Just like a home is more than the bricks and mortar housing it, James&Co is more than the website housing it. It’s really where the heart is and I’d like to share the James&Co story with you so you can understand why I say that.
My name is Anne and I’m the founder and CEO of James&Co. My professional life started as a lawyer, moving into leadership in the telecommunications industry here in Sydney. My involvement in telco and broadband policy engendered a passionate view about the continually-opening opportunities in the digital economy. More about that later.
In 2011, my life took a tragic turn. In May, my husband died suddenly and then 5 months later my middle child took his own life. Aged just 24, my beautiful son James exited. He left us a long letter of explanation from his perspective, ending with the exhortation to us to ‘Live Life & Love It!!’.
I no longer had the appetite for working in a professional services capacity. I wanted to do something to immerse myself in as I mourned. I wanted it to be something that was not just about commerce but could somehow do good in the world – and weave into it support for initiatives working to improve mental health for young people and reduce the unacceptably high number of suicides.
So the James&Co business was born. The manufacture and sale of fashionable, stylish women’s jackets.
But not just any jackets. Faux leather jackets. Jackets manufactured from fabrics for which animals did not have to suffer and die. Fabrics that did not come from factories where workers’ health suffered from the process of tanning and leather production. Jackets that were manufactured in factories that valued workers’ rights and complied with labour laws.
Jackets with their own brand of James&Co. Giving the business the opportunity to associate its brand not only with crueltyfree and ethical initiatives but to use its brand to highlight and promote mental health issues for young people.
And a business that started online with a global reach – because that is what the digital economy enables and I want James&Co to be seen as a leader in harnessing the digital economy.
Yes, we are part of the exciting fashion world and the digital world. We want to make the stylish jackets that women want to buy, wear and show off. And we are part of the ethical fashion world. So we use ethical fabrics and processes to make those jackets for our customers.
But we don’t do it simply for the commerce. We know that customers will buy the best products they can for their money. And they want to look good in them. So if we make the products customers buy, and they LOOK good in them, then they will FEEL good in them. Look good, feel good. All the while DOING good – getting the James&Co brand out there with our mission of crueltyfree apparel and support for mental health!
Many women buy because of the ethical underpinnings, many others because they like the product. Whatever the reason, when a woman buys and wears a James&Co jacket she is not only a customer. Just as those who read our blog, like or share us on social media are not only our followers. Our customers and our followers are all part of the James&Co community.
James&Co – whose house resides on the internet but whose community of members share the common vision of doing good while looking and feeling good.
So that is why I say that James&Co is where the heart is.
We’ve only been doing this for 3 years, but we just love the business and growing the community. Thank you for letting me share this with you.