“From Struggle to Success” The label of success
There are many struggles an entrepreneur can experience and one of the main is to find an investor. This is not only a hard job, but is as well tricky. Getting fresh money into the company, will allow the founders to achieve some sort of stability for a period of time, as an investment is an added resource. The tricky part is to find not any investor, but an investor with a background in the industry in which your startup is developing. Janis Leontidis , CEO and co-founder of Virus Clothing Company calls them “ Impact investors “.
1. What is your idea/ business about? How the idea was born?
My vision was to create the world’s first fully sustainable apparel only for boys. The initial idea was born when I met Doug Tomkins (the founder of Esprit and Northface) 15 years ago in Chile at his Park Pumalin. Then travelling in Bangladesh I saw the working conditions and the environmental damage, but still it was an idea to create a label only for boys. Two years ago I decided to realize the idea. The approach, is the complete opposite in the industry – the image and what the brand stands for was our focus and not so much the design. And of course the sustainability was a key focus for us. The today’s clothing industry the second dirtiest after the oil industry world wide.
2.Tell me about yourself and your team?
My background is originally not in fashion – I studied computer science. I was 17 when I founded my first company so you could consider myself as a serial founder and entrepreneur. We have an extraordinary team of people beginning with Oliviero Toscani (creator of the Benetton campaigns in the 80s and 90s) as a brand communicator, Pupi Solari and Davide Colzi as superior designers from Milano, Jana Hrvolova as an amazing talented production and fabric manager and our CFO Richard Grauel with super financial skills.
3. What are the main struggles that you have experienced?
The main struggle was and is still the investment part. We have a clear vision where we are heading and also about our products but from the investment point of view it’s very hard to find suitable investors. The so-called “impact investment” sector is still underdeveloped, especially for Start-ups in Switzerland.
4. How did you solve your problems?
Trying to get someone from the clothing industry as an investor who understands environmental and labour problems in the fashion industry and actively wants to tackle these problems.
5. If you had a chance what would you do in differently?
Nothing differently – you have to do mistakes to learn from them.
6. What was the best advice you got and what was the worst?
I have been lucky that I could count on my gut feeling about advices in my life so far. Form the newest one – Oliviero told me: “Hear carefully what the marketing people say and then do the opposite”
7. What will be your advice to the other entrepreneurs
Be yourself and never give up if you are really convinced about your idea.
If you want to learn more about the company, you are more than welcome to contact them at virus-clothing.com
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July 22, 2016