Love This partners Rupa Singh (left) and Amber Lantz. (Photo by Jay Paul)
When Rupa Singh, 36, and Amber Lantz, 32, met at Ten Thousand Villages in Carytown in 2008, they became friends, discovering a shared passion for socially responsible and fair trade fashion. In 2013, that passion inspired a personal and home accessories company.
Singh and Lantz first pitched the idea for Love This (lovethisrva.com) at the i.e. Startup Competition, held by the Greater Richmond Chamber to support and showcase budding area businesses. Out of hundreds of submissions, Love This was one of 14 finalists and by May 2013, Singh and Lantz had their business license.
After conducting business largely through gatherings in homes, pop-up shops, online sales and festivals, the two began using a 1969 Airstream trailer to allow their shop to go mobile. “We can be where we want to be and not at a fixed location,” says Singh. This includes upcoming events such as a pop-up shop at New Normal Apparel during the UCI Road World Championships in September and the Richmond Folk Festival in October.
Through research and suggestions from other fair trade retailers around the country, Singh and Lantz curated a selection of globally responsible products such as jewelry by Faire Collection, purses from Raven + Lily and soaps by Hand in Hand. One of the brands, Sseko Designs, sells sandals handmade by women in Uganda, providing them with money to pursue a university education.
Through Love This, Lantz and Singh want to spread the message of socially conscious fashion. “[People think] ‘I just want to go shopping and buy something and be like, cool, I’ve got a nice new shirt,’ but someone may have been paid an unfair wage for it … in a place that might not have adequate safety measures,” Lantz says.
Singh adds, “First and foremost that’s what we want to do. Educating everyone on just what they can do to make that positive impact.”