Why This 23-Year-Old Entrepreneur Launched the Sustainable Retail Site Toward

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After graduating from the University of Southern California in the middle of the pandemic, 23-year-old Ana Kannan saw a gap in the market for a place that housed entirely sustainable brands and products.

“Last year, I saw this renewed focus on the environment and people wanting to shop responsibly. But there seemed to be a disconnect between the consumers and the brands, where the consumers were trying to find out a lot more information about products and they were also having trouble trusting the brand,” she told FN. “I thought, ‘Why not create a retail site where we can offer items that are responsible so that someone doesn’t have to go in and Google every brand?'”

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With that came e-commerce site Towardstore.com, which launched earlier this month and offers more than 30 brands in the luxury fashion and beauty spaces, including Vivienne Westwood, Rejina Pyo, Leset, Brodie, Citizen of Humanity, Agolde, Osman, Collina Strada and more.

The San Francisco-based company requires every brand on their platform to complete a 100+ question survey that outlines their sustainable business practices. Within these questions, Toward looks at key sustainability pillars, such as animal welfare, water management, biodiversity, forestry, emissions, materials, worker’s rights, transparency and ethos.

These questions also help identify where a brand stands on their responsibility journey, what the brand is planning to do to strengthen its responsible practices and what limitations it faces that prevent implementing even more sustainable practices.

Not only do brands have to fill out the questionnaire on an annual basis, but there needs to be provided proof for each response.

“Our real goal is to offer a meaningful challenge to the industry,” said Kannan. “We want to raise the bar so that brands step up their game and actually become responsible to make a better impact on the planet and also support the fashion industry in general. We also want to support brands in a meaningful way and help them do better without negatively or adversely affecting the people who work in the fashion industry along the value chain.”

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