We talk to the lovely Zahira, owner, designer, creator and model of the Responsibly Sourced brand - original handmade and upcycled clothing, plus custom embroidered bespoke pieces, all with an ethical provenance. And now offering 20% off your first order for Colchester Life cardholders!
What brought you to Colchester? What is your background?
I was born and raised in Colchester. Living here for 22 years I have gained a good understanding of the town, and after completing Art and Design Level 3 and a foundation degree in Fashion and Textiles, I knew that working with clothing was something I wanted to pursue.
Why did you decide to start an independent business in Colchester?
I decided to start up Responsibly Sourced in Colchester as my target audience is mainly students and young adults, so with the University of Essex and colleges near by it is ideal. I left my office job and decided it was time to put this into action. With help from my brother the ideas started flowing and I built up my confidence to make something of it.
Tell us some more about your business and your vision for your company.
I source my fabrics responsibly. I travelled with my brother to Mauritius and handpicked materials, haberdashery and trims from India. I use recycled garments and materials to create something new. I also embroider everything from personalised baby garments/blankets/bibs to company logos on work garments. My vision is to continue selling my handmade and embroidered garments at stalls, festivals and online. hopefully broadening to the surrounding areas and eventually open a store!
What do you like about running a business in Colchester? What are the challenges?
It’s nice running a business in Colchester as it is always busy and there is always an event going on somewhere! Being at the University of Essex every Thursday is fun as most of the students are always interested in what I do.
Where’s your favourite place to eat/drink in the town right now?
Right now I’d say my mum’s kitchen is my favourite place to eat, although in town I am a big fan of Garden of Vegan Streetfood.
Where is Colchester ‘best kept secret’ in your opinion? What do you like to do most when not running your business?
I do think Firstsite is underrated. I like to go there in my free time as there is is always something going on - I’ve seen some good exhibitions there and a couple of great shows. I also enjoy spending free time with my family and friends just chilling and eating!
Would your business be willing to offer a small discount or free gift upon purchase to holders of the Colchester Life Discount Card?
Yes, sure! 20% off first purchase.
Editor's Note: Zahira's clothes are available online (see the Responsibly Sourced directory entry) and from tomorrow, at Garden of Vegan Streetfood in the Queen Street pop-up next door to the Brewhouse.