We sat down for a coffee with Eleanor Turner, CEO of The Big Favorite, to hear about her mornings in Philadelphia as she builds her new company and how she's been structuring her quarantine days.
What does a typical morning for Eleanor look like?
I moved to Philadelphia a little over a year ago from NYC to build a new company, called The Big Favorite. Since I’ve been the only employee for about a year, I find that structure in the morning is key to productivity. So a typical morning pre-COVID was I’d wake up, shower, and head out with my partner, Charles, on his commute. We’d grab a coffee on the way at one of my favorite coffee shops here, I’d send him on his way, and I’d camp out for the morning with my headphones and laptop. I am a huge consumer of podcast content. I have a few favorites, but it always starts with The Daily.
How have your mornings changed since COVID?
No more commutes and no more coffee shops :( We still try to go for walks in the morning, especially if it’s nice, to feel like we still have a commute. Sometimes I’ll go for a run before plugging in. Fresh air and exercise is so important! When we get back, either one of us will put on a fresh pot of coffee (now we’ll use DripKit!). Headphones, laptop, build.
Any advice on how to keep to a routine?
Structure! And scheduling. I swear by my calendar and my Trello board. I allocate time on my calendar to do certain tasks that are on my list. I did get a little crazy with scheduling at one point so I had to pull back and allocate some time for myself, which I definitely recommend. Also, forgive yourself if you don’t get something done. That time is gone, so there’s no sense in punishing yourself for not doing it. Let it go, and start again tomorrow.
Tell us about your favorite mug!
My favorite mug is my “not work-related” cobalt shapes mug. It’s amazing - hand made and I bought it at my favorite store here in Philadelphia called Yowie.
How do you take your coffee!
Depends! If we’re making coffee at home, I drink it black. If we’re going to our favorite coffee shop, I treat myself with an almond latte.
How have you been staying inspired and creative in quarantine?
Figure Drawing! I found an amazing class with @bodyconfidence that I tune into. It had been 10 years since I had picked up my pastels for live drawing and it was like riding a bike. This time I experimented with color, not just black and white. It has been really inspiring. It actually provides more balance and motivation for me to complete non-creative tasks that I’ve been meaning to get to!
If you were going to “take the day” or “play hooky” how would you spend it?
I’m going to be super honest here, so please don’t judge, but I love a couch day every now and then. Ample snacks, Netflix, couch. Just really veg out. It’s a nice recharge for me.
Tell us about the masks you're making and the charity that you’re donating proceeds to.
When COVID hit, I had to delay my launch, but I still wanted to use the platform to help people. I was always taught that in the face of crisis, you do something to pitch in. While a lot of charities were busy prioritizing frontline workers, I knew that this was going to present a very tough situation for families who were less fortunate and so I decided to raise money for local food banks. With really nothing else than some eccentric and beautiful fabric scraps and a 20-year-old Kenmore sewing machine, I made non-medical masks and sold them to raise that money. I ended up raising almost $1000 for Philabundance and I’m at it again.
I love the name for The Big Favorite, wasn’t it inspired by your grandfather? Tell us more about the brand!
Yes! It was actually one of my great grandfather’s brands. He had a vertical cotton workwear operation in the 30s, 40s, and 50s that he sold to Dickie’s in the 60s. The Big Favorite was one of the brands that made denim overalls and work jackets. I love the story behind TBF. He actually created it to provide a different and much dearer choice for rural farming communities. The word ‘favorite’ elicits a choice. I love the notion of choice. I think it’s so relevant again now because consumers are starting to realize the power in their choices. The [new] Big Favorite is all about making a better choice - for ourselves and the planet.
What’s the deal with recycled fabrics? Why don’t more brands do it?
The goal is to create a zero-waste basics brand. We’re starting with 100% Pima cotton fabric and engineering the items to be recycled. We’ll bring the garments back at the end of their lives, and recycle them into new yarn to create more product and pricing tiers so that no matter what someone can spend, they can still participate in a circular system diverting 11M lbs of undergarment textile waste from U.S. landfills daily and reducing carbon emissions.
When can we start buying our new favorite pieces from The Big Favorite?
TBD on TBF! It really depends when things start opening up. But I am excited to build our community and some of the fun initiatives we’re implementing to reduce waste ahead of launch!
When did you draw your first clothing sketch?
8 years old. I have one. Wanna see it?