Anyone who’s ever started a business from scratch will understand just how much time it demands - and I mean demands! You literally live and breathe your ideas, you think about them from the minute you wake up, in the shower, while you eat, during training, on the bike, in the pool, out running the streets and as you drift off to sleep.
It’s also super demanding on those closest to you. Ask any parent, child, partner or friend of a start up founder and they’ll all tell you straight - start-ups are not for the faint-hearted. In the early years you are always always ‘on’, always pitching, always talking about your product. But words will only take the conversation so far, which is why I never go anywhere without my fabric swatches. I know what you’re thinking, but it’s not as socially backward as it sounds.
Our start-up, Kusaga Athletic has developed four planet-friendly fabrics and those four little guys are my babies. I get about the same amount of sleep as I did with small children, worry as much, think of them and talk about them as much. So while normal people pull out their phone to show off the latest baby snaps, I reach into my bag and present my fabrics. Now I don’t presume everyone’s going to be interested but if the conversation is heading that way, I politely ask ‘would you like to meet our fabrics?’ Without exception, this raises a smile, people will usually put down their coffee (or beer) check their hands are clean (as they would if they were handed a baby) and prepare to look enthralled. What’s amazing is how genuinely impressed people are - especially by the hand feel.
There’s a bit of an expectation that earth-friendly products will be a bit, well, ‘earthy’. A bit rough around the edges and rough to touch. Not the case with our fabrics, especially the ECOLITE® and the ECOSOFT®. What’s also quite incredible is what people do with the swatches. I love to watch their reaction. This is typically how it plays out. They look, reach out, take from me, feel between their fingers and my favourite reaction - put it to their cheek and then smell it!
Over the past months both here in Australia and when we were living in the UK, those swatches have been pulled out and passed around hundreds of times. They’ve been touched and smelt by friends, family, business associates, investors, government grant approvers, athletes, fashionistas - even grandmothers and Uber drivers!
We are working day and night to launch our revolutionary range by the end of the year … but before that, we will be introducing The Greenest T-shirt on the Planet as a crowdfunded campaign on Kickstarter. Here’s the video if you’re interested in learning more and getting involved.
I’ll be writing about the trials and tribulations over the next few months - if I’m going to be on this start-up roller coaster I may as well take a few of you along with me for the ride!