Agents of Change: bgood collective Believes Sustainability is Achievable for Everyone
When Rabia Farhang and Johanna Masket met through a retail networking group, they realized they shared a similar worldview and were searching for work with purpose and meaning. Together they launched bgood collective, a group of change agents using its collective expertise as a force for good to drive sustainable solutions. bgood collective works with small brands, retailers, and non-profits to create and scale social and eco-conscious strategies and enterprises. Their goal: support female founders in purpose-driven organizations and make sustainability accessible to all.
Rabia Farhang started her merchandising career in department stores while putting herself through college. Her career path led to executive leadership roles with brands like White House|Black Market, Cache, and Fashion to Figure. Driven by her entrepreneurial spirit she began independent consulting, working with startups and small brands and utilizing her passion for launching businesses, turnarounds, and driving high growth. She has also worked with mission-driven organizations with a focus on underserved women and girls. Now as a female founder Rabia is putting her proven business skills and her passion for driving positive change to work focusing on social impact with purpose-driven
Johanna Masket has turned around, expanded, and created businesses in every region of the world. Her career has spanned entertainment, retail, and consulting work at companies large and small. In her work as a thought leader at the global services and consulting company Accenture she found younger consumers were expecting more sustainable business practices. New business models like rental and re-commerce were growing. Brands that incorporated sustainability and social impact into their business were outperforming the market. She realized she could not only do good but had a good argument to bring the rest of the industry with her. And so, Johanna and Rabia started their sustainability agency to merge the fashion industry and the impact space.
Check out our Ethical Fashion Festivals Fireside chat with Rabia and the Shegul Brand!
Or listen to the audio version here The Motivation
IFD: What are some of the experiences that shaped who and where you are today?
Rabia: I am an avid world traveler with a passion to explore new cultures, people, and customs. One of the most impactful experiences was my first trip to Afghanistan after 3 decades of war. Meeting people who have nothing in the eyes of the developed world, yet who live full of hope for the future. I used to think unless you can help in a big way, you couldn’t contribute enough. That trip changed my point of view to one that has stayed with me: every single one of us can make things happen in whatever way big or small. That is my ethos.
Johanna: In all honesty, meeting my husband and becoming part of his family in Tunisia (North Africa) has probably been the greatest impact on who I am. It has opened my eyes to the world. It has changed how I see myself. It has opened me up to a totally different culture. And, it has exposed me to a different way of life. It made me painfully aware of what I was taking for granted. And, it also gave me more desire to do good.
IFD: What was the impetus for starting bgood Collective?
Rabia: Having worked with both small and large companies over the course of my career, I have realized that bringing change to organizations tends to be a slow and inefficient process, but it doesn’t have to be. The common element in driving successful change is agility and open-mindedness. That is where I have seen organizations thrive, and that is what I want to help bring to companies.
Having lived in many countries growing up, I see the world as interconnected with all of us having a collective responsibility to bring positive impact in what we do. The fashion industry has a long way to go in thinking about the world as a global community and acting with a sense of urgency to adopt sustainable practices—both social and environmental. Social enterprises on the other hand exist for a purpose, but need sustainable growth to drive their impact further. That is where I wanted to bring my two passions together—driving change in my own way.
Photo by Brandon Wilcher for Sita NYC
IFD: What is your vision for the business?
Rabia & Johanna: To make sustainability achievable/accessible and a core component of every organization. We will do this by managing change for organizations and helping to develop, launch and grow sustainable practices in the fashion industry and by helping to develop and implement sustainable growth initiatives for social enterprises.
IFD: Who are some of your clients?
Rabia &Johanna: Our clients range from a fashion e-commerce business looking to expand their sustainable business model to other brands as well as develop new revenue streams, to the launch of a sustainable fashion apparel brand, to a female empowerment non-profit looking to launch a social enterprise focusing on women entrepreneurs, and an existing social enterprise with a mission to eradicate human trafficking looking to grow and expand their enterprise and revenue model.
IFD: And who would be a potential client for you?
Rabia & Johanna: Small or mid-size fashion companies looking to incorporate sustainability into their business model or looking to expand their sustainability initiatives. Companies who are looking to implement initiatives, but may not have the resources. Companies need to make a pivot or manage through a crisis. Social enterprises who want to scale their models. Non-profits who want to start or expand a social enterprise.
What is your process when working with a client?
We guide clients through different phases of change management and business strategy and use our collective approach to collaborate with clients one on one to create customized solutions and strategies that best fit their needs:
Define and Assess where they are and where they want to go
Create Solutions – Collaborate closely to develop strategies, and roadmaps and identify resources
Activate – Partner with them to roll out and implement strategies
Manage Initiatives as an outsourcing partner
IFD: What should clients know before working with you?
Rabia & Johanna: They need to know that they should be building sustainability in their business practice….that is it! We can then help them whether it is to give them. an overview and understanding of what and how, to actually build, roll out, and execute the initiatives. Also if a company is looking to pivot or expand its business, we will drive and manage the change.
IFD: What are the top five reasons to use your services?
If you are a small or mid-size organization without resources to support sustainability initiatives— We will be your outsourced partner.
If you have minimal resources to dedicate—We will be an extension of those resources without the full-time investment or be a new resource to help accelerate new strategies.
We are not “consultants”—We will partner with you 1 on 1 based upon your needs to develop, implement and execute as well as manage long term.
We bring years of experience, skills, and leadership with an approach that is entrepreneurial, collaborative, and agile. There is nothing traditional in the way we operate…including our fee structure
We are change agents who execute with you. We don’t just give “advice” and walk away.
IFD: What are your desires for the industry and its future?
Rabia &Johanna: All industries whether fashion, non-profit or other work collaboratively to get to a more sustainable future in our world. Not as a one-time crisis-driven initiative, but as a permanent practice.