An interview with Julie Mathers, Flora & Fauna Founder & CEO

An interview with Julie Mathers, Flora & Fauna Founder & CEO

Having founded Flora & Fauna after years of working in retail and seeing things being done the wrong way, Julie Mathers poured all her energy into building an ethical and sustainable business that truly aligns with her principles.

We caught up with Julie about her journey creating the eco-friendly online retailer, her favourite Boody styles and why Boody is the perfect fit for Flora & Fauna.

Hi Julie! Tell us a bit about why you founded Flora & Fauna and what the company is all about.

I founded Flora & Fauna in 2014 after working in retail for a very long time. I'd worked for all kinds of retailers all over the world and I'd seen lots of things that were done well and lots of things that needed to be improved. 

Caring for our planet and community was top of the improvement list. Retailers didn't and still don't, think enough about packaging, waste, sourcing, diversity, the community or how products are made. It was a problem that had existed for years and I wanted to do something about it. I decided to create Flora & Fauna to be that better business and really lead the way when it comes to ethics and being responsible. 

We launched in November 2014 as a cruelty-free beauty store with 500 products and 30 brands – we're now 8000+ products and over 300 brands with an amazing community who support us and really push us every day to be better. We are driven by purpose and values and that's our point of difference – we make every decision based on these first and foremost. We will never be swayed from our values. 

You guys source the best ethical, eco, organic and vegan products out there. Tell us about your huge range.

Thank you! Our purpose is to help everyone make better choices and so we are constantly sourcing products to help us do just that. Whether it be skincare that is vegan, not tested on animals, has natural ingredients, but also is exceptional quality or makeup that is refillable we have lots of different products. Our range spans beauty, home, baby, sustainable clothing and some food and health. Everything is vegan and cruelty-free. 

We work hard at sourcing and for the last six years, I have done all the buying so I have a lot of knowledge in my head around ingredients and certifications. I'm now finally relinquishing responsibility to our new buyer which is exciting for us at Flora & Fauna. 

We're thrilled that Boody is stocked on Flora & Fauna. What is it about our brand that makes us the perfect fit?

We are delighted to have Boody in the Flora & Fauna Family. Our customers are actually our best buyers and they are thrilled Boody is now at Flora & Fauna. Our ethics align and it starts with the people. Having great partnerships is really key to us so we grow together and drive change together. 

Following on from that, Boody's products are fantastic and so, so comfortable. There's no plastic packaging and, what people don't see, is that there isn't plastic packaging in the orders we receive either. Plus the sourcing is incredibly responsible and Boody really goes to the greatest heights here. It's a match made in heaven really. 

Do you have any favourite styles from the Boody range?

I am a huge fan of the Boyleg Briefs; they are so, so comfortable. I also love the cushioned ankle socks as they don't slip and I'm always in runners of some description so they’re perfect to wear with them. 

Sustainability is important to both Flora & Fauna and Boody. In what ways can our community live a more eco-friendly life?

Less is more! There are lots of things you can do like composting, recycling with REDcycle and us at Flora & Fauna, shopping local and reusing and refilling. However, it's quite overwhelming for people around what to do first so my suggestion is to think less. 

Choose to buy veggies not in plastic and locally and choose to buy what you need – a third of all food is wasted and ends up in landfill – it's a huge contributor to greenhouse gases. Think smaller and get crafty i.e. perhaps start making a few of your own things whether that is making your own cleaning products, growing your own veggies or making your own dishcloths from old t-shirts. 

2020 has been a challenging year for most. In what ways have you seen your life shift, both on a personal and professional level?

2020 has been a hugely challenging year. From a business perspective, we have overhauled how we work and I am so proud of my team for getting behind the changes, delivering them and being so, so positive throughout. I am incredibly proud of the team I work with. Lots of us work flexibly and the warehouse now runs on two shifts to allow the team the space they need. We have really pulled together through this. 

Personally, I have had a baby in the middle of all of this so in May I gave birth to my second little boy. I now have two little boys, 15 months apart and my focus has been on protecting them so we have stayed at home and really ensured they are ok and get plenty of mummy and daddy time. It makes Zoom calls interesting, too!

What are your plans for Flora & Fauna in the near future? Anything exciting on the horizon?

It's so hard to plan currently with everything up in the air – we're living day to day. Right now we're focused on getting through the next few months and we're also recruiting so we can bolster the team and I can spend a little more time with my babies.

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