Say Hello to the founder of Plant Faced, Charlie McEvoy! Who started the vegan streetwear brand with only $50 in her bank account.
PLANT FACED represents the new movement in fashion today, 100% ethical and vegan – making streetwear kind and cool.
Or as they describe themselves: ”We are the global lovechild of fashion, design, art, music, skate, surf, street, tattoo culture, and a plant-based, cruelty-free lifestyle. We are streetwear minus the sweatshop. We make wearable threads that don’t hurt the earth. We aim to spread messages and start conversations. We aim to be more than a brand – we are the Plant Movement.”
Keep on reading to learn more about Charlie and Plant Faced amazing journey so far.
Plant Faced is also one of our beta brands that you’ll find in our platform, which we are thrilled about!
NR: Tell us a little bit about yourself!
CM: Hello! I’m Charlie, originally born in New Zealand, lived the past 2.5 years in Berlin, now currently living the dream traveling the world for a little while. I run Plant Faced and also work as a freelance visual designer, meanwhile spending my other hours cooking, eating, hanging with friends at dinner tables, parks or dancefloors, skateboarding, and watching Netflix documentaries.
NR: Where in the world are you right now? And where are you going next? 🙂
CM: I’m in Sydney, Australia right now, escaping the European winter for as prolonged as possible; was in New Zealand for 3 weeks last week visiting my hometown. Next up is Taipei, Taiwan!
NR: How do you maintain a work/life balance?
CM: It was especially tricky for me in the beginning when I was working full time and building Plant Faced on the side… I didn’t really have much of a balance – my social life consisted of being on my laptop working a lot whilst sitting in the same room as my housemates, trying to multitask. Nowadays I’ve gotten better at it; it’s all about time management really and planning the week in advance to prioritize.
NR: What did you do before starting up Plant Faced?
CM: I was working as the assistant to the director of a dog accessories company – pretty much the dream job art directing & photographing cute pooches, running the socials, etc. After that, I worked as a graphic designer at two different startups in Berlin.
NR: Tell us about Plant Faced – how did it all start? And what made you take the first step?
CM: I guess I always had an entrepreneurial bone and was just itching to find the right idea that resonated with me… well one day not long after turning vegan, I had this lightbulb moment that I was passionate about streetwear, design, and business – and I couldn’t see anyone making clothes that would spread this new message I was so passionate about in the way I’d like to wear it, so why not start something myself?
I spent about a year just dreaming, brainstorming, sketching, bouncing the idea around before I finally decided to take the leap and launch something.
It’s funny because the very first T-shirts I used to personally screenprint by hand with a small setup I bought off eBay, in the kitchen of the sharehouse I was living in. I always have a laugh with my old housemates about how far it’s come since those times!
NR: How long have you been a vegan, and how did it all start?
CM: I think it’s been about 5 years now – I stopped counting! I was pescetarian for a long time before that; I always thought becoming vegan was really extreme and difficult, but then I made a friend who was vegan and started to become aware of more people following this lifestyle via social media, etc, that it suddenly didn’t seem so radical – I decided to look more into it, doing research, trying recipes, watching documentaries. Eventually, I decided to give it a shot – firstly slowly swapping milk for non-dairy milk, etc, etc, and then never looked back.
NR: When you think about the vegan movement today, especially vegan businesses, what are you most pumped about?
CM: It’s so awesome to see the success that some of the major food brands are having – eg Oatly, Fry’s, Miyoko’s, Beyond Meat – and how quickly they continue to grow and receive major investments. It only reflects the potential we have for this movement to continue to scale, and I’m so excited to see how quickly we can continue to take over the mainstream and change the norms.
NR: Do you work full time with Plant Faced?
CM: As of only October last year, pretty much yes, which has been a long time coming! I do some freelance design work as well on the side, and planning to launch an ethical vegan business-focused design agency sometime in the near future, but for now, Plant Faced is my #1 baby.
NR: Did you set any particular milestones/goals that you wanted to achieve before you went full time?
CM: Yes, I set some savings goals, but I surpassed those and then I ended up still sticking it out much longer in my job, because I had it cozy, and I was still scared of making the jump. In the end, I just more or less played it by ear by feeling that I finally had enough of a cushion to last me through how I wanted to spend the next year or so, and enough regular sales coming in.
NR: Your Instagram account is gorgeous! What do you think has been the key to the brand’s success on social media?
CM: Thank you! That’s really kind. I think just having a keen eye for posting aesthetically-pleasing, interesting, diverse imagery, and thinking about what people would like to see in their feed.
We’ve also done a lot of collaborations & giveaways in the past, as well as interacting with like-minded people we think may like to see our content, has helped a lot.
NR: Which are your top 3 tools for Instagram? (Creating, curating, planning, automation, analytics, etc)
CM: Afterlight, VSCO, and ColorStory for editing. Planoly for scheduling automation.
NR: How do you work with marketing today?
CM: Most of our marketing just comes organically through our Instagram account, but we also do some paid social ads, email marketing, and of course all the offline events (markets) we travel to.
NR: What have up to today been the most effective marketing tactics for Plant Faced?
CM: Last year we did an insane amount of offline marketing in the form of traveling to vegan festivals all around Europe & the US to make an appearance – which is still my favorite part ever of running this business and I think has had a huge impact! Getting to meet & chat with all our customers face-to-face and being exposed to the amazing energy that happens at these events, is completely priceless.
NR: Do you use Influencer Marketing today? If yes, what has been your experience so far? And which are the most important factors for you when evaluating influencers to partner with?
CM: To be honest nowhere near enough! I know this is one area I really haven’t put enough focus into, but I’m only one person trying to keep up with all the other things and so just haven’t quite put the effort in. Usually, it’s when I notice someone organically, they like some photos, or even message directly, and I think their vibe fits ours, then I’ll ask if they’d be interested in a collaboration. The most important factors I look at would be their aesthetic (their style or the way they carry themselves), their values and beliefs or how passionate they are about veganism, engagement, and the quality of images.
NR: Your design and branding is spot on- love it. How do you find inspiration and new ideas?
CM: Thank you! Most of the designs currently on the site are by me, indeed; I’ve been working on commissioning a few illustrators to come up with our next designs to breathe some fresh air in, however, which I’m pretty excited about.
I travel constantly so probably most of my inspiration comes from being in a wide variety of environments, the people around me, streetwear brands I follow & admire, music, street fashion, Pinterest, I skate as well so the scene & community around that can be pretty uniquely inspiring. Whenever inspiration strikes, I turn to my holy grail of the Notes app and jot down any idea/tagline/concept that’s popped into my mind, to save it for later.
NR: Up until today how have you funded Plant Faced?
CM: I started with about $50 in my bank account to my name, used that to place a small order of blank organic T-shirts with the screen printing equipment I had, on the small kitchen table I mentioned above.
I kept costs down just continuing to print by hand and do everything myself until sales got steady enough for me to justify outsourcing to a screen printing company I liked, and things have just scaled steadily from there. I’ve bootstrapped since day one but should mention that I also worked full time, then part time, for 2+ years, whilst doing this as a ‘side hustle’ (which in reality was like another full-time job!).
It’s pretty insane to look back at how far things have come, and I’m definitely living out my dreams.
NR: Do you’ve any exciting future plans for Plant Faced?
CM: Absolutely – going to keep bringing out more awesome products & collections, doing cool things, launching the PF design studio I mentioned earlier, traveling to more vegan festivals around the world – the sky’s the limit!
NR: Who are some of your favorite inspiring female entrepreneurs?
CM: I would definitely say one of my best friends, Lisa, who runs an epic vintage clothing site called The Black Market (www.theblackmarkt.com/) – we’ve travelled the world together, lived on the same block in Berlin together for years, and continue to bounce ideas off each other, sharing in our wins & lows, I’m really grateful to have her in my life to go through this journey with!
NR: Based on your experience with Plant Faced, what’s the best advice you can give someone who wants to start up a business in the same niche?
CM: Make sure you really love and will be passionate about what you want to start for years to come, because you’re going to put in a lot of long hours and make some sacrifices in the beginning, but if you truly enjoy and get joy from it then it will never really feel like work!
Also, be hungrily seeking out information to learn as much as you can about everything that will help you in growing it – the internet is an absolute goldmine of intelligence for everything you possibly need.