ROUND + SQUARE is a conscious fashion brand powered by my values and vision to bring together style, substance, and sustainability in support of gender equality. DESIGNED WITH PASSION, DRIVEN BY VALUES is our Mission Statement! As a designer and entrepreneur, I question every step of the supply chain and look for modern and clean sustainable alternatives—so our customers have the guarantee of the best quality products, done under the highest ethical, environmental and social standards. It’s only natural that our hashtag is #IWEARCAUSEICARE. Our inaugural collection was inspired and designed in support of Equality Now’s work of advocating for women and girls around the world, which is why we donate 30% of our sales profits to the non-profit organization.
What motivated you to become an entrepreneur?
Fashion is one of the most polluting industries in the world. Most people in the industry—from high-end to mass-market—do not pay attention to whether or not their fashion practices are harming our planet, and they don’t care about the people in the process. I became fed up with the many cases of abuse that took place in the fashion industry, from workers to the models, and so on. In most cases, only the brands and factories get more money with complete disregard to the worker’s quality of life and the well-being of our planet. That's why I decided to start ROUND + SQUARE and have a conscious and sustainable lifestyle brand that supports the advocacy of women and girls around the world, since they are the ones that usually suffer the most in this equation. It’s all about the choices we make, and as a designer and entrepreneur, I chose to maintain high-quality products and work with factories that are socially conscious and sustainable every step of the way.
Is having your own business something you always wanted?
To have my own company and build a lifestyle brand has been my dream my whole life. The only reason why I didn’t dare to do it earlier was that I needed to find the right business angle and strategy. Even though I am an expert in concept and design, I still need to learn a lot about the business side. Without a proper investor, it’s tough to grow, which is why I'm looking for the right business partner and investor to push our brand forward. That way, I can focus on the creative aspect and develop new products. It’s a lot for one person to do both functions properly.
What were you doing before this? How did it prepare you for the entrepreneurial life?
I am a fashion designer with over with over twenty years of international experience in design and branding. Maintaining an influential, behind-the-scenes role throughout my career, I was able to create an extensive portfolio of suppliers, making it easy to pull off the creative and visual aspect of my brand. However, the business and entrepreneurial side has been a big learning curve for me. My career did not prepare me for that part at all. But thanks to the internet and globalization, I have access to a lot of blogs, business books, courses and tutorials that prepare me to become a better businesswoman.
Do you have a fixed work routine? Is it important to have one? Any tips for our readers?
My everyday routine varies since ROUND + SQUARE is also doing some consultancy work to guarantee steady cash flow. But I do believe that a healthy work routine is essential for the growth of any professional and company.
I start my mornings by expressing gratitude and with positive affirmations. Before anything else, I go on a hike with my dogs. During the path, I go over all obstacles in my mind and come up with new creative ideas for the business.
An organized, updated agenda and calendar, as well as my to-do lists and visual goal boards are essential to me, keeping me on track of my obligations and my future goals.
Because I am a very visual and sensitive person, it is crucial for my team and me to have a gorgeous office with a clean, organized set up and beautiful stationery. Fresh flowers and plants are a must. I believe that good energy makes you work more effectively.
On Sundays, I set up a to-do agenda for the week for both my team and me to keep everyone aligned and organized. My team is also very hands-on, organized and efficient. We learn from each other every day.
What are your short/long term goals?
We hope to get into the right retail stores across America very soon. Our goal is to find the right investor and business partner so that we can develop our 100% sustainable accessory line with a high-end approach and construction. We want to do that while keeping reasonable, consumer-friendly prices, so our customers do not have to make compromise quality and design.
Was it difficult to get capital/investors?
Actually, as of now, ROUND + SQUARE is entirely self-funded. I invested my savings and have been doing consultancy jobs in the industry to have a steady cash flow, so we can keep things running. So yes, it has been difficult to find investors since this is an entirely new territory for me, who comes from a design and creative background. We do want to grow on our own at first and figure things out before connecting with the right investors.