What inspired you to start your business?
I had recently moved to a new country and was in the process of decorating my new home. I was frustrated that I couldn’t find any bedding that was of hotel quality while also being sustainable and that did not cost a fortune. It was impossible! My background in logistics and supply-chain highlighted to me how problematic and unsustainable much of the textile industry is, so I set about finding a solution that would marry comfort with sustainability in equal measure. I partnered with a textile university in Shanghai to create the world’s first lyocell made from 100% organic bamboo and Ettitude was born.
What advice would you give to other women entrepreneurs?
We know that female-led start-ups have a more difficult time getting their fair share of VC funding. But rather than looking at this position as a detriment, I see being a female founder as an incredible attribute, particularly if you’ve started a brand or created a product that you yourself want to use or be a part of. If you are your customer you will know your customer and your brand better than anybody. From a more practical perspective, look at communities you can join, women’s only mentorships or career groups are an incredible resource for growth and networking. Also, start-up accelerators can not only provide the initial investment required to get a business going, but also provide invaluable networking and training opportunities. Find the gap and step into it.
What three traits define you?
Tenacity, empathy and enthusiasm.
What do you see as the coolest or most important trend in your industry?
The push towards smarter textiles that are both sustainable and responsive to the needs of the user. This is something Ettitude has really pioneered with its bamboo lyocell, which requires about 1/10 of the water to produce than cotton. Also, the growth of direct-to-consumer brands that cut out the middle man have seen so many exciting, responsible and interesting businesses gain traction. Consumers are more empowered than ever to ‘vote’ with their wallets.
As a business owner, what keeps you up at night?
There are so many things to consider as a business owner, it’s really important to separate the really important from the not-so important. I always want to keep pushing Ettitude forward, to innovate and continue to seek out ways of educating the consumer on the many ways they can reduce their environmental impact. Equally, my staff are very important to me – ensuring they are supported and growing in their roles is a big priority for me. But I try to carve out time to relax, too. A responsible boss is someone who looks after themselves, too, and a good night’s sleep is absolutely everything!
What are the biggest obstacles you see for young female entrepreneurs?
Knowing their value, speaking up and getting heard. These are easier said than done! Acquiring funding is a major obstacle. According to a report by Crunchbase, in 2014, global dollar volume for start-ups with a solo female founder (or at least one female founder) was 10%. So far in 2019, despite more deals and available dollars than ever before, the share of cash going to those same groups is 14%. It’s improving, but not nearly fast enough. We need to keep pushing to get the support needed to get ideas off the ground.
What are you reading or listening to now?
I am listening to Sarah Holloway’s Seize the Yay podcast and Clare Press’s Wardrobe Crisis podcast. I also love reading The Good Trade daily alongside my morning dose of the news. The two provide a nice balance and helps to prepare me for the day ahead!
What’s the best way to start your day?
In ettitude sheets of course! I love to set my alarm 5-10 mins earlier than I need to just so I can lie in bed for a bit longer and mentally prepare myself for the day ahead. Luckily in LA the sun is almost always out, so I open the blinds and have a big glass of water. If I have time, a brisk walk always gets my energy levels up too.
Fill in the blank:
When I face a challenge, I... seek out guidance and remember my values.
If I could go back in time, I would tell myself… don’t listen to everybody!
The one thing I couldn’t live without is… a good night’s sleep.
By this time next year, I will be… happy, learning and growing ettitude to new heights.
To get my creative juices flowing, I …spend the day gathering inspiration and then turn everything off to let myself synthesize all the ideas!
The best thing that happened to me last week was… signing our contract with 1% For the Planet!
Ettitude is a sustainability-focused lifestyle brand offering luxurious modern bedding and sleepwear, made from the world’s first 100% organic bamboo fabrics. With the mission to make the world’s most comfortable bedding, we have created a whole new category of revolutionary fabrics that are the perfect balance of soft, breathable, and environmentally-friendly.