I love being a part of the Leaders In Heels community as it offers the ability to network and meet inspiring women worldwide. Sarvin operates her self-titled international sustainable luxury clothing brand from the UK. Leading up to International Women’s Day, I wanted to include her interview about starting a sustainable fashion brand as a source of inspiration to those who are looking to start their own company. Whether it be in the fashion, food and beverage or tech, I have come to realise that entrepreneurs all have the same struggles and doubts, but possess similar qualities to succeed.
Can you give a background on yourself and your business?
My name is Sarvin and I am the owner of Sarvin, which I launched three years ago in the UK. It started as a hobby, sketching in my flat while I worked a full-time job. I always loved dressing exclusively and the feeling of luxury fabric. I decided to work with a self-employed dressmaker, and once the garments were ready, I would upload a few images of myself wearing the samples either as a selfie in front of the mirror or attending various events. I still remember it as if it was yesterday when I received my first few orders via email and Instagram. It was at this moment that I realised that this is what I love doing. As a result, I decided to create a brand focused on sustainable fashion made from high-quality fabrics and distinct attention to details.
What is sustainable fashion to you and why is it important?
Sustainable fashion focuses on reducing textile waste and environmental depletion while increasing ethical treatment of workers; the goal is to slow down the global production and consumption process to form an industry that will be more sustainable in the long run.
At Sarvin, sustainability is the core of our business. We aim to increase the message behind sustainability by providing quality garments and using eco-friendly material.
In our latest collection, we have used ethically sourced, eco-friendly fabrics to create extraordinary garments. All manufacturing methods are sustainably based, with 75% in the UK supporting local artisans.
We keep our supply chain local to the fibre origin to minimise transportation through the production process.
“We aim to increase the message behind sustainability by providing quality garments and using eco-friendly material.”
Were you always interested in entrepreneurship?
Yes, I always loved working for myself. I knew it would not be an easy journey and I was aware I would not be earning a steady income. However, this was a path that I knew would make me incredibly happy and excited to wake up to every day. I grew up in a family where both of my parents were self-employed and from a very young age my Dad would take me to his company and teach me important matters about his business.
What are the three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?
- Patience – I have learned in the past three years that nothing comes easy. Nothing happens overnight and you have to stay on top of everything to make and see progress.
- Consistency & persistency – You have to stay consistent. Although the majority of time spent goes towards the business in the first couple of years, you’ll find that consistency and persistency pays off immensely.
- Faith – Never lose hope if you fall once or even a few times! There have been times in my business where I felt like I couldn’t do it anymore, but once I made it through the difficult times, I became much stronger.
What does a regular work week look like for you?
A regular day starts with exercise so I feel energetic all day. I work from home for a couple of hours and then head to my second part-time job in the afternoon.
I believe scheduling downtime is essential. In my spare time, you can find me experimenting with new recipes or hiking with my partner.
How was the process of gaining international popularity for you?
The entire process was very organic and selling from different marketplaces helped me gain exposure.
I honestly never had a feeling of giving up completely, but there were times I would think that it would be much easier if I had a 9 to 5 job and a steady income. After experiencing such thoughts though, I would remember why I started in the first place and think about where I am now. It would only provide me with the courage to move forward and not look back.
I remember the first time I got an international order. I turned around and said to my partner, “Can you believe that there is someone on the other side of the world that loves my design?”. He just smiled and said, “let’s work hard and turn that one into many more”.
“Can you believe that there is someone on the other side of the world that loves my design?”. He just smiled and said, “let’s work hard and turn that one into many more.”
What has been your biggest hurdle in starting a sustainable fashion brand?
Starting a sustainable fashion brand takes much longer than fast fashion garments; we take our supply chain process very seriously and test our garments many times before launching. Before creating a new line, we take action on a long-term strategy based on a sustainable environmental philosophy. We consider every aspect of our production process, from our handcrafted accessories to our finished garments. We make sure we are using quality sustainable materials and working with the right people. As a small business, this takes a lot of time and energy.
When you are starting a sustainable fashion brand with no background or knowledge in running a company, the lack of experience makes it much harder to find the right people to work with and that understand your vision. I have learned not to be too trusting with people you have just met and to be more diligent with background checks regarding their skills and reputation.
I think it is so important to monitor every aspect of your business and to often look from an outsider’s perspective to see what needs to be done to take your business to the next level.
What do you love most about your brand?
Focusing on quality rather than quantity. I don’t follow fast fashion and I do not follow trends. I love designing for women that love and appreciate the touch of luxury fabric and have a strong desire to look rare wherever she goes. I am also so excited that Sarvin will soon be launching our first ever print collection that is vegan, eco-friendly fabric.
By taking pride in being a sustainable-focused business, I am:
1. reducing waste by choosing the right manufacturer and fabric companies;
2. one of the first few independent sustainable luxury labels that use vegan fabrics in their garments;
3. increasing productivity and working with like-minded businesses;
4. “doing good” for the planet and creating quality garments over quantity;
5. spreading the message behind sustainability and caring about our planet’s future.
What is your advice to someone starting a sustainable fashion brand or business of their own?
Do thorough research in the months before launching your business. Take on internship roles for start-up companies because this will help you gain more experience and exposure in your field. If you feel like giving up, take a deep breath and remember why you started this journey. Take the time to celebrate how far you have come.
What do you love most about Leaders In Heels? Any last words for all the fellow inspiring female leaders reading this?
I personally love all the Leaders in Heels products, but my favourite has to be the Phenomenal Woman Planner. It helps me a lot with planning my daily tasks and keeping me on track with my schedules and appointments. What is great about this planner is that it gives you that kick every morning to make you feel like a phenomenal woman. For my fellow female leaders, you can do whatever you want in life as long as you work for it!
See Sarvin’s most recent collection for yourself at www.sarvin.eu.