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Sefte Sister: Lori Cunningham of Loskey

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Sisters, meet Lori Cunninham, founder of Loskey, a line of organic, ethical and sustainable tops and tees that are really about SO. MUCH. MORE. Read on to understand why we fell in love with Lori, her mission and her brand. 

 

Tell us why you are drawn to Sefte Living?  

I was originally drawn to Sefte Living by the beauty & quality of its products a well as the ethos of the brand and everything it represents.  Sarah and Jenn’s experiences in the Peace Corps were a key inspiration for establishing their brand, just as my experience working in International Development led me to found Loskey.  We are united in our belief of women’s empowerment, and celebrating the traditional skills of artisans all around the globe. We share a belief that luxury is ultimately defined by talent and craftsmanship, rather than branding and price point.

 

 

 

How did you get started doing what you do?  

As I mentioned above, when I first left university, I worked for a USAID-funded development project for several years.  I was passionate about the purpose of the project, child survival, but I found myself confounded and frustrated by the bureaucracy and inefficiency of working with big government organizations. Ultimately, I left Development for a career in business, but never stopped thinking about my original career, and how I might do things differently if given the chance.  

18 months ago, I took the leap and decided to leave the corporate world and return to my passion, but on my own terms.   I would build a business that would focus on women’s economic empowerment, because, in the wise words of former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, ‘There is no tool for development more effective than the empowerment of women.’

My purpose was clear, but I needed a product, one where women could participate across the entire supply chain.  It didn’t take me long to focus on t-shirts and tops. I, like so many other women I know, have been on what seems like a lifelong quest for the perfect t-shirt.  And, as the saying goes, ‘If you want something done right…’.

 

 

What’s something special that sets your company apart?   

Alongside women’s empowerment through fair trade, Loskey is committed to sustainability across the entire supply chain.  We ensure that every element of the process from creation through to distribution is not harmful to the environment. We use only GOTS-certified organic cotton for all of our tees, in a slightly heavier weight that ensure they stand the test of time while not compromising on style and drape.  All of our tags and collateral are made from 100% sustainable paper sources -- Elephant and Rhino dung collected in the Assam forest of India (but does not smell, I promise!) We bring this ethos to our packaging as well. All our tees are wrapped in 100% recycled tissue paper before being placed into handblock-printed pouches made at a sewing centre in Delhi set up to give at-risk women training and safe & fair employment.  We then pop them into boxes made from recycled cardboard to ship them out to our customers. Of course, there are also the tees themselves, which I’ve designed to have the best fit & quality of any in the market!

 

 

 

 

What keeps you going every day, either in your craft or going about life?

My passion to learn new things is what keeps me going, but also terrifies me (in the very best way.)  When I started Loskey, the amount I didn’t know far outweighed what I did. In retrospect, this was often an advantage, as I never got hung up on whether or not I was doing something the ‘right way’ (I simply didn’t know!). 18 months into this adventure, I am still learning new things every day, and meeting inspirational people and mentors. In doing so, I have developed an amazing tribe of female founders, Sarah & Jenn included, who are now like an extended family to me.  It’s what I love most about the path I’ve taken.

 

 

 

 

Where do you seek sanctuary - to dream, meditate, be creative or just find me time?

When you are a founder of a business, it’s critical to carve out some time for yourself.  I make sure that I get myself to yoga at least 3 - 4 times per week. I’ve been practicing regularly for more than 10 years, and it is the single best way for me to look after my mental wellbeing.  Any impact on my physical wellbeing is just icing on the cake!

 

What do you do to try to remain present and slow down?

It’s the small things that make the difference for me.  I set boundaries for my working hours (often a difficult thing to do as an entrepreneur!) to ensure that I am always 100% present for my family at the end of the day.  Having spent too many years on the corporate treadmill, I have an appreciation for the importance of work/life balance. Simply being able to sit down to dinner every night as a family is a joy, and reminds me what really matters.

 

 

 

 

Where do you find inspiration for your work and for your life?

Reading the above, it will be no surprise that my inspiration comes from my two sons, Lucas and Oscar, nicknamed Lukey and Osk.  Loskey is actually named for them. In part, because I want to do everything I can to ensure that the world they inherit is a better place.  But also because I want to show them that anyone can change the world, even just a tiny bit, by simply deciding to do it.

 

 

Do you have any special rituals for making time with family or friends?

Our family rituals continue to evolve as the boys get ever older (they are now 14 & 16!)  At the moment, we are working through a list of iconic films my husband and I loved and were keen to share with them.  The last one we watched was Gattaca. My 16 year-old wasted no time working out that the name was made up of the letters of the genetic base code, something I had never previously put together!

 

 

What’s your favorite Sefte product?

My favorite product at the moment is the Charcoal Quisa Parisian Vest.  I love great layering pieces and a cowl neck. It’s the perfect companion to a Loskey tee!

Want to learn more about Loskey and shop their beautiful tees? Check them out here

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