Chereen Leong Schwarz who is the owner, maker, and designer of Smeeny Beanie Knits holding beanies

The Eco-Business Spotlight is Nadi Marketing’s monthly series highlighting businesses and entrepreneurs leading the way with sustainable practices and making a lasting impact.

This month I’m introducing you to Chereen Leong Schwarz who is the owner, maker, and designer of Smeeny Beanie Knits. I first found Smeeny Beanie Knits on Instagram and then secondly found this eco-business on 1% for the Planet business directory! For those of you who may not be aware of what 1% for the Planet is, it’s a network of businesses taking action to donate 1% of their business revenue to environmental organizations. Chereen is a powerhouse solopreneur that has grown her hobby to a full-time eco-business and has created a community for makers. In her community, she shares tips and tricks, helpful resources, maker interviews, and more! I’m excited to introduce you to a fellow 1% for the Planet member, Smeeny Beanie Knits and you can read Chereen’s interview below.

6 beanies from Smeeny Beanie Knits

What is your eco-business and what inspired you?

After years of knitting, I decided to start Smeeny Beanie Knits in 2018 and what started as a side hustle is now my full-time business and something that I’m extremely passionate about. I make knit beanies using ethically and sustainably sourced natural fibers and sell knitting patterns to other knitters and makers.

All Smeeny Beanie Knits items are made with high quality, sustainably sourced wools and I only source from companies who ensure an ethical supply chain. These wool companies are committed to humanely raised sheep as well as providing safe workplaces for women in Peru. Items that I don’t make, like my cork tags and faux fur pom poms, are sourced from other small women-run handmade businesses. When you order from my shop, everything is carefully packaged in sustainable, recycled and recyclable, plastic-free packaging.

Smeeny Beanie Knits is a proud member of 1% for the Planet and I donate 1% of all revenue to the National Park Foundation. In addition, my business is a monthly supporter of the Intersectional Environmentalist which is a grassroots organization fighting for climate and environmental justice as it intersects with social and racial justice. My next step is working to get Climate Neutral certified!

Why is it important to have an eco-business?

Access to the outdoors and protecting our planet and its people is something that I care deeply about. As a business, I want to ensure that every part of what I do and how I do it is as eco-friendly as possible. Using Smeeny Beanie Knits as a platform to raise awareness on these topics, share helpful tips for living more sustainably, and encouraging people to get outside and recreate responsibly are all part of my brand’s mission. In addition to being an eco-business, building a community around the brand, making connections, and having thoughtful conversations about important issues is a very important part of my business.

What’s the most challenging part of your business right now?

The most challenging part of my business right now is time. I’m still a solopreneur and am responsible for everything from making the beanies, to doing the photography, social media marketing, email newsletter, and website design. I’d love to do more collaborations, create more content sharing sustainability tips, and expand my offerings at some point.

What has been your biggest learning curve?

My biggest learning curve has been navigating the discussion and incorporation of harder topics and social issues into my brand. This year has been difficult for everyone on so many levels, but I’ve been amazed and inspired by big brands who have used their platforms to talk about big issues. Getting more clear and comfortable on who I am as a business and brand has been very helpful on this front and allowed me to be stronger in sharing my brand’s mission and things that align with it.

 5 beanies stacked on a rock from Smeeny Beanie Knits

How do you see your company growing in the future?

Aside from growing the business and sharing my beanies with you, I’d love to continue growing the community around Smeeny Beanie Knits and eventually create opportunities to connect with each other (like retreats!). A big part of my community is other knitters and makers and it would be awesome to host retreats that focus on how to become more missioned based, eco-friendly businesses. I also want to build more connections with other like-minded brands and collaborate on future projects and offerings.

Contact Smeeny Beanie Knits

If you are an eco-business and would like to be featured, please fill out our Eco-Business Spotlight Form or contact us.