This month, Laura Berg (a.k.a. L.B.) talked to us about her amazing company, Nourish Sweat Soul (NSS) and all of the incredible ways it gives back to the environment. Laura's company sells everything you need for the athleisure section of your closet (we're talking sports bras, leggings, crop tops...). In addition, all of her products are made from organic and recycled materials. NSS has also created a platform for women to feel comfortable in their skin and feel inspired to purchase more products that are ethically made.
Read about L.B.'s journey through a multitude of hardships, finding her passion for sustainable living, and giving back to the Calgary community.
In the past, you've talked about how NSS was created after you experienced a natural disaster in 2013. Walk us through what happened and how you were able to turn a negative experience into your incredible business.
Sometimes I can't believe it’s been over 6 years since the Calgary Floods. I moved to Calgary in June 2012; when the floods happened a year later, I had just finished my first year of my master's degree, I had just piloted a new role for a non-profit organization, and then life was suddenly turned upside down. We lost everything, were displaced for about a year, and I struggled with anxiety, depression, and was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease. This level of post-traumatic stress and financial hardship was something I never expected to experience. I decided to focus on my health and divert my life. I received a scholarship to complete my holistic nutrition degree, and that actually started my desire to live consciously, starting with food. We learned about how the food and agricultural industries affect the environment and that got me thinking, what else is affecting our environment. When I learned about the social and environmental injustices of the fashion industry, and I struggled to find ethical eco-friendly apparel locally, I started to dream up what would eventually become NSS.
We noticed that your products incorporate materials such as vegetable dye, organic cotton, and adhere to the global organic textile standard (GOTS) - which is amazing! Can you give us a rundown on why we should be utilizing these types of materials and how they can make the earth a happier and healthier place?
A mantra I like to say is materials matter. GOTS is the standard to ensure that organic textiles are harvested and manufactured with the utmost social and environmental responsibility - it’s rare that brands embody both. I avoid buying clothing made from synthetic fibres such as polyester, nylon, and lycra, because those materials are made from things like petroleum and plastics, and take 20-200+ years to biodegrade. I prefer to invest in natural and organic fibres such as cotton, linen, hemp, and eucalyptus because, in addition to being more sustainable and earth-friendly, plant fibres are naturally antimicrobial and antibacterial, good for thermal regulation, and breathable, overall better for our health. Organic fibres are grown without the use of pesticides, herbicides, and artificial fertilizers, also better for the health of workers across the supply chain, and of course better for the health of our planet. On the flip side, you can also help keep pollution out of our land and water by supporting brands made from recycled materials such as recycled plastic, cotton, and polyester.
Your company is based in Los Angeles. What environmentally friendly fashion trends have you seen implemented over there that you think would be cool to incorporate in Calgary?
Our manufacturing company in Los Angeles was founded on the same values as NSS to create apparel that is both socially and environmentally responsible. They are redefining transparency by supporting family farms, localized manufacturing, living wages, using post-consumer and Monsanto-free ingredients, and empowering humans through fair-trade, fair treatment, and full trace-ability. I would love to see this type of manufacturing come to Calgary one day as NSS continues to grow and the Fashion Revolution grows locally.
You talk about how the importance of joining The Fashion Revolution. What does pledging mean to you?
Joining the Fashion Revolution was my commitment and accountability to consume mindfully, continue to educate myself, and to spread awareness. My motivation to live and consume responsibly started with the environment, but the social exploitation of fashion industry across the world further fueled my passion to be a part of positive change, not just be an advocate, but an activist. I am also on the founding board of our local non-profit Fashion Revolution YYC. We are continuing to build content, host events, and share resources for locals to live and consume more mindfully. I don’t think many realize how much ethical and sustainable fashion and products are right here in Calgary! I am the lead for our conscious holiday market coming up on Saturday, November 30th - follow @fash_rev_yyc to stay in the loop and shop conscious and local this holiday season!
Your social media is absolute goals and it looks like you include a lot of local women in your visuals, what does it mean to be part of such an amazing community as Calgary?
Why thank you! I am so lucky to get to work with many fabulous women and friends throughout the city to bring NSS to life and create the visual content (shout out to my incredible photographer Amy Highton - Her Modern Nest). Calgary’s continuous support means the absolute world to me and is why NSS continuous to grow brand awareness as a self-funded startup. I have limited resources as a grassroots small business, but I think what we create organically here in YYC is phenomenal, and I feel so fortunate to have such a supportive community.
What can we expect from Nourish Sweat Soul in the upcoming year? (Any behind the scenes info?)
My next collection is launching later this month in October so stay tuned for that, and something I am very excited about expanding size offerings to XS-XL! You can find a list of NSS retail partners and pop-ups in Alberta on the NSS website and also shop online with the option for local pick up in inner-city Calgary. As I fine-tune NSS signature styles and continue to test out designs over the next year, you can expect NSS to settle on our signature best selling styles. I am also testing out co-branding and small-batch wholesale with select partners to hopefully solidify a model by summer 2020. If you know of studios or businesses NSS would be perfect for send me a message at email@example.com so I can get in touch!
Cheers to Laura for sharing her journey on creating NSS! We were so lucky to have her featured on our blog and in YYC In Style this month. Find Laura's products in the following stores in Calgary:
And soon... Outside the Shape (she is reopening in mid-October in Marda Loop!)
Use the code FALL20 online for 20% off of NSS products- the sale is also going on in retail locations (listed above). Sizes and colors left are very limited!