With fashion identified as one of the most polluting industries in the world, the slow fashion movement has rapidly gained popularity in recent years. Slow fashion aims to use environmentally friendly fabrics and dyes to make clothes last. In 2019, internet searches for ‘sustainable fashion’ were more than three times higher than in 2016. A 2019 McKinsey survey found that about 66% of consumers consider sustainability when purchasing a product. luxury.
Founded by Natalya Ishchenko and Eteri Saneblidze in Odessa, Ukraine, SEA ME Linen combines sustainability and minimalist design, bringing slow fashion to the bedding and sleepwear industries. Made from 100% pure certified European Oeko-tex linen – which means it is free of harmful chemicals – SEA ME bedding and pajama sets are designed to be lightweight, breathable and durable. The products are handcrafted from high quality linen which does not change color or shrink after washing. The company has grown 150 to 200% each year since its inception.
The production process is an integral part of the brand’s identity. All bedding and pajama sets are made in a small seaside studio in Odessa. The company does not keep any stock as this has been shown to negatively impact sustainability. All products are sewn to order. Plus, to ensure as little waste as possible, the tailors use a smart sewing technique that leaves almost no extra fabric behind. The few leftovers are sent to a local doll maker who uses the leftovers for doll clothes. The packaging is plastic free – just a linen bag and a care card. As a result, SEA ME is almost zero waste.
Currently, Ishchenko coordinates production and logistics, visual side and customer service. Saneblidze is in charge of accounting, general concept, positioning, brand identity and strategic planning. All the design, partnership and collaboration decisions they make together.
The co-founders started the company six years ago when “we realized we didn’t want to run through life anymore,” says Ishchenko, who held a senior position at a multinational company before SEA ME. Saneblidze adds, “Good food, good sleep and good company are actually much more satisfying than the number of dresses you have in your closet. “
Ishchenko thinks that starting your own business is like writing a book or making a movie. “Basically, it’s about making your own world and inviting others to join you. As for inspiration, she says, “I am inspired by people who dare to dream big, live big, give big and appreciate big.
She enjoys the responsibility, energy and effort required for an entrepreneurial journey. “Within the company, I can follow my own interests and, in fact, it makes the company more ‘human’,” says Ishchenko. For example, during Covid, she found herself communicating honestly with her customers. SEA ME struggled to fulfill orders as all products are made-to-order, but the co-founders needed to keep their team members safe. They found that most people readily expressed support for the start-up, were patient and understanding, and encouraged the co-founders to keep going.
Saneblidze has always felt inspired to start her own business. Rather than fulfilling her life purpose, she believes SEA ME contributes to her enthusiasm for problem solving. “Once I’m excited about an idea, I start making a plan for how to make it work, who needs it, why something I’m building is different from other things on the market,” she explains. .
“You don’t have to pursue your life’s goal,” Saneblidze told the young people. “Just seek that your daily life is filled with excitement. When your job brings you joy rather than a sense of sacrifice, it means you’ve come to the right place right now. Ishchenko advises young people not to be afraid of changes in today’s world, but rather to see them as opportunities. “Today we are lucky. We can pursue several career paths.