Online shopping has facilitated consumerism worldwide. Yet, with the rise of e-commerce in the last decade came a staggering and destructive environmental impact. Products ordered online are often far from sustainable. For example, one of the leading unsustainable practices is fast-fashion clothing from dispensers such as Fashion Nova and Shein. With single-use plastics, packing materials, fuel, and illegal labour methods worldwide, increased online shopping practices have hit the Earth with a detrimental blow.
This is where Envly steps in.
Envly is a new app that allows users to shop for sustainably made goods. Everything from clothing to snacks and spices, to bath products, can be purchased on Envly. Besides being a sustainable shopping app, Envly also contains a social component that allows users to interact with other users and sellers. Additionally, Envly’s blog provides sustainable living tips, news, and product updates for their users and sellers.
Envly was developed by University of Toronto Mississauga students Faizah Balogun, Toluwanimi Alebiosu, and Tomiwa Olasoko. The Medium spoke with Balogun and Alebiosu about their goals for Envly and sustainable living.
According to the founders, the name for Envly came from the words “environmentally” and “friendly.” Envly serves as a one-stop-shop for people who want to live sustainably. The goal is to inspire others to live sustainably, regardless of how big or small these changes may be.
“It’s been a long time coming,” Balogun stated. “I’m just glad things are picking up a bit more, and we can’t wait to share Envly with everyone.” As Envly prepares for its initial launch later this month, we asked the Envly founders about their motivation for launching Envly, and how this app will differ from other online shopping resources.
“For a while, I’ve been looking at the direction our planet is heading in, and it wasn’t something I was happy about,” Balogun replied. And who can blame her—currently, more than 1.5 billion tons of waste have been dumped globally this year alone. Moreover, this number will only continue to rise, partially due to irresponsible consumer habits. Envly’s mission is to make sustainable living an option for everyone and not only for people with privileged accessibility and income.
“We thought if there were a mobile app, similar to Kijiji, it would encourage more people to try and live more sustainably,” mentioned co-founder Toluwanimi Alebiosu. Community is also vital in the move towards more sustainable living methods. The social aspect of Envly serves as a space where people who are trying to live better lives and do better for their communities can network and share ideas and tips.
However, coming to this conclusion was not easy for the Envly team. “One of the biggest setbacks we encountered came in underestimating the amount of work we were going to have to do for this process,” said Balogun. “We knew what we wanted to do, but not necessarily how to do it. It took a long time to figure out how to design and build an app of this size with the kind of functionality we were looking for.” Luckily, the Envly team is currently in their final stages of marketing development, and their clean social media layouts and promotional system have ensured the launch date for the end of September.
With all the features on this new app, we asked the creators what they were most excited to see in action. “That’s a tough one!” Balogun laughed. “Simply because everything about Envly is exciting to me. If I had to pick one thing, however, it would definitely be the number of products we will have available for people to shop.” The app will carry a wide range of products, including items that are vegan, cruelty-free, handmade, pre-loved, and even items that are reusable or biodegradable.
“The most exciting part for me was meeting and collaborating with the different sellers, who were all so eager to be a part of Envly—it really makes me feel as if what we’re doing resonates with so many people,” Alebiosu stated. With sellers from sites like Etsy and Depop coming together to sell on the Envly app, this diverse group of sellers will undoubtedly facilitate the move toward a more sustainable future.
The creators of Envly have expressed that while they are looking to expand the app in the future, they first want to focus on establishing themselves as a brand that consumers can recognize and trust. “What we hope to accomplish goes beyond the app itself, and we know that with the right foundation, we will have room to accomplish beyond what we currently do,” said the team.
We asked them one final question on the type of advice they would give to people who want to live sustainably, but don’t know where to start. The Envly team explains that sustainable living is a journey that has to begin with intentional habits. “To change that,” Balogun chimed in, “I would say to set an intention to modify your purchases and how you use things.” One way to do this is by investing in reusable grocery bags instead of taking the plastic ones from stores. “It’s all about setting an intention to modify your relationship with [items] and how you use things.”
“Don’t be afraid to start small!” advised Alebiosu. “The journey to sustainability never ends, even for me, but because of this intentionality, I am more aware of my own actions and how it impacts the world around me.”
For more information, follow the brand’s Instagram page at @envlyco, and sign up to catch their official launch date at www.envly.co.