Denise Reddy, founder and CEO of Harebell Sustainable Shop, connected to nature from an early age. Growing up in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Reddy’s family would spend holidays in Cordoba, living a minimalist existence with no electricity and no hot water. Reddy learned to deeply love and appreciate nature and sought to protect it and have as little impact on it as possible as she grew into adulthood.
Reddy parlayed her affinity for protecting nature into her sustainable shop Harebell, a Certified B Corporation that curates a collection of brands dedicated to the idea of sustainability as well as a titular line of “green” clothing.
The offerings on the Harebell site run from their own compostable collections to Comas, which features upcycled denim clothing, and Boobamara, which sells vegan shoes. The collections center around a mission of “ fair trade, respect for our roots and kindness among all beings,” Reddy says. Harebell sets out to prove that sustainable and earth-conscious does not need to mean unfashionable. The site even offers formal gala dresses, sustainably made of course.
Greatly inspired by the women in her family, whom she credits with “marking her way”, Reddy set out to make dreams come true not only for herself but also for the brands that Harebell supports.
As she told LAWire “I feel honored and humbled to be able to open the gates of the global market to those brands and their families,” Denise says. “Knowing the huge impact each sale has feels awesome.”
That impact is what keeps Reddy going, even as she made her way through the difficult journey of immigrating to the United States and beginning a business as a minority and a female CEO.
“It is hard as an immigrant Latino woman to do business more intuitively, trusting your heart more than your mind,” says Reddy, “The internal talk needs work, feeling deserving, abundant, and learning to see money positively. There are many barriers to break.”
The climb from immigrant to CEO was challenging, including learning a new language and becoming accustomed to a new culture. A culture that isn’t always as friendly to newcomers as it should be. Reddy feels her immigration journey has strengthened her resolve and made her a better business person.
Sustainable clothing is the antithesis of cheaply made “fast fashion”, which Reddy sees as an often exploitative business model that negatively affects everyone from the people who create the clothes to the consumer. She hopes that showing how toxic the creation of these clothes can be will lead more people to join her on her mission to have as little impact on the planet as possible, even through something as simple as what we wear.
Reddy does not hesitate to acknowledge that the fashion found on Harebell’s website is anything but “cheap.” As she told LAWire, “There are so many aspects to why sustainable brands are more expensive, the main one being quality and fair wage. If you pay a fair wage to the person who picks the cotton from the fields, to have a two dollar shirt just makes no sense. Those brands are cheaper because someone else is paying the price.”
Reddy’s approach to business and sustainable fashion is unique and harkens back to her days as a little girl in Cordoba, using the nearby river for a water source. Her experiences color every step of her journey as a CEO and her story continues to be told through every impact Harebell makes.
Harebell continues to experience steady growth as Reddy learns to become a more intentional leader.
“Keep on working on yourself, on your personal growth,” she advises, “Prioritize yourself and those moments that give you joy. Make time to relax and reset. Again, I believe that the more aligned you are as a leader, the better your team will thrive.”
Harebell is undoubtedly thriving. Coming up in November of 2021, the company will be featured on the Mola Week runway in Columbia. Then it is on to Uruguay, Los Angeles, and Milan in 2022. The company will even be branching out into home products in the coming year.
As Reddy told LA Wire, “Our network is growing day by day, and we are super grateful for all the support and consistent growth. I know and trust we will heal the industry step by step.”
The Harebell website states that sustainability is at its core. It is who they are as a company and is behind everything they do as individuals. With this mission at the forefront of every business move, Reddy and Harebell are poised to make big waves in the fashion industry and, soon, beyond.