When it comes to the organic textile business, serial entrepreneur Marci Zaroff is a true visionary — and I do not use this word lightly.
In 1995, Marci Zaroff coined and trademarked the termECOfashion® and launched Under the Canopy, which pioneered the market for organic and sustainable apparel and home textiles. Additionally, she helped create the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS).
Most recently, Marci Zaroff founded and is the CEO of MetaWear, the first “sustainable style” GOTS and Cradle to Cradle Certified cut and sew manufacturer in the world for organic and eco-friendly apparel. In addition to that, she is the founder of Farm to Home, producer of THREAD / Driving Fashion Forward, and co-founder of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, Good Catch Foods and BeyondsBrands.
This organic trailblazer just launched her first book called ECOrenaissance: A Lifestyle Guide for Cocreating a Stylish, Sexy and Sustainable World, and I caught up with my good friend to speak with her about it.
You had the unusual good fortune to have Horst Rechelbacher, the brilliant CEO and founder of AVEDA, as a mentor. What did you learn from him?
Horst was a true visionary and a guiding light in my life. Not only was he using business as a force for good, but he was living proof that modalities such as Eastern thought, plant intelligence, and indigenous philosophy could actually form the foundation for a wildly successful company.
One of the critical things that Horst inspired in me, which is also the foundation of ECOrenaissance, was that educating people about the environment starts with great design. Despite the fact that environmental impact is front and center in everything that I do, I have never forgotten that key lesson about the importance of aesthetics and visceral appeal as a conduit to activate change.
You talk about a concept in the book called “yes, and.” What does that mean exactly?
As both an entrepreneur and consumer, I believe that products and services should strive to give people a way to buy what they love and seek, while ALSO making a positive difference to human and planetary health.
There is a misconception that these two concepts are mutually exclusive, but I do not believe this to be the case. Life should not be about compromise. We shouldn’t have to settle for better-designed clothes or better-tasting food if they result in harm to our world. The ECOrenaissance is about getting more — more value, more beauty, more health, more joy.
If we can experience life — with more delicious and nutritious food or more stylish and responsible fashion — while also regenerating the health of our planet, that is the ultimate win. And how we accomplish this is one of the reasons that I am publishing my book. It is how I live my life, and I want to share this vision with others.
Along with the nuts and bolts of living this life — clothes to wear, food to eat, etc. — you also talk about five key elements of the ECOrenaissance. What are they and why are they so essential?
These five pillars — creativity, connection, collaboration, community, consciousness — are the driving forces, or DNA, of the ECOrenaissance philosophy. They represent a radically new way of thinking and are interlinked to form a sustainable, holistic and fulfilling existence. Furthermore, they drive my decisions on a day-to-day basis and serve as constant reminders to stay committed to my truth and to live with purpose.
Not only does ECOrenaissance give you a framework as to how Marci Zaroff thinks about building businesses, but the book incorporates a spiritual approach — something that is so important yet often missing in books about sustainability.
When it comes to cocreating organic and sustainable companies, Marci Zaroff has a lot to teach all of us. ECOrenaissance is not only educational and informative but incredibly inspirational as well. I strongly recommend it.