What was the driving force behind starting your brand?
I spent 15 years working for large U.S. retailers to produce home goods in Asia and was disappointed that most only cared about low production costs rather than quality, comfort or sustainability.
Similarly, when I was shopping for my own home in Australia, I spent hours hunting for the perfect bedding and was so frustrated to find that the higher quality or more sustainable options were outrageously overpriced. So, I decided to build my own brand that would offer functional and comfortable bedding while also being earth-friendly.
With my knowledge and connections in the home textile space, I started testing prototypes for the world’s first bamboo lyocell fabric. It took a few years and many fails until I finally created the perfect combination of softness and durability for this innovative and earth-friendly fabric. I am so excited that we were able to finally develop the sheets of my dreams! I launched the company in Australia and then started seeing sales coming from North America, so I decided to move to Los Angeles to grow the company in the U.S. and globally.
What are the keys to taking a business to the next level?
It is important to determine that there really is a need for the products you are developing. You need to research your market well and run small tests before any mass production. Not only software products can have an MVP player in the space, physical products can too. Additionally, you can use customer feedback to quickly iterate your products to be better and better.
How did you make your first hire? What went into that decision-making process?
My first hire in Australia, Jess, came from a friend’s referral. She had just graduated but had already gained some marketing experience with other startups. She is a quick learner and has grown with the company. She is now the Head of PR and Marketing of our Australia branch.
Our first key person in the U.S. was Kat, who is my business partner and now our President. We found each other on AngelList! She was the co-founder of a DTC company in New York that was acquired in late 2017. She was looking to join another quick-growing and purpose-driven startup to scale to a new level, and I was looking for a strong partner that had a lot of experience in the U.S. DTC space.
All of our team members are our products’ biggest fans and are highly aligned with our brand values which are the first thing I look for when interviewing someone. The second most important trait is the “can learn and can do” attitude.
What are the three tools/platforms you can’t live without for your business?
Shopify, Slack & Asana. Our website is built on Shopify Plus. As an online business, this serves as our “storefront”. We can’t live without it for even five minutes!
With two offices across two continents, Los Angeles in the U.S and Melbourne in Australia, Slack & Asana are invaluable tools to help the two teams communicate and collaborate seamlessly on various projects.
We love Ettitude’s eco-friendly focus. What daily steps do you take to promote sustainability?
According to Drawdown research of 100 solutions to reverse global warming, reducing food waste is #3 and having a plant-rich diet is #4. I am therefore very careful with what I buy, cook and eat. I stopped eating meat four years ago. Same with my husband. There is also a worldwide water crisis right now which is why I advocate using bamboo as the alternative material to cotton as it uses much less water.
In my daily life, I also do as much as I can to save water such as using leftover water from cooking pasta to wash dishes and sharing the bathtub with my husband instead of using two loads of water.
These are all small and simple things that everyone can do. Collectively we will make a strong impact!
Learn more about Assembled Brands here!