Interview with Anna Ferry, Charlie and Me Designs

Anna Ferry Creator of Charlie and Me Designs

Can you tell us a little bit about your background/history that has led you to this point? 

    I grew up in the outer suburbs of Melbourne in a very creative family, where our creativity was always nurtured and encouraged. Our family spent many holidays bushwalking around Wilson’s Promontory, canoeing down the Snowy River and just enjoying the Australian bush overall.I attended a fairly arts focused high school in Eltham, graduated, and after a few years of traveling through Australia, America and Canada went on to study Diversional Therapy at The University of Sydney. During a university break I travelled to New Zealand where I hitch hiked, tramped, and climbed my way around the south island, little did I know that it would be at the Mt. Cook youth hostel that I would met my later to be husband, a southern boy from Alabama. 15 years on, and two little girls later we now live in Boulder, Colorado in a 50-s style ranch at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. I have been fortunate to stay home with my girls as they have grown, and in-between renovating our home and traveling back to Australia each year to visit family Charlie + Me has slowly developed into the ladies clothing label it is today. Things have moved and morphed slowly but very satisfyingly. 

    Can you tell us what living in Boulder, Colorado is like? What do you love about it?

    As anyone living in Boulder can tell you, it’s a bubble, and living in a bubble certainly has it’s pro’s and con’s. I foremost love the easy access to numerous hiking trails, the Rocky Mountains, and amazing skiing, all within an hour of town. These days it can be tricky to get away from the crowds but there is nothing I love more than escaping midweek for a hike in the back-country where I am always reminded of how spectacular our backyard is and how peaceful it can be away from all the noise. Boulder is also a very creative community and extremely supportive of the local arts with numerous workshops, exhibitions or local pop-ups going on, and overall works hard at being a very environmentally conscious community, which is motivating to be a part of.  

    Charlie and Me Designs

    Tell us about Charlie and Me Designs and the inspiration behind it? How does sustainability play a role in your brand/product development? How important has this been to consumers?

    Charlie + Me initially began as a childrens’ clothing line when my first daughter was born in 2008 and has slowly morphed into what is now solely a ladies clothing line. I have always loved and found great inspiration from beautiful fabrics & textiles, over the years however I have become more educated about the negative impact that the production of many of these fabrics has on our environment, this in-turn has inspired me to make very conscious and deliberate choices in what fabrics I choose to use in my designs. The promotion of sustainable and low environmental impact textile production practices has certainly becoming an inspiration and driving force for me. As for the consumers, I think that most of my customers are drawn in by my designs and are then happily surprised to find out they are made of organic cottons or sewn completely together with organic cotton thread. 

    What are your thoughts on the future role sustainability plays both professionally in business and in our everyday lifestyle choices, in regards to the future health of our planet?                       

    I think it is extremely important that businesses aim to make sustainability a major part of their business practice both from the concept of community sustainability and environmental. We have become a very disposable society choosing quantity of quality, and not demanding durability and longevity from our goods. Our constant consumption and production of waste has taken its toll on the environment and communities. Businesses are often under pressure to choose cheaper and non-environmentally friendly practices over more sustainable, and ethical ones to meet our consumer demands. I believe we need to think twice before we make our purchases, question our needs v’s our wants, and seek longevity and sustainability from our products and brands.

    What do you love most about creating sustainable clothing?                                             

    I love being able to follow my passion and create garments consumers can enjoy for years to come. I hope that by choosing to use sustainable textiles I am in some small way supporting sustainable and organic practices and encouraging others to do so too. My hope is that as we move forward that there is no need to label clothing, organic or sustainable, ethical or fair-trade, it should be a given. 

    Charlie and Me Designs

    How important do you think transparency and authenticity in brands is to consumers?             

    I think it’s so important to desire transparency and authenticity from brands. For too long we have made the assumption that it’s all good, we have had our heads in the sand with an out of sight, out of mind mentality. We are beginning to see first hand the negative impact our choices are having on our environment. With the growth of social media, people are wanting to know more, learn more about the maker of their jeans, brands are having to become more transparent in-turn more authentic to keep up with this trend, this is a good thing. I believe we need to demand transparency from brands, ask them the questions, how are my goods made? who made them? what are they made from?

    What does wilderness mean to you and your family?                                                        

    The wilderness is certainly a happy place for me and my family. There is a certain peace and simplicity that comes when we are away from all the noise, it enables us to refocus, to take a deep breath, step back and be still. 

    What do you feel about the future of the worlds wild places?                                            

    I honestly hope and pray that future generations are able to experience the pure joy and wonder they hold. It is from swimming in clear rivers and experiencing first hand the quiet of the desert that has given me a desire and passion to protect them. My hope would be that everyone has a chance to explore these beautiful places and become passionate about protecting them before they are all ruined and we only have the stories to tell.  

    Charlie and Me Designs

    What message do you have for those starting their own business in regards to sustainability and innovation?                                                                                                    

    Don’t rush, and stay true to your ethos. Read and learn from others. There is so much great information out there from those who have gone before, have done the research, use their wisdom to help you make more sustainable choices.

    Charlie and Me Designs What brands do you admire?        

    There are so many great brands out there which are amazing! I love Patagoinia, their transparency, and how dedicated they are to protecting the environment. And what’s not to love about a company that was started by a group of dirtbag climbers! Outerknown, Alabama Chanin, Avery Lee, Petlamp, and Saltywings, their amazing pictures always remind me of home and how much I love, and miss it.                                                                                              

    Do you have a philosophy you live by or a favourite quote or poem that resonates with you?     
    “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things”. (I try not to read the news too much :)).