Hi friends! You’re going to see me in my underwear a bunch in this post, but don’t worry—it’s for good reason.
I've been keeping a secret from you for months now, as I've been working behind the scenes to create content for a brand called hernest project. Ethically produced in Montreal with sustainably certified fabrics, hernest project is a sleep and loungewear brand that's completely change my sleepwear game and filled a long-standing gap in my wardrobe. Before I get into their brand philosophy and my review of the Veronica Tank and Betty Brief, let's first discuss how this brand partnership came to be. It's important that I share the kind of information you don't usually get to learn about in the influencer world because honesty is my policy and if I'm going to recommend where you spend your money—I want you to know why.
What's in an Authentic Brand Partnership?
At the beginning of 2020, I received an email from a woman named Cassandra, who I would later learn is the Founder and CEO of hernest project. There are a couple things I look for when a brand reaches out that showcase a genuine interest in partnering with me as a person and as a brand. First, do they even follow me? It would be odd for a brand to reach out and want to work together if they don't follow and engage with my work. Second, do they understand what I do and have an interest in building a genuine relationship/partnership? I'm able to tell this right away if they've included personal information that shows they've done their research and are offering a connection point. And third, are they willing to work with me on the deliverables and budget to ensure both parties feel valued?
Cassandra checked the first two boxes immediately, as we'd been following each other from the previous year and her email to me was authentic and personal. Any time I receive a follow, I usually check out their profile to see what they're about. When I saw 'hernest project' appear as a new follower, I remember the excitement I felt deep in my soul when I arrived on their profile to see they were a Canadian company that produces ethically made sleep and loungewear with sustainable fabrics.
I was also a little confused because I was just talking about how I wanted a matching sleep set with cute, high-waisted underwear. Does the universe really work that fast? Or am I just really that loud? Have a peek below at a snippet of the email Cass sent me and you'll see why it made so much sense for us to work together.
"I have been following your Instagram account for a while and have been admiring your closet audits and your recent rant about how people dispose of their clothes in donation bins. I used to do a closet audit for my friend at University every year. She thought I was nuts so love that you are doing this!!
My name is Cass and I'm writing today to introduce you to my brand hernest project. hernest project is a Canadian Brand based out of Mont-Tremblant Quebec (and Germany - it’s where I currently live as an expat and where I work on hernest and do all the sustainable research). hernest which is pronounced “her”+ “nest” makes sleep and loungewear for modern women on the move using innovative sustainable fabrics and a transparent ethical supply chain.
We use the word “project” to symbolize the ever-evolving effort we put into sustainable practices and the work we feel is necessary in the fashion industry to bring it back into balance. As a business, we have more to do on the sustainability front, but we’ve made it clear that at a minimum we work with only accredited and certified fabrics and dyes which are milled in Blue Sign Certified facilities. As well, we work with manufacturers that have at minimum Oeko-Tex Standard 100 or GOTS certifications. We’re continually trying to improve our practices as we evolve.
We pride ourselves on our attention to detail, our timeless seasonless styles, and our conscientious, ecological spirit. Our garments are designed for sleep and lounge but work well for an always-changing, on-the-go life. For example, we have customers working out in our sleep tanks because the fabric breathes so well! We also have customers traveling the world in their hernest because of the versatility of our garments.
I have only worked with 1 influencer to date as I wanted to do a bit of a trial run before approaching anyone else. I have been approached by so many influencer marketing companies but feel uneasy about the process. I strive to create a real authentic connection between everyone who works with hernest.
I looked at your website for influencer guidelines but it said to reach out directly, so here I am. Since I’m a BIG believer in authenticity I wanted to first introduce you to hernest and see whether you thought our garments would work for you. I'm sure you get many requests!
If there's something here that sparks your interest, please let me know. I look forward to hearing from you!"
What’s not to love about that email?! The way she spoke about my work and tied it back to her own life, the story behind the inception of the brand and the meaning of the name, the honesty and commitment to working with influencers who want to build an authentic connection with their audience. The fact that she was aware her garments might not work for me, but wanted to reach out anyway. Check, check, check!
As many of you know, I'm also very turned off by the marketing/influencer companies and take my brand partnerships very seriously. If I wouldn't consider paying full price for a product and talking about it authentically, then it doesn't make sense to work together. I enjoy working with the brands whose values are similar to mine, and it was obvious that hernest and ClosettCandyy are very much aligned. I would be honoured to receive a product in exchange for promotion—which can be discussed based on value exchange. My only requirements are that I'm able to pick the product(s) and content delivery dates, so that they're aligned with my style and my schedule.
Cass happily granted my requests and it's been a bumpy ride trying to create and deliver content ever since. I received my products at the end of February, booked a photoshoot that was rescheduled more than three times, which ended up working out well because they weren't ready for my content anyway.. but then COVID hit and I was faced with the fear of photographing myself in my underwear. As someone who *sometimes* takes a good photo, I've been talking myself out of creating this content for fear that it won't be 'good enough' when in reality... it can serve as a memory for that time I had to get creative with content while in quarantine.
When you're paralyzed by fear, you leave no room for creativity. So I have been actively reminding myself that I CAN do this, and that done is always better than perfect. What's been key for keeping our brand partnership solid amongst all this uncertainty is open and honest communication. After creating my content and sharing it with Cass, she expressed that she was blown away and wanted to pay me. So although I accepted the partnership based on gifted product and my love for the brand, this has now turned into a sponsored post and I'm so grateful to be paid for my work and to tell you about a brand I stand behind.
About the Brand & the Intention Behind the Name 'hernest'
As Cass briefly mentioned in her email above, the word hernest is actually “her” and “nest” combined, to capture the intention of the brand. This intention being, to create a new category of sleep and lounge basics, elevated in style, reflective of our modern "nest" while speaking to "her" specifically.
hernest was created at the intersection of personal events for Cassandra—an identity crisis, a move overseas and the complete inability to find that damn perfect pair of pyjamas. You know the ones... comfortable, flattering pieces that could take you from night to morning, and all the way back to night. She was looking for those stylish "comfies" you’re not embarrassed to answer the door in.
To all my clients reading this, you'll recall I use this reference during Closet Audits... "Let's separate your loungewear by the pieces you'd never want to be seen in and the pieces you can comfortably leave the house in."
I feel you, Cass! And I thank you for creating this brand built on comfort, elevation, and ethics. I have never been more comfortable in bed than I am when I lounge or sleep in my Veronica Tank and Betty Brief.
Their Commitment to Sustainability
One of the easiest ways to understand if a fashion brand is committed to sustainability is to look at their website. If they're doing it right—they're going to talk about it because it's a direct differentiator. If it's difficult to find where a product is made and how it's made, chances are they don't want you to find out. At hernest project, their commitment to sustainability is unmatched and they proudly display this information on their website.
All their fabrics are certified Oeko-Tex Standard 100 so you can be sure they're free from harmful dyes and chemicals.
They use Tencel™ Lyocell fibres to make each garment. It's more absorbent than cotton, softer than silk, and offers natural hygiene.
100% of their packaging (including hang tags, labels, bags and shipping materials) is reusable, or made from recycled material and is recyclable.
Much like myself, they believe fashion can be a catalyst for change.
They believe garments with longevity simplify your life and benefit the planet. Their garments are not only designed to be relevant for years but also constructed to last and last…and last.
They believe in the power of trees both as the core ingredient in their fabrics and as a way to fight climate change. They donate 1% of profits to planting trees in Canada and Globally.
Canadian Designed, Ethically Produced in Portugal
The fashion industry is complicated and it's not as easy as you might think to produce a clothing line in Canada that checks all your ethical and sustainable boxes.
After speaking with Cass, I learned that in her initial search for partners she looked exclusively in Canada, but couldn't find anyone who could provide the stitching she was after, nor who would do the small batches (minimum orders) she was comfortable with.
In addition to Portugal being synonymous with quality of workmanship for ages, here are a few more reasons why hernest manufactures outside of Canada:
By making their garments in Portugal, they ensure their supply chain remains tight. Their fabric mill is less than 100km from the sewers, ensuring they can manage their carbon footprint.
They have skilled professionals implementing and auditing Integrated Management Systems for International Standards (ISO 9001, ISO14001, SA8000, and so on).
Portugal is at the forefront of respecting worker's human rights. They take comfort in knowing that workers have rights and protection at the government level.
Even as someone who's been involved in fashion my whole life, there are so many facets to the industry I have yet to learn. Working with hernest has been an opportunity to pull the curtain back a bit to understand what's involved in building a responsible clothing brand. The fact that this product is produced by a team of women who are paid and protected by the highest standard of workers rights is more important to me than the product being made in Canada.
A Review of the Products I'm Wearing: the Betty Brief + Veronica Tank
I'M IN LOVE WITH THIS SET.
I feel cute, comfortable, sexy, and my body temperature stays cool even on those hot days thanks to this magical fabric.
These garments have been a game changer for sleeping in the summer. The briefs are much more comfortable than any PJ bottoms or underwear I've worn to bed before. The rise hits that perfect spot on my torso, not too high, not too low. The waistband is thick AND most importantly—they stay put throughout the night. No more waking up to readjust my PJs or having a hungry butt..
The fabric feels luxurious on the skin, is slim-fitting without clinging and is lightweight yet durable. The garments don't stretch with multiple wears, wash up like a dream, and hernest even sends a delicates bag with your order to ensure you can take the best care of your garments (pictured below).
In addition to learning about the benefits of producing in Portugal, I also learned why TENCEL™ Lyocell fibres are ideal for sleep...
Gentle on skin. TENCEL™ Lyocell (TL) fibres are naturally soft to the touch and offer long-lasting comfort. When viewed under an electron microscope, the fibers exhibit a smooth surface area, giving fabrics a soft feel and ensuring comfort for sensitive skin.
Feels cool and dry. The smooth fiber surface of TL fibers absorbs moisture more efficiently than cotton. This supports the body’s natural thermal regulating mechanism, keeping your skin feeling pleasantly cool and dry throughout the day and night.
Unfavourable bacteria growth. TL fibers absorb moisture efficiently. In comparison to polyester and synthetics, there is less available moisture formed on the surface of the fibre for bacteria to grow.
Sustainable closed-loop production. TL fibres have gained a commendable reputation for their environmentally responsible closed loop production process. You can have the assurance that your fashion choices are not contributing to an adverse impact on the environment.
Lasting quality. Distinguished by their greater strength among cellulose fibres, TENCEL™ Lyocell fibres are durable and have a long-lasting quality. Your garments won't pill or fade after repeated washing.
The Betty Brief is for those who like a less is more approach to sleeping and lounging. Less frill, more freedom. Because comfortable is sexy.
The Veronica Tank pairs perfectly with a Betty Brief but is a wardrobe workhorse all on her own too. Once the fabric hits your skin you'll reach for this tank day-in and day-out.
Both of these items are made of very lightweight fabric comprised of 64% Tencel ™ / 31% BCI Cotton / 5% Elastane and are free of harmful chemicals.
Below I've included photos of the other colours available so you can see what they look like on different bodies than mine. These photos are from the hernest project website where you can see which size each model is wearing and what their measurements are. The sizing guide was very helpful in determining what size to order.
How About a Discount Code for 15% off?
hernest already offers 10% on first orders but is generously offering 15% for ClosettCandyy customers using the code 'closettcandyy'. This code is only available for a limited time (July 3 - August 15 2020). If you have any specific questions about the set, please reach out and I'd be happy to answer. If you have questions about sizing, reach out to their team! They helped me feel confident about the sizes I chose. For first time purchasers, hernest offers first return free so you can be sure of your size, with the exception of briefs (for obvious reasons).
Thank you so much for reading and for your commitment to a more thoughtful, sustainable wardrobe.
This post was paid for by hernest project, but all thoughts expressed are my own. I do not earn an affiliate commission if you choose to purchase the products linked in this post.