Our first Ethical Business Q&A is with Upward Dog from Australia.

Ethical business questionnaire for Upward Dog

1. What is the name of your business and what does it do? 

Our business is Upward Dog. We offer ethical and sustainable active wear and yoga gear through an online platform.

2. What inspired you to start your business?

My partner and I were looking for something we could do that would lead to greater autonomy. We were both very interested in the healing and growth aspects of yoga for ourselves, and how we might support that for others through a business by sourcing and selling mats, props and clothing that were high quality, durable and ethically produced. 

3. Where do you hope to see your business in 5 years’ time?

We are now looking to have a physical space that combines a studio, shop, and space for practitioners and other types of co-working. We are weighing a few different options in our local area and trying to incorporate our founding ethics throughout each stage. So in five years time we hope to have all of that available and more (through listening) in our little corner of the world, which is growing fast but doesn’t yet have these on offer.

4. How do you market your business? What is your preferred method of marketing? 

As an online business we primarily focus on the usual suspects- Insta, Facebook and Google. I used to really struggle with marketing but have come to see it as a definite business necessity. Even if you have a solid niche and can easily rank yourself high on search engines, that is not enough to touch the people you want to sell to. We look forward to the greater mix of marketing opportunities that comes with having a physical space.  My preferred method of marketing is getting on to stockist pages and other similar modes of exposure. For example, earlier this year we ran a test of including both Afterpay and zipPay on our site, expecting to easily make a decision but have kept them both as customers use both and being listed on their sites has driven a lot of traffic (an unexpected plus). We do ask questions about ethics and marketing (for example, we don’t supply influencers with product), and would like to see more of this happening in the space.

5. If you sell items where do you sell? Online, in store etc. What is your most profitable avenue for sales?

We initially started in local markets but soon discovered that this wasn’t working, so we focused solely on the website. As noted above, we are looking to sell in our new space, but for our business plan core income is coming from online sales and classes/memberships rather than an expected increase in sales from the retail space (but of course we are hoping!). We are looking to increase our purchase power in order to secure sea shipping opportunities as much as possible for our largest supplier in the U.S. This will make a difference not only in what and how much we sell, but will also increase profitability. 

6. What advice can you give to people looking to start or are in the early stages of their own ethical business?

Work on it every day. If your gut tells you you’re ready to launch, do it. Details can take forever to get right, so don’t delay for the small things.

Keep your ethics in check, because things will crop up that you never imagined. If you’re wrong about something, or change your mind, that’s great. It means you are learning and flexible, both of which are vital for ethical small business.

Finally, find support that is appropriate for what you do. You may or may not have any ethical support available in your local area, but there is plenty online and every place has small business networks- to which you can start conversations about ethics.

Visit Upward Dogs Website


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