Originally from Hawai’i, Elyse is an adventurous eCommerce entrepreneur passionate about sustainability and innovation. With a strong vision and entrepreneurial spirit, she’s built multiple online businesses and even successfully sold her first online business (selling adventure gear for dogs!). Elyse previously worked at the White House under the Obama Administration and spent two years at a tech start-up doing digital marketing and ‘intrapreneurship’ as Special Projects Manager before moving on to manage e-Commerce for social enterprise Thankyou. Feeling frustrated by the fashion industry, Elyse started FRDM to give women the freedom to online shop guilt-free without harming their bank account or the environment.
FDRM is subscription-based online fashion retailer on a mission to make fast fashion sustainable.
FRDM is the brainchild of two female founders who were feeling frustrated.
Frustrated by fashion. Frustrated by the emotional rollercoaster that comes with trying to look and feel good every day– always having a full closet and yet somehow ‘nothing to wear’…feeling financially stressed or environmentally guilty about buying new clothes…the list goes on.
Designed to meet the needs of the young consumer financially, socially, and environmentally, FRDM allows users to borrow a selection of clothing from our closet at a simple monthly fee. We exist to remove the negative effects of fast fashion from the customer’s shopping experience by offering apparel as a service, empowering consumers with dynamic ownership.
Users subscribe to a membership that suits their needs (same as they would for their Spotify, Netflix, HelloFresh, or gym membership). Based on their selected subscription level, users can order either 1, 3, or 5 items at a time from our online shop. They can wear and keep these clothes for as long (or as short) as they’d like. Once they return an item, they can order another. Subscribe, shop, wear (and look fab!), return, repeat!
What led you to start your business?
I’m originally from Hawaii, I studied at university in D.C. and worked at the White House before moving to Australia. I started working at an tech start-up, where I met my co-founder Sasha, before moving on to Thankyou where I then managed all of their ecommerce channels.
With each of these location and career moves I found myself changing from corporate suits to silicon-valley style hoodies back to business casual blazers. I always had a full closet, yet nothing to wear. Adding in seasons, trends, and other occasions (gym, drinks, parties, events), it felt like I always needed an entirely new wardrobe and was constantly shopping. It was exhausting, expensive and emotionally draining.
Then last year, I was standing in a long lunchtime line at Zara waiting to return a top I was having second thoughts about, when it occurred to me. What if I could wear this top once, then exchange it for another and another, all for the same $70 dollars I originally spent?
It would be so freeing from all of the financial stress, environmental guilt, and social anxiety I was feeling. That moment led me to build FRDM– to empower women to look and feel good every day without the unnecessary emotional rollercoaster!
Describe yourself in 3 words…
Adaptable, positive, adventurous
What’s your favourite part about what you do?
I absolutely love connecting with women who are experiencing the same frustrations that inspired Sasha (my co-founder) and I to start FRDM. Being able to create a solution that empowers these women to feel beautiful and confident makes me incredibly happy and motivated. (And the photoshoots are super fun, too!)
Who do you look up to/who inspires you?
I’m inspired by kind, genuine, socially-minded, hard-working people like Brene Brown, J.K. Rowling, Oprah, Barack and Michelle Obama, and Bill and Melinda Gates. They are constantly learning, developing, following their passions and giving back to the world. They have all had profoundly positive impacts on the world and inspire me to push myself far outside my comfort zones, never give-up no matter no how big the challenge feels, dream extra big but still enjoy the journey.
What’s a quote you live by?
“Maybe it won’t work out. But maybe seeing if it does will be the best adventure ever.”
Who is the wisest woman you know?
My amazing mother!
What have you learnt from her?
My mom is an incredibly wise woman who has raised 4 strong, intelligent, passionate independent women. She has taught me how to love unconditionally, that no dream is out of reach and that no challenge is insurmountable.
What motivates you?
I’m motivated by a genuine desire to leave a positive, sustainable impact on the world. It’s our mission to completely disrupt the current fashion environment by making “fast” fashion fully circular. I love doing challenging, innovative work that’s good for people and the planet while working alongside teammates who are talented and passionate.