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Who is Jo Akehurst?
Originally from Perth, WA, I've lived in Sydney and now the US. I've been in New York City for almost 3 years now and absolutely love it. I moved to NYC for work - I work in finance for J.P. Morgan Asset Management.
What was your journey from Aus to NY? and the current scene/vibe around New York at the moment?
New York took a big blow during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020. Lockdowns were implemented, restaurants and bars closed - the pulse of NYC was gone and everything changed. NYC is still not entirely ‘back to normal’! The restaurant industry has been and continues to be decimated, outdoor dining is now a permanent feature which is a great addition! I think Manhattan will take a long time to be as it was before covid with most people still working permanently work from home.
The WFH dynamic here has changed everything here! More people have left New York to have more space to WFH, others spend more time traveling and working remotely. I think its an awesome thing for employees to have all the flexibility and not be working in the office full time!
New York has improved so much since the start of the pandemic and I think the pandemic will have a lasting impact on it forever (although I don’t think it will lose its spot as #1 city in the world!)
What is The Pocket? Why did you feel the need to create such a platform?
The Pocket is a marketplace for the conscious consumer to shop minority owned, women owned & sustainable brands! It’s an online-only platform that stocks women’s apparel and accessories. We are also looking to launch some more ‘lifestyle’ brands - think candles, ceramics etc.
More and more consumers are looking for ways to shop more consciously and it is HARD! People want to do the right thing, move away from fast fashion, support minorities, make sure they have less environmental damage and ensure labor is treated fairly and with respect. All these things are important and also take time to determine and then you need to find items that you like! All that sounds like a lot of time… Which is why I created The Pocket. A way to easily compare products across a range of brands who are either minorities, women or sustainable brands! Or all of them, the trifecta as we call it :)
What are your dreams/manifestations for The Pocket?
Grow grow grow and reach more brands and consumers.
'Shopping consciously’ as a concept to become more mainstream
Become a larger platform that consumers use and rely on to provide them with products
Continue to build the brands and products we have available on the site
How did The Pocket Start? What was the journey? The Challenges? Successes? And everything in between
Following the murder of George Floyd in May of 2020, we looked for more ways to support the black community. Our first thought was to purchase more products from black-owned businesses. This was when we noticed how hard it was to find black owned & other minority owned brands online.
They weren’t easily accessible!
I spent time searching influencers online, blogs and looking at the brands and products individually. This was time consuming and made us realize the lack of access consumers have to these businesses, when they are looking to shop from them. There was not one place to shop them all & compare styles and products.
A solution...The Pocket, we share the collections and stories of black-owned, minority-owned, indigenous-owned and sustainable brands, all in one place!
Challenges: starting a business during covid but have been lucky so far and still seeing sales! No major challenges at this point
Successes - the level of interest we have had! It is still early days but its so great to see. Its day by day, brick by brick and love seeing the growth of the brand and platform!
What sets your soul on fire?
I do believe that individuals have the ability to influence the flow of money and re-direction of resources, which helps to solve some of the biggest problems.
Although it is a challenging concept or truth to consider, that money influences, in some respects it is true. For example, demanding as a consumer, that products are more transparent about how they made or paying more for quality products versus lots of cheap, poor quality items (fast fashion)
The more considerate and conscious people are with their money, the faster communities and the environment benefit
Connect with Jo & the Pocket