ML Dreams: Andrew Van Asselt, CEO of ETH-ICS, originally from Eugene, OR
madeLOKAL: When did you start ETH-ICS?
Andrew: I started Eth-ics June 14 but officially opened the store Oct 2014
madeLOKAL: What is your mission?
Andrew: My mission is to curate the world's best socially conscious and ethical fashion brands from around the world.
madeLOKAL: You just uprooted your entire life to start fresh and be near like minded people. How easy or difficult was this decision?
Andrew: To be honest the decision was easy in once sense because I believe in my calling and I knew that I needed to go to place were I was valued more. It was difficult leaving friends and family I’m a very relational person. It's all about the connections.
madeLOKAL: You bought a vehicle that would be suitable for sleeping...have you had to take advantage of this side benefit?
Andrew: I actually bought a vehicle that was the cheapest. It happen to be a 4runner and I kinda knew I might need it for sleeping. Don’t tell my mom haha. But yeah it was the day I got here I knew I needed a car in 4 days. Got the car and yes I've had to sleep in my car twice. Thank God I have blankets.
madeLOKAL: Describe your typical day.
Andrew: Wake up go to Starbucks for the wifi, check emails, do work on the Eth-ics website, make sure I do some content curating. Then I see what meetings I have with other brands and go look for a place. I then take a break and go to the beach to enjoy the weather and Thank God for all the goodness he has done in my life, this trip, just look at how wonderful life is and how I am making moves. Then I get back to work meeting with some amazing people and brands and then keep looking for a place to live.
madeLOKAL: How hard is it for you to sign a lease in LA?
Andrew: Yeah its pretty hard. You have to have first and last plus deposit. Just finding a place where someone hasn’t beat you to the punch is hard.
madeLOKAL: What is the biggest challenge conducting business while being on-the-go?
Andrew: The biggest challenge on the go is not getting distracted with the rush of finding a place. I want people to know that ETH-ICS is a priority. I can’t just be like, oh sorry I’m looking for a place I will stop.
madeLOKAL: What has been the biggest benefit or upside of leaving everything and starting fresh?
Andrew: The biggest benefit is getting new exposure to a new place. Being around the brands that I carry and look up to. I knew that community and face to face interaction would be key. I want to serve the companies we carry. Also getting the name out in the world. Sometimes I feel like ETH-ICS is a hidden secret.
madeLOKAL: Have you always been a risk taker?
Andrew: Kinda in business. I feel like I've been so small that when I look at the risk and reward I think it's small and it might not work, but I will learn from it. I once flew to Norway with $60 to my name. On the plane, a stranger goes, "I think God wants you to have this," and he gave me $160. He had no idea I wouldn't have had enough money to get from the the airport into the city. So yeah, each time I have risked God has met me and blessed it.
madeLOKAL: Do you feel afraid, excited or both?
Andrew: Yeah of course I’m afraid. Sometimes I wonder if I did the right thing. I wonder and think I'll get swallowed up. At the same time I'm super excited to see what happens because so far it's been good and business wise it's been great.
madeLOKAL: What were you doing before you started ETH-ICS?
Andrew: Funny, before I worked in fashion and ETH-ICS, I built houses, did construction and I used to work at a gravel and sand place. Every job I've had before this was super manly.
Andrew is being modest though. He left out an important part of his career, which was his start...and seemingly very influential years. When Andrew initially sent us an interview photo, we tried to obtain a higher quality image and in doing so, we stumbled upon an old YouTube video which is an introduction to Andrew's career in ethical fashion and the steps he had already taken to bring awareness to Human Trafficking, which was over four years ago, but still very relevant. Watch him on YouTube here.
madeLOKAL: What is your dream for your life in LA in one year from now?
Andrew: My biggest dream for the next year in LA is to have a flagship store and have a nice place to live so I can have my friends from all over the world to come visit.
Find, Follow and Like ETH-ICS on Instagram, Pinterest + Facebook at @ethicsstore
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