Around here, we’re endlessly fascinated by the wide world of online shopping, and it seems that every week brings with it a brand-new e-commerce site to be obsessed with. Since keeping track of ‘em all can be a feat of epic proportion, we’ve decided to feature “A Site To See” each week, highlighting a cool retail website you’ll definitely want to bookmark. This week: a chic new shopping site with a mission, Zady.
Why You Should Bookmark It: In a world filled with Forever21’s and H&M’s, it’s refreshing to see a site like Zady, which focuses on chic, locally-crafted apparel and accessories. The site’s founders—non-profit vets Maxine Bédat and Soraya Darabi, who previously worked together on the Bootstrap Project that Bédat founded while she was in law school—became frustrated that they were so responsible in other aspects of their consumptive lives, but weren’t able to say the same about the things they put in their closets.
“Our clothes were still just a total mystery to us,” Bédat tells StyleCaster. “We had closets that were totally stuffed, tiny closets overflowing with things, and yet we had nothing to wear because we were buying into this fast fashion trend. The clothes were made terribly and didn’t fit right. It just made us that much more uncomfortable where our things were coming from, and we wanted to have a clear answer to that [quandary].”
Their answer: an online boutique that features quality apparel and accessories that are designed, manufactured, and sold locally.
How It Works: There’s one basic test retailers have to pass before they can even be considered for Zady.
“We go to each brand and ask ‘Where are your products made?’ and that narrows it down. 99.9% say they don’t know, or it’s a really vague response,” Maxine says. “So we find those brands that do know. They have to know like the back of their hands how their supply chains work. Where they were made and designed and where the materials come from. We eliminate anyone who just doesn’t know, because it’s a sure sign that that they don’t fit our mission.”
The founders contrast a retailer that knows its supply chain with most of the big-name mega-stores, whose workers rarely ever know where the clothes were actually made.
“Big brands are so often just shell companies. The fact that [our retailers] even know [where their product is made] is a massive step in this industry,” Maxine continues. When you start browsing Zady, you’ll notice everything from well-known brands like Steven Alan slacks to a truly unique African ostrich eggshell necklace, with prices that range from just $10 to upwards of $600.
Where the Name Comes From: “We were sitting in my apartment thinking about a good name for this company, and a Zadie Smith book was on my shelf,” Darabi says. “In Yiddish it means grandfather, and in Arabic it means prosperous. We just liked the worldly connotation of it.”
Check It Out: Zady.com