Starting a sustainable business!
Our founder gave a interview last week to the sustainable blog 'Sustain your Style'. In case you missed it, here it is! :)
What is the origin of Samudra Swimwear? What reveals your brand concept?
I couple of years ago I started to feel dissatisfied with my job and what I was doing professionally. The thought of doing the same thing for the rest of my life in my current company or another made me so upset and frustrated that I started looking for something that I could really feel passionate about. Starting my own business was never in my plans before. My family does not have an entrepreneurship background, but I do remember wanting to be a boss ever since I was a little girl, just that I did not know it would be at my own company. Something I had in mind while looking for my business project idea was that it had to be a sustainable one. I could not see myself starting a business for money exclusively without thinking about its impact. I wanted to do something that could also make a difference in the world and society we live in. That is how Samudra Swimwear was created and the values that define the brand are based on this origin and this purpose.
What was it like to start a business right before the Covid pandemic start?
It has been a challenge for me to start at such complicated time, but it has also taught me a lot of patience and resilience. I have to say I was lucky, because while I was starting the brand I was also working full time at another company so I did not have the pressure of financial instability. However, all the delays on the manufacturing process due to the pandemic made our launching to be very late in the year, which also had an impact in our sales. However, unless you have a big audience already or a lot of money to invest in marketing, the first launching would not be very successful. This has made me realize the importance of putting my brand out there and work on marketing as a main priority.
What does the word “Sustainability” mean to you and how do Sustainability issues impact you as a brand?
Being sustainable means to keep in mind that what we do and what we buy needs to be part of a cycle. We look for solutions that make our products and materials to be reused and recycle, and to reduce our impact in nature as much as we can. To question yourself ‘what happens after’ is important. If we manage to make our final product be back in the production process, that is when I think we will be completely successful in terms of sustainability. In my opinion, the most complicated problems for sustainable swimwear brands are the microplastic issue and the swimwear recycling issue. There is still not a good solution for these two in our industry. As a small brand it is hard to find proper solutions for this on our own, but we trust that this can be solved in the near future.
What is your strongest commitment in terms of Sustainability in your business? What could you do better?
Our strongest commitment is to keep improving every day. We know we are yet far from perfect and we are completely transparent with our clients about it. In our website, we set our future goals for everyone to see and know where we are still lacking and that we are working on it. Something that we are trying to do is controlling the water consumption, water waste, and also control the chemicals used during our materials manufacturing process. Even though we work with other sustainable suppliers that have strong environmental policies themselves, we need to be more serious about it in the future and create our own policies addressing these.
What have been the biggest mistakes or challenges that you have gone through since you started?
As a newbie in the fashion industry, with no previous knowledge I made mistakes mostly at the production stage. Choosing the right manufacturer for us, picking the right fabrics, knowing how to handle production and samples, contracts, etc. Learning the ins and outs of the manufacturing process was a big challenge for me. Keeping in mind that I majored in translation and that I worked at international sales, the only knowledge I had was what I learned about business at my current job. Everything was new but it was interesting and I was curious to learn and get better. Creating your own business alone means that you have to take care of everything (sales, online marketing, logistics, social media, website, production, designing, administrative work, and so on). It is all in you, and sometimes it is stressful to manage that plus your social and professional life if you have another job like me.
What would you say to new entrepreneurs that started around the same time as you or that are getting started now?
I would tell them that they have to be patient and to really assess if this is their passion or not. As much as we would want our business to succeed, if you are not seriously passionate about it you will not get through the hardships and lows. Only if you really are motivated to do it, you will succeed. So, believe in you and what you are doing, trust the process and everything will start taking shape. We are not alone in this journey as much as you might think. Maybe you are working alone from home getting everything started and you have no one to talk about it around you. It might feel lonely so you got to reach out to people, talk with other professionals in the business, go to events and fairs related to your business if you can, and make connections. If you get through this difficult start, believe you can do anything.
Samudra - making sustainability fun, colorful and empowering !