Entrepreneurs talking business during the COVID-19 virus
About 1 years ago, I was searching for a sustainable black dress for a cocktail party at my previous company and I had such a hard time finding it! It almost felt impossible to make better decisions!
At that time sustainability wasnʼt yet THE trend in the fashion industry – which is one of the most polluting. However, the other two co-founders and I, saw an emerging consumer need, that is not expected to slow down.
Thatʼs how we started building Renoon, the universal portal that pools product availability from different websites, with the aim to let users personalize the experience according to their own sustainability values.
In a very short amount of time and with zero investments, we were able to validate our first prototype, which developed into an MVP, build the backend, acquire our first users and partner with big platforms like LUISAVIAROMA and The Next Closet. Last but not least, we were immediately recognized and taken by two global accelerator programs (Startupbootcamp is one of them).
What we are aiming to do with Renoon, being a data company, is accelerate the transition to sustainable fashion by allowing the industry and consumers to finally have a new way to discover each other.
I have definitely seen a growing appetite from all directions – from consumers, to the industry of fashion and the funding ecosystem – to view sustainability as a necessity and not a nice-to-have anymore.
Whatʼs interesting is that at Renoon we have always seen sustainability as a broader set of values and beliefs that we build around ourselves. Not only Covid-19, but all the recent events have shown us a definite shift towards a need from consumers to start making spending decisions that donʼt clash with these universe of values, whether they might be environmental protection, local production, small business support etc.
For this reason, our business, being entirely online, has only progressed faster towards the direction we were taking. We were actually able to sign our first big client, despite the outburst, with a new business stream we had just started experimenting before everything started.
These times for us have been a great way to catch up on a lot of things. And I am going to be honest – things have been happening a lot faster for us than they would have been otherwise, without having to move and travel so much. No need to waste so much time and resources into meetings that could have just been calls.
Also before the pandemic, the team was already used to working remotely. However, we expanded that as we managed to carry on internships with amazing talent from Canada and San Francisco for the first time. Probably we would not have thought this to be possible before.
For our startup, we see much more potential to engage customers, partners and users online.
I think there are also great opportunities for all startups to be more and more adaptive and flexible in the way of working. This situation sets a huge shift in the innovation possibilities and capabilities of startups in delivering future- proof solutions with a global workforce.
Never waste a good crisis 🙂
“We need to organise our work better ánd smarter” says Martine Meijburg. Meijburg founded Second Degree in 2013; the first LinkedIn marketing agency (worldwide). A success, as the agency became one of the fastest growing companies in the Netherlands (Silver FD Gazellen Award in 2016), servicing clients such as Philips, KLM and Microsoft.
Martine is an author, public speaker and was listed in The Next Women 100 in 2016, 2017 and 2018 and the Adformatie100 in 2017. She shares with us her experiences as an entrepreneur and member of The Next Women.
She got into the world of recruitment because she showed talent for it and acted on that: at TNW we love playing out your strengths. Now, with her own company and being a mother of two, Dayanara Vonk Ilaria reflects on her journey: “Leadership really is learning how you can influence yourself.”