IN CONVERSATION WITH RICE PAPER THE LABEL
One of the joys of Instagram is discovering new and exciting brands that speak to our hearts and minds. When we came across Ricepaper the Label a few years ago, we were instantly drawn towards their simple and elegant aesthetic, and most importantly, their environmental ethos when it comes to designing sustainably. From the early days of their launch to now opening a beautiful boutique in Ascotvale... we've been secret admirers from from afar!
Ena's Founder Lindy recently caught up with Eve Walton-Healey, Founder and Creative Director of Ricepaper the Label. We presented Eve with a series of thought-provoking questions - hopefully inspiring her creative mind in a different way! - including what it's like to be woman in business, values & purpose and self-care rituals
Lindy: I'm so pleased we could take a moment out of our days to chat! We've been quietly admiring your brand from afar up until now. For us, seeing clothes made consciously and intentionally like yours is like a breath of fresh air. Was there a backstory as to why you started Ricepaper the Label?
Eve: After finishing my degree and working in the industry there were women around me who questioned me as to why I was not focusing on my practices to set up my own label rather than working for others. The first original Ricepaper collection was designed around the concept of working professionally and being able to wear the same garment to a social event in the evening. At the same time there was a direction in the industry which made me feel uncomfortable. I had always been interested in trying to create a more sustainable environment which seemed a contradiction to the industry in which I was working. So these were the drivers that were the foundations for the launch of the label.
Lindy: That's a beautiful way to start; from a curiosity and interest that grew into a much bigger purpose. What would you say are your top three values that are close to Ricepaper's heart - and yours?
Eve: The three main values that Ricepaper lives by are-
1. Transparency of practices - including ethical manufacturing.
2. Sustainability - I believe the world needs to take care of the planet and I attempt to engage in practices in both my personal and business worlds.
3. Honesty - I am a Libra and I believe one of the strongest characteristics I display is honesty. It provides me with the drive to achieve tasks and steers me away from game playing.
Lindy: It sounds like our personal and business values are closely aligned. As business owners, we're often future-thinking, always looking forward. Rarely are we presented with an opportunity to look back and see how far we have come. What are you most proud of since launching your brand?
Eve: Since I launched the brand in 2018 there has been much progress. There has been growth in number of aspects of the business- the number of sales - the development and fit of designs - the sourcing of fabrics and the label now has its own flagship store in Union Road, Ascot Vale after being conducted from my apartment and numerous studios for three years.
I am proud of these achievements but most proud of the responses and the feedback from many of our customers, which has resulted in a core of returning customers. I am also proud of the transparency of practices that I have achieved and increasing sustainability of my garments.
Lindy: It's amazing to learn all of the different aspects Ricepaper has grown. Sometimes I think as women, we aren't always vocal about being proud of what we have achieved. It's good to put it out there in the world. And on that note - what does it mean to be a 'woman in business'? How do you navigate this?
Eve: I am incredibly proud to be a woman in business and lucky to also work with so many amazing women as a result of Ricepaper. Being a female in business certainly has its challenges, but I have always had the attitude that if plan A doesn’t work there is always plan B, C and D and so on - I am very fortunate to have grown up with many strong female figures around me, that have supported me in my journey and never given up on believing in Ricepaper. I have also made some lovely connections with female suppliers and manufacturers in the industry, who have helped me navigate tasks along the way.
One challenge that has arisen on a number of occasions is an inkling that some people do not take Ricepaper seriously when they realize that it is run by a young female.
Lindy: I so relate to that. Business and entrepreneurship is often a tough journey, and requires the grit and resilience you speak about when having a Plan A, B, C and so forth. Sometimes it's hard to juggle it all without losing yourself in it. What keeps you grounded? Do you follow any self-care practices and rituals?
Eve: I have learnt a hard lesson in the early days of running Ricepaper that if I am not caring for myself, then my business is not thriving. Running your own business can be extremely exhausting mentally and physically as I often wear seven different hats in a day. I have a number of self care practices that I adhere to during the week in order to maintain my stress levels and health.
Every morning I start the day by waking up and practicing meditation in bed, followed by some breakfast and hot water and lemon. I like to start the day quietly and slowly, before I get my head into the world of Ricepaper, although my mind is usually there it's liberating to start the day fresh.
My apartment is a very private and beautiful space that I love to cook in and rest in with my husband Mark. I try and zone out when I am home, which has recently included stepping away from social media and my phone, listening to podcasts and playing with my cat Kenji. Since having the shop I have also started attending hot yoga sessions which I do about four times a week. I find that this combined with weekly meditation is a perfect way to balance out my stress and allows me to feel in control of tasks for the weeks and months ahead.
Lindy: That's such a wonderful and sustainable foundation of your self care routine. I love that these 'non-negotiables' you have set into your daily life, is the support you need in your future business growth. This brings me to my last question- what is your vision for the future of Ricepaper the Label?
Eve: Well, I would love to have a year of trade without a pandemic for a start, haha! But aside from that, I can’t wait to see how the store goes in a post Covid world. Having established an online business in 2018 there have been ups and downs but overall continual growth and again it will be revealing to see how it performs in the post Covid world we are living in.
I am hoping that with the growth with these two branches of the business that in the future I can employ other members into the Ricepaper team with specific job descriptions to allow me time to ponder the big picture. One goal I would love to tick off is researching and discovering more information on the life cycle of the fabrics we use, so I can have complete transparency across all the garments.
Lindy: That's a brilliant way to cap off our conversation. I encourage everyone to explore Eve's beautiful, timeless collections over on www.ricepaper.com