This week we spoke to Sara, Co-founder of On Good Authority – a premium outdoor lifestyle brand with sustainability at its heart. In the middle of fundraising before Covid-19 struck, Sara spoke to us about how they have had to change their business plans and why shopping sustainably is more important than ever.
Our interview with Sara:
What does your company do?
On Good Authority is a premium outdoor lifestyle brand that merges contemporary styling with waterproof technology using recycled fabrics and non-toxic water repellency techniques. We bridge the gap between fashion and function in a truly conscious way.
Why did you set up this company?
We felt frustrated at the compromise between style and practically in women’s rainwear.
How did you get your first customer?
Like many startups, our first customer was a friend who experienced the same challenge and had been looking for a stylish waterproof for years.
We knew we were onto something when?
When we started speaking to our friends and wider circles. We realised it wasn’t just us that shared this frustration and with our relevant industry backgrounds it occurred to us that it was a problem we could actually solve.
Our business model:
We are primarily a D2C fashion brand supported by wholesale partnerships.
Our most effective marketing channel has been:
Speaking directly to our audience, whether that’s organically through our social media channels, at Pop-Up events or with carefully curated influencers with shared vision, style and values.
The biggest mistake that I’ve made is:
Maybe being a bit too conscientious and trademarking our name quite early on in the overall process to then re-brand and change our name!
We think that there’s growth in this sector because:
We’re at the forefront of an emerging global movement where consumers are demanding sustainable product and conscious lifestyles. It’s not a fad, it’s here to stay because we have to make fundamental changes in the way we live and consume if we are going to secure a future for our planet and the next generations.
Has Covid-19 had any impact on your fundraising plans? And if so, how are you adapting?
We were in the midst of fundraising when Covid-19 hit the UK. It soon became apparent that investors were unlikely to take risks on new business startups, as they may need to step in and financially support those already within their portfolio. So with this in mind, we decided to put our fundraising efforts on hold.
We are now taking the opportunity to hone our proposition even further and reframe our business plan so that we can relaunch in summer 2021 in tandem with the UK music festival season. We believe (hope) that by then the economy should have settled and people will be extremely keen to get outside and party come rain or shine!
How are you coping with lockdown? What is your strategy?
Right now, we are focusing on keeping engaged with our audience and using our platform to continue to raise awareness about the importance of shopping sustainably. Now more than ever, we are becoming aware of the importance of conscious living. From the way we eat, to how we travel and to how much clothing we consume. It feels like the perfect opportunity to continue to spread this message so that when we come out the other side, we carry forward these new learnt behaviours and consume more responsibly.
We are also keeping in regular contact with our family and friends including those that we have met along our start-up journey. It’s not an easy time but knowing that we are all in it together and that we can all play our part in supporting key workers by staying at home is what keeps us going. We are so grateful for modern technology allowing us to get creative with video calls and virtual house parties!
Is there anything your business is doing to help in your community or with the wider crisis?
We are using our social platform to share positive and motivational news to help spread a feeling of community. For every sale we make, we are donating £5 towards our nominated charity: RCN Foundation. This is to support the nurses who are so bravely working tirelessly on the front line supporting our nation through this very difficult time.
For more tips on dealing with the impacts of coronavirus, visit our Startup Survival Guide.