While some people might think an eco-friendly vacation means sleeping rough and skipping showers, the following picks for some of the best environmentally conscious vacations around the world show that you can relax in comfort while getting close to nature.

This 3 part blog series highlights 3 green destinations!

 First Stop: Mwaleshi Camp , Zambia

Camp Hut at Mwaleshi Camp
Twilight dinner at Mwaleshi Camp-Photo courtesy of Remote Africa-Copyright Scott Ramsay https://www.remoteafrica.com/camp/mwaleshi-camp/

An African safari is on many people’s list of dream vacations, and it’s easy to see why. The chance to see iconic animals in their natural habitat is a once-in-a-lifetime adventure. Sadly, many tours in sub-Saharan Africa aren’t as environmentally friendly as you might hope. Huge resorts and the constant use of vehicles adds to pollution and disrupts local wildlife.

Mwaleshi Camp in Zambia is not a typical safari experience. Operated by the family-owned Remote Africa Safaris, Mwaleshi Camp provides a truly unique opportunity to get close to nature. A true bush camp, the site is tucked away on a river bend far from any resorts or towns within North Luangwa National Park.

Remote Africa Safaris is dedicated to conservation efforts in the region and nowhere is that more apparent than at Mwaleshi Camp. A truly seasonal camp, Mwaleshi is built every year from local materials using traditional techniques. You won’t find any concrete or screws in the camp’s four open-air chalets. The camp is meant to truly work with nature, using sustainable and biodegradable materials that leave no trace.

You won’t find a fleet of Jeeps at Mwaleshi Camp, either. After a brief ride away from camp, all safaris are on foot. Knowledgable local guides help you safely follow existing game trails to see animals truly in their element. Lions, elephants, hippos, kudu, and buffalo are all found nearby, and black rhinos have recently been reintroduced to the park. Walking safaris also help you appreciate the smaller animals you wouldn’t spot from a vehicle, from tiny shrews to the region’s 400 bird species. Experienced trackers will show you how to spot animal prints, the plants they eat and, without the rumbling of an engine, the sounds they make.

Relax in the open air at a handmade Mwaleshi chalet. Photo courtesy of Remote Africa-Copyright Scott Ramsay https://www.remoteafrica.com/camp/mwaleshi-camp/

A stay at Mwaleshi is all about relaxing in a truly natural habitat. While hot water and limited charging stations are available, the camp has no WiFi or cell phone signal. Food, much of which comes from gardens at a sister camp, is cooked over an open fire. The truly adventurous can even choose to leave camp for a night and sleep under the stars. But one of the most popular activities at Mwaleshi is simply relaxing in one of the camp’s hammocks, enjoying the sounds of nature.

A trip to Mwaleshi is about much more than your individual experience, however. Remote Africa Safaris provides financial and material support to local conservation efforts, including anti-poaching initiatives. In addition, the company’s own Tafika Fund provides educational and healthcare support to local communities. Through camp revenue and private donations, the fund supports local schools and provides scholarships, and supports a health clinic that includes maternity care. It also runs a unique Football for Wildlife program, encouraging local villages to come together with both men’s and ladies’ leagues.

“Mwaleshi Camp, located in the vast wilderness of North Luangwa National Park, is a 40 minute flight from Mfuwe Airport. Hidden within a scenic bend of the Mwaleshi River 10km upstream of the confluence with the Luangwa River, the camp is a truly special and remarkable place.” (https://www.remoteafrica.com/camp/mwaleshi-camp/)

If you are looking for a little more luxury, check back next week to learn about a lush and sustainable “off-the-grid paradise”!

See animals on foot during a guided walking safari at Mwaleshi Camp. Photo courtesy of Jeremy Goss of the Big Life Foundation.

Quagga Green x Causebox Collaboration

Quagga Green is doing a collaboration with Causebox this summer! Causebox is a seasonal delivery of hand-curated product from socially conscious companies. They don’t just support brands that give back, they also give back and work with charities like, Freedom Firm, Speak Your Silence, & The Jessie Reese Foundation just to name a few. When you subscribe to receive a Causebox you’re making a difference. Check out our Wet/Dry swim pouches in the Summer box made exclusively for Causebox and featuring an illustration by Mélanie Johnsson.

Learn more!