Founder of VANILLA SAND
Years in Business: Almost 2 years. On my birthday 6th of July, I was launching my very first website.
Years Surfing: I started surfing 2015 when I moved to Lisbon for 2 years. Since then irregular, but if I am at a good (warm) place to surf, almost daily :).
What inspired you to start your business? I was inspired by the beauty of nature of Portugal and by the need to protect it due to all the plastic waste in and ashore the oceans. Additionally, my studies about sustainable fashion gave me more knowledge and inspiration to let me change the marketplace.
What is Vanilla Sand’s mission? We want to give customers the opportunity to make a change with their purchase power. With one purchase of a bikini, they save 50g of plastic and plant a tree in the Amazonas. Also, they support local factories and people. We want to build a network of like-minded ocean-friendly people.
What are some challenges you have overcome in starting this business? As much as it is fulfilling to share a sustainable vision within the community, it challenges you financially and operative to make it happen. As young entrepreneur, you learn to set business standards, to learn from mistakes and be always ready to adapt to new upcoming occurrences.
In what ways are you striving to be a more ocean-friendly company? We recycle and regenerate ocean plastic that saves marine life and fossil fuels. Also, we do color without any toxins which could emit to our oceans.
What are your main obstacles in running an ocean-friendly company? We try to continuously go with the latest research & developments to revolutionize ocean-friendly swimwear and to inspire others. Research is rare and to change the supply chain can be costly. Nevertheless we try to our best to keep ahead for our community.
What have been the most successful/rewarding aspects of your business (maybe a certain item or initiative)? We got certified by GOTS and Fairtrade for our sustainable supply chain. To be honest, it is most rewarding to get daily feedback of our same-minded ocean-friendly community.
What is your big vision for the future? Our big vision is that sustainable, ocean-friendly and fair-trade, fashion takes over the fast-fashion market share. Local and small brands arise and thrive while they are supporting those values. For our oceans specifically, I hope that we save the oceans to ensure safety for all of the species that live within it.