MONTREAL, Canada — All Conquered by Love is a brand that is at once eclectic and utilitarian and mainly sells local sustainable products that come from small businesses and North American designers. Co-founder, Inder Bedi discovered the importance of simplicity after he left his vegan empire Matt & Nat for an uncomplicated existence. He spent some time searching for spirituality to get back to what he truly loved — quality and sustainability.
During a chat with Inder Bedi, we gathered his views on the rational behind his brand, his projects, ethos and what’s next for All Conquered by Love.
Interview of Inder Bedi, Co-founder of All Conquered By Love
As a founder and former CEO of Matt & Nat, what triggered your transition to All Conquered by Love? What made you decide to focus on local talents after having spent almost two decades cultivating a company that you founded on your own?
After I left Matt & Nat, I took some time for myself so that I could do a lot of things that I kind of put aside, as I was really busy running Matt & Nat. I would make time wherever I could, but there was a lot of travel involved and everything else that went with it. I got into a lot of things from Tai Chi to meditation to yoga and I took up woodworking with a great school in Hudson.
One of the few schools where we used all hand tools to create everything by hand, not much machinery was involved. That whole class got me thinking about working with local things again and being in a space where the designers were also the makers. The whole hands-on experience that I wanted for All Conquered by Love.
Your website emphasises your products’ locality and sustainability. Besides those qualities, what else do you look for when you encounter and search for products to be featured on your website? How do you find them in the first place?
We want items that are going to be around for generations. There’s a utilitarian aspect, a quality aspect, but at the same time we’re very much into fashion minimalism. There has to be a certain aesthetic that goes along with everything that we put out on All Conquered by Love. It’s got to feel like it will tie in with the whole look and concept of the website and the brand. It’s a website, but it’s also a brand at the same time. We ask for certain tweaks to be made before we showcase the products on our website.
It’s been very interesting over the past couple of years. There’s been a large insurgence of local production in Canada and a lot of fairs going on in the States. There are more and more people in different categories. The designers and the products have to speak to us. That’s sometimes hard to put into words because it’s more of an intuitive thing what you feel about the product and the designer.
Since we’re talking about local, there’s a like-mindedness, in a sense that there are people that are thinking the same things we are—sustainability, making products that will last a very long time, having products that speak to people, sourcing raw materials locally and in terms of the tweaks coming into the All Conquered space is having that look and feel we’re going for.
Matt & Nat is a vegan brand. Is that why you chose to focus on local talents as well since local designers source local materials?
I feel that no matter what I get involved with, it has to have an ethical and sustainability part of it whether it’s the current project or the next one. Whether I’m fully involved in the project or just partially, it’s important to me on a personal level. We’re just trying to push that whole aspect as far as we can. Everybody will agree that it has become more important than ever to focus on sustainability.
I think part of the big thing of All Conquered is that we’re focusing on products that go hand in hand, since they’re local, with sustainable resources. The end product will be one that is very long lasting and that is what has become a large part of the sustainability question. For instance, products that don’t have to be replaced so quickly and stand the test of time, not just the design, but the longevity of the product as well.
How do you think All Conquered by Love differentiates itself within the online retail market and the sustainable business market? How would you describe your brand’s identity?
I think there are many great brands out there and for us, it’s a matter of finding our own voice and pushing the envelope in terms of design and sustainability. We’re aware of brands out there, but we don’t dwell on it too much. We kind of set the bar as high as we can and strive for it every day.
What’s the difference between running a company such as Matt & Nat in comparison to an online retailer such as All Conquered by Love?
We’re still at the beginning stages of All Conquered, which is very exciting. I think the challenge is that every business has typical challenges, but there are various differences depending on your target. You benefit from your experience that you’ve had from past businesses, though it might be a little too soon to tell or to make real comparisons because it’s still fairly new. It’s also different, one of the nice things is working with all these great local-minded talents. At the end of the day, it boils down to relations and that’s what All Conquered by Love is about—it’s about love and enjoying what we do every day. Whatever challenges come our way, we try to overcome with love and the passion that we have for what we do.
Do you consider the website a reflection of who you are as a person? If so, how do you see yourself in this website and what type of values do you instill when you operate All Conquered by Love that you also adhere to in your personal life?
I definitely see it as a reflection of us. At the end of the day, I think when it comes to design, you have to put things out there that you love and are passionate about. Have faith that others will find what you’re doing is interesting and be part of the community that you’re building. But absolutely, all the items we use or sell, they’re the type of items we have in our homes. That’s the other nice thing about starting this up after having taken some time for myself. It’s nice to be able to have a little distance and space between yourself and the design career to then come back with a fresh perspective. It’s something that’s also evolving.
You sell everything from homeware to accessories to stationery. What type of consumer would you say frequents your website and why do you think they prefer to shop on All Conquered by Love?
I feel that when customers go on the website, they feel that it speaks to them. That’s hard to put into words, how you describe when a product or brand is speaking to somebody? There has to be something that appeals to them whether it’s the aesthetic, the fact that we’re sustainable and that we’re producing locally. It may be because these products last a long time. It’s a bit tricky sometimes to describe what type of customer it is because at the same time, that’s something you build in the community. However, I think it’s definitely people who are looking for products that are not only sustainable, but have an interesting aesthetic to them.
How do you promote yourself in an age where an online presence is integral to building a brand? How have you cultivated All Conquered by Love’s brand without much marketing?
We love pictures, we really believe that pictures are worth a thousand words. Instagram has been the main focus for us. We want to keep things relatively simple and the website is still quite fresh, so it’s something that we’re building on, but Instagram is definitely the beginning of this for us. We hope to entice others, with what we’re doing, through pictures.
How do you see the blog on your website as part of your brand and how do you think it can enlighten your consumers or people who frequent your website?
The blog is a nice way to put words on a screen and connect with people beyond just products. It’s the thing with All Conquered, that we work with others to promote them and to collaborate with them on our site. It’s not just a site to push products, we’re really about building a community and having fun while doing it. We want to connect with people on a more personal level.
Do you plan to to work with other geographies, if yes, what would that entail?
There’s a possibility though, there’s a lot of great talent in Canada and the US. Whatever the categories we want to focus on, we’re focusing on Canada and the US. We’re still building up the brand and the site. As we move along in that process, we’re opened to working with other fair trade companies and artists. There’s a similar type of culture going on in Europe. We’re definitely open, but right now, we’re more than fine focusing on the categories we have. What’s nice with focusing on local is that we get to interact with artists and building a relationship with them.