Name: Amy McGill
Company: E. Lane Traders
What prompted you to start your own business and when did you launch?
In 2018, I left the corporate world where I was working 60+ hour weeks & my work-life balance was non-existent. I quit just before my 30th Birthday to go travelling for a few months. My trip was cut short due to my Mum being diagnosed with advanced melanoma cancer. I knew I couldn't go back into the corporate world if I wanted to be there for her so I started my own business as a marketing consultant.
This led me to Bali where I found out that the island was full of e-comm business owners from around the world who needed help marketing their products to the world. I became fascinated about the e-comm space & decided to combine my passion of small business, e-comm & digital marketing to give it a go myself. E. Lane Traders was officially launched in October 2019 with our first, Indo Island Collection.
In summary I left the comfort of the corporate world to create a new life inspired by my own happiness. I've been hustling ever since but I wouldn't change it for a thing.
What is your creative background?
I have 10 years of marketing experience & was a marketing manager for a global travel retail company prior to starting my own business.
Do you work on the business full-time?
I have my own Marketing Agency, E. Lane Collective so 70% of my time goes to that & E. Lane Traders is more of a side-hustle & creative outlet for me. It also gives me a chance to give back to Bali where I am based for 6 months of the year.
What is the biggest challenge in having your own business?
Not having enough time in the days to get everything done that I'd like to do for the brand. Running a small business means you need to allocate time to do it all ~ admin, finances, marketing, customer service, web design, products, packing, distribution, ordering stock, photoshoots.. It's ALOT. But the freedom & flexibility that working for myself has given me ~ I wouldn't trade that for anything.
Tell us about the brand, what does it stand for and what sort of products do you sell?
I launched E. Lane Traders in a bid to celebrate the human process that goes into each and every design – to give credit to the wonderful people that spend days, or even weeks, creating these beautiful natural pieces from scratch. We source authentic pieces that are ethically produced, using high-quality, locally-sourced materials. Our first collection, the Indo Island Collection, is a selection of 10 bags & accessories that are all 100% handmade in the villages of East Bali. We are also about to add in some homewares & ceramics into the collection.
All of our rattan bags in our current collection are handwoven out of high quality rattan and ata grasses, with other pieces made from locally-sourced materials such as banana leaves, straw, raffia and genuine leather. The process for one bag can be very time-consuming but the result is a one-of-a-kind product that will last for years to come – no two pieces sold will ever be exactly alike.
Our hope is that E. Lane Traders’ products will not only symbolise the love and warmth of Bali, or wherever the piece is made, but also bring opportunity to the communities that inspire them. I wanted people to see the other side of Bali but also to understand the back story to what they are buying – knowing where it is made, how it is made and the traditions behind the craftmanship – and to give people a chance to give back to this beautiful island that offers us so much.
Do you implement any sustainable practices within your business?
I am passionate about growing the E. Lane Traders brand in a more genuine, sustainable way & for me starting the brand was more than just selling products that people would love – my mission is to showcase local artisans, their exceptional skills & to give back to the communities where we operate.
We also aim to make consumers feel good by contributing – through each sale – to local community initiatives. Through our partnerships with local non-profits, such as the Bali Street Mum's Project, E. Lane Traders allow you to create positive change by giving back to the Bali community.
5% of our profits goes towards the Bali Street Mum's Project & through this charity we also sponsor an 8 year old girl (Komang) which pays for her meals, living expenses & her school fees. Before we sponsored her, Komang was forced to beg on the streets of Kuta selling small packets of tissues to the cars & scooters stopped at the traffic lights. Now Komang has a second chance at life.
All our packaging is eco-friendly & all our online orders are popped into comPOST satchels that are 100% biodegradable.
What are you inspired by?
Bali. It might sound cliché but Bali is an island paradise with a powerful magnetism – something about it just draws you time and time again – and it is alive with so many creative locals and inspiring people. It’s a magical part of the world that has always fuelled my creativity and passion.
Travelling. I've visited more than 60 countries & I like to give back to local communities wherever I go. E. Lane Traders was created to combine my passions & to create some positive change by giving back to Bali - the place that inspired the vision for the brand. I believe style is about expressing yourself, staying true to your own style, & having fun with what you wear - all while trying to avoid the damaging fast fashion movement. Style & sustainability go hand in hand.
How has Covid-19 affected your business, if at all?
COVID-19 means people have more time to online shop so we have seen an increase in sales but it has also given us a chance to slow down & put more time into the business which is why we are now starting at the markets.
Why did you choose TVM as a platform for your business?
TVM aligns so perfectly with our brand & we are just so excited to be a part of such an inspiring community of creatives.
Connect with E. Lane Traders online, here.