Fernando Trueba is the cofounder and CEO of Luv.it, a social commerce startup that makes it easy for fashion enthusiasts to discover and shop ethical, sustainable brands. “Luv.it is a direct response to a generally opaque, exploitative, unsustainable fashion industry that’s damaging our planet and its people,” Trueba says. “At Luv.it, we are driven by our duty to educate others on the negative impacts of so-called ‘fast fashion.’ We firmly believe the health of our planet is at stake. We know that independent designers and shoppers can make an impact with their choices and their voices, so we are here to help.”
The fashion industry is the second-most polluting and ethically exploitative industry. Worldwide, close to 75 million people are employed to make our clothes. 80% of these people are women between the ages of 18 and 35 years old who earn just 30 to 50 cents per hour. “This is fundamentally wrong,” Trueba states. “It is really easy to ignore the problem, but as consumers, we are fully responsible for the industry we’ve created. I’m optimistic we can stop the cycle of poverty by educating consumers to make better purchasing choices.”
Discovering his life purpose wasn’t easy, Trueba says. He always wanted “to drive change and generate positivity,” but wasn’t sure how to go about it. And never would he have predicted that entrepreneurship and fashion would be his path. Growing up, he dreamt of being a professional athlete. For over ten years, he competed at a high level in soccer but never did go pro.
Then, after graduating from college, Trueba had a successful 15-year career in the corporate world, working for companies such as Johnson & Johnson, Red Bull, Microsoft, and eBay. Yet even though he frequently was identified as a “top talent,” deep inside he did not feel aligned with his true purpose. “I wasn’t pursuing my dreams, and I wasn’t making the profound impact I knew I was capable of making,” he says.
In 2016, Trueba made the decision to leave the corporate world and launch Luv.it with business partners German Ahumada and Rodrigo Higuera. Now he is living a life he feels proud of – working hard to create social impact and build a successful brand while also spending more quality time with his son, family, and friends. In addition, Trueba enjoys advising other entrepreneurs. He has been chosen as a mentor at startup accelerator programs such as NUMA NYC and Victoria 147.
The greatest challenge Trueba faces as a social entrepreneur is getting people to believe in him and his cause. He explains, “It’s not easy to knock on hundreds of doors and find that 99% of them are closed. It takes conviction, persistence, tenacity, and objectiveness. I’ve heard countless times that it is ‘impossible to change consumer behavior,’ that ‘people care more about their wallets than they do about the environment or other people,’ and that what we are doing with Luv.it is ‘great, but it will take an insane amount of investment money to be successful.’ Well, I believe that people are inherently good and will make principled purchasing decisions when they are aware of the social and environmental impacts. I believe that people want to identify as conscious, ethical consumers who care about factories being safe, materials and methods being sustainable, and workers being treated humanely. I’m not a quitter and I could not imagine any other job that would make me feel as proud as I feel right now.”
The best advice Trueba has for young people looking to align their career with their life purpose is, “Find your own definition of success. From a young age, we are mistakenly taught that success is directly correlated with what others think of us and how much money we make. So, we spend years chasing this version of happiness. But when time goes by, we look back and realize that we’ve been living a life that doesn’t belong to us. Figure out what success means to you. For some people, it means being the CEO of a huge company or buying a waterfront mansion in the Hamptons. But for others, success means dedicating their lives to serving people and the planet. Live a life you feel proud of every single day.”
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