COOL FACES OF BASTET NOIR: Meet Natalie Kay Smith, the founder of Sustainably-Chic

Fast fashion has its own way of alluring and trapping us into its tracherous net. Piles of trendy pieces available at the tip of your fingertips for a price that’s not only affordable, but insanely attractive. What’s not to love? The strength of its appeal is understandable and it is my belief that no human being is immune to it. But, as the world got hotter, largely attributed to fashion’s wastefulness, people started cooling down and realized that we no longer want to be active participants in the charade. So few years ago, after the irreparable damage was done, people started questioning the appeal behind the allure and as questions started rolling out and began to cleanse our minds, our judgement was put to the test. Was it worth it? Who ends up paying the price? How did we allow this to happen? The truth, as unpleasant as it may be, is that we did this to ourselves. 
With the industry in disarray and a chaotic world turned upside down, a new breed of fashion authorities emerged, the ones who passionately fought to campaign against this devouring monster we’ve created, ones who dedicate their lives each and every day to the passionate pursuit of finding a solution. The change makers! And one such individual is Natalie Kay Smith, the founder of Sustainably-Chic and our next Cool Face of Bastet Noir. A devoted mom and a social justice advocate, Natalie had spent almost 6 years building up the community she couldn’t find elsewhere and while perfecting the craft of practicing a more mindful way of living, she found herself gaining a powerful voice and soon enough became a potent authority, spearheading the change within the fashion industry. But with great power, comes great responsibility and so after starting to receive 10+ pitches per day from brands, Natalie found herself exhausted and buried under all the writing and the content she had to create, which got her thinking:

“How could I be writing about sustainability and not sustain myself?! I advocate for fair wages, yet, I am not receiving them. It was then I decided to value myself and charge accordingly.”

 

This led to her finally paving a path for herself to be able to monetize the content and turn what once she considered to be a hobby, into a full time gig. On this, sustainability and so much more, we talk with the powerhouse in this candid interview bellow. 

BASTET NOIR: Who is Natalie Kay?

Natalie Kay Smith, founder of Sustainably-Chic wearing the Winona Shorts
Natalie Kay Smith, founder of Sustainably-Chic wearing the Winona Shorts
NATALIE KAY: Well, first, a wife and mom who happens to spend the rest of her time writing about sustainable fashion.

BASTET NOIR: What’s your morning routine like?

NATALIE KAY: It changes as Elliott grows, but it’s always more his routine than mine. We usually spend the first few hours of the day in the living room. I’m drinking coffee and he is playing. I try to get a little work done on the computer and plan our day if he seems preoccupied enough. It’s really slow, and I like that.

BASTET NOIR: Tell us a bit more about how the idea behind Sustainably Chic came to be? What was the crucial moment when you decided to turn this from a hobby into a business?

NATALIE KAY: I started Sustainably Chic about 6 years ago because I needed an outlet to talk about sustainable fashion. It was already important to me for a few years prior, and I just couldn’t find that community online I had hoped for. It wasn’t a trending hashtag in those days so it took some time to take off. After a couple years, things were extremely busy for me. I was getting 10+ pitches a day from brands, and I couldn’t keep up with writing and creating content while still having a job outside of the blog. I also had a realization, how could I be writing about sustainability and not sustain myself?! I advocate for fair wages, yet, I am not receiving them. It was then I decided to value myself and charge accordingly.
Natalie Kay Smith, founder of Sustainably-Chic wearing the Winona Shorts
Natalie Kay Smith, founder of Sustainably-Chic wearing the Winona Shorts

BASTET NOIR: They say with great power comes great responsibility. You have amassed so many followers who are passionate about sustainability. On the other hand there’s the business side of things. How do you balance the two when it comes to impartially reporting on sustainable and socially responsible brands?

NATALIE KAY: I’ve been very candid about how I make money and why it’s important for content creators to charge for their work. What’s also important is to work with brands you truly believe in. I can’t write about a brand I don’t support. I think that’s where the balance happens. I also like a brand a lot more if I know they pay their creators because it shows they believe every person should truly be paid fairly for their time. On a side note, I do a lot of writing and featuring for free, too, just because I want to share something.

BASTET NOIR: Books that changed your life

NATALIE KAY: Honestly, it was the fashion books in college. It was how I pieced together what I do, today.

BASTET NOIR: Three things you wish you knew before starting out…

NATALIE KAY: How to say ‘no’, charging my worth and keeping a constant aesthetic (I change style too much hah)

BASTET NOIR: Biggest failure in life and what you’ve learnt from it?

NATALIE KAY: Probably competing in pageants, which is so cringy for me to say. I wasn’t great at them, and hardly won anything, but I became a better public speaker.

BASTET NOIR: Favorite female empowerment speech

Meghan Markle, UN Women Speech
NATALIE KAY: I’ve seen so many — Oprah, Meghan Markle, Emma Watson, Michelle Obama etc. & then a lot of people I don’t know their names, but am instantly drawn into their words. But, I wouldn’t say I have a favorite. I like to hear everyone’s thoughts on female empowerment and what it means to them.

BASTET NOIR: What’s in your Bastet Noir cart?

NATALIE KAY: The Winona Blazer, the matching jacket to those shorts :D
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