AJ: Nice to meet you Estella! Tell us a bit about yourself.
ES: Hi I’m Estella! I’m the CEO and Founder of Viviene New York. Viviene New York is the world’s first Gen Z led full service agency founded specifically to bring sustainable brands to the forefront of consumption via the creator economy and the power of its organic reach on social media.
I’m 21 years old. I moved to New York City about a year ago. I have a small black dog named Sparky who I love dearly and in my free time I love going to networking events, brand events, and art galleries!
I largely shop secondhand and, when I can afford it, I make purchases from sustainable brands. I’ve been working in the creator economy and in sustainability for 2 years now and this is just the beginning!
AJ: What was your entry point into sustainability, and where has it led you today?
ES: In 2020 during quarantine I was spending a lot of time on TikTok and the algorithm started to show me the reality of the climate crisis situation that we are in. I had taken an environmental science class in high school but, just like most, failed to fully internalize the gravity of the situation.
Due to the education the TikTok algorithm provided about the fashion industry and its impact on the environment I decided to start a sustainable fashion brand. It was called Ethica. Two weeks after I listed the first item on Ethica’s site, I created short form video content for my brand that blew up; it received 4 million views which led to 185k followers and 1.5M visitors to the site.
Following that I took a gap gear to continue to create content that converts for my brand as well as educate the consumer about why they should opt for sustainability when purchasing. I also turned my personal Instagram accounts into a platform to educate my followers about the importance of sustainability and choosing sustainable brands when they shop. Now I’m just utilizing my skills at content creation and developing networks to pursue my passions for social change and the environment.
Viviene New York is the first Gen Z led full service agency crafted specifically to bring sustainable brands to the forefront of consumption through utilization of the creator economy and organic reach on social media. We work with revolutionary brands like Marketplace of the Future, Circumference Skincare, and Cariuma.
I also attend NYU Gallatin where I’m studying the effect of digital marketing and social entrepreneurship on social change with an emphasis on climate.
AJ: The creator economy is notorious for overconsumption. How can this shift?
ES: The major shift that we are trying to create at Viviene New York is the type of shift we see as inevitable. Right now all of the brands that reign supreme in the social media landscape are deeply unsustainable. I see a rise of sustainable brands being driven by that very same landscape.
Social media is full of audiences that value sustainability, value creators, and value sustainable brands. They want to shop sustainably, we just need to present them with the options. We want to blow up sustainable brands. Through our efforts, sustainable brands can become the household names of Gen Z.
AJ: How has social media changed the landscape of consumer power and consumer activism?
ES: First and foremost social media has created a space for another tier of accountability for calling out brands causing harm to consumers or the environment or anything else. A great example is the Daily Harvest scandal that is happening right now. Their food is literally putting people in the hospital and I wouldn’t know about this unless creators on my social media feeds were talking about it.
As far as consumer power and consumer activism, social media provides the space for those who are interested in learning more to go find creators who are educating on topics that they’re interested in… passively. I cannot stress enough how powerful it is to passively cater to interests. There’s inequality of access in education, but not so much in social media, which is why it can be used to generate astronomical amounts of social change.
AJ: 10 years down the line, what do you want to see from the creator economy?
ES: I don’t have a crystal ball, but I hope creators will only accept collaborations with brands that are sustainably minded. As a simple matter of incentive, why would any creator, whose income is dependent upon their popularity, risk the wrath of cancel culture?
I fear I sound idealistic and environmentally motivated, but Gen Z is aging into their window as the primary demographic to whom marketers speak. They are the ever valued 18-34. Would you risk alienating your primary audience by ignoring their overwhelming passion for the environment?