Smart Cookie: Lauren Chang, Founder Of Mari & Clay - Ecobuy
Smart Cookie: Lauren Chang, Founder Of Mari & Clay
1) Could you tell us a little about yourself and what’s your business about?

I am Lauren and I am the co-founder of eyewear brand Mari & Clay. Mari & Clay is an online store that provides modern, sustainable eyewear for people who appreciate timeless designs. My business partner John and I have been friends since university. We’re both optometrists, and years working in the optical industry have shown us how fast fashion in our industry is impacting the planet. People are replacing their glasses more often, which creates more waste. Yet there’s little awareness around better practices of eyewear production and disposal. That’s why we launched Mari & Clay – we wanted to create eyewear that is gentler on the environment and can be worn and loved for many years. 

2) Do you have a morning routine? If so, what is it you do to set yourself up for the day ahead?

I usually get up around 6:30am ( aiming for earlier!). My mornings consist of walking my two dogs, followed by making a good coffee and healthy breakfast. If I can, I’d squeeze in a yoga session or a morning swim. I like to plan the tasks for each day of the week in advance so I can get started on work with little distraction.

3) Why did you choose to go sustainable and eco-friendly?

Growing up in New Zealand, I’ve always been a nature-lover at heart. Climbing trees and running around rivers barefoot were my fondest childhood memories.  I started to educate myself around the topic of sustainability through documentaries, books, and podcasts out of personal interest and learnt that there are plenty of things we can do as individuals to reduce our own environmental impact.

After seeing how fast fashion is negatively impacting the world and how our own industry is contributing to that waste, we decided to start our business with a focus on sustainability. 

4) What was the hardest part of starting your own business?

Coming from a health professional background, every aspect of starting a business was quite challenging to us in its own way. I think one of the hardest parts was thinking about how to create a brand that has its own unique identity and set of values and differentiate ourselves from the brands that are already out there. 

Sustainable and eco-friendly sunglasses

Sustainable and eco-friendly sunglasses

5) One book and/or documentary everyone should read/watch? Why?

I would recommend the Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. It’s a simple and short read but full of gems of wisdom that can inspire and motivate you no matter what stage in your life you are at. 

A documentary I would recommend is The True Cost which explores the impact of fashion on the environment and the people who work in the industry. It really opens your eyes and makes you think about your purchases differently. 

6) Best piece of advice you have ever received?

I’ve been advised by a fellow female entrepreneur to find the “why” for starting a business. It’s so important because why you started the business guides every decision you make for your business. And I think this applies to many aspects in life too, everything comes back to why we do the things that we do!