This is a follow up story for DULO. If you're interested in reading how they got started, published about 4 years ago, check it out here.
Hello again! Remind us who you are and what business you started.
My name is Marin and I am the co-founder of DULO - the performance dress shirts maker, born out of Europe. Our flagship product is the first of its kind sustainable performance dress shirt. Those are easy to care and easy to wear dress shirts made from performance fabrics - they require no ironing, have a 4-way stretch for freedom of motion, they are machine-washable and antibacterial.
Tell us about what you’ve been up to! Has the business been growing?
Early on, we observed how wasteful and harmful for the environment the apparel industry can be and we decided that we don’t want to contribute to the problem. We spent months researching new fabrics and textile innovations, looking for an alternative to traditional performance fabrics. While on this journey, we discovered a 100% biodegradable performance fabric which met all our criteria for sustainability, durability, and quality. This became the material we decided to use for DULO 2.0.
Keep your head down and stay in your lane. Ignore what most people are saying and feel free to ignore the competition.
We managed to create the world’s first performance dress shirts made out of 100% biodegradable fabric. This innovative fabric is OEKO-TEX certified, and when discarded in landfills, it will biodegrade in 3-5 years, compared to decades with traditional performance fabrics, therefore greatly reducing the negative impact DULO shirts have on the environment.
In addition, we made sure to use only premium recycled threads for the stitching and buttons made of natural Corozo wood. To top it all off, we re-engineered our packaging, removing all plastic and making it out of recycled paper and two tiny magnets.
We decided to launch this new innovation through crowdfunding and the Kickstarter platform. I am happy to share that as of the time of writing this, our campaign is fully funded and is currently at 170%!
What have been your biggest lessons learned in the last year?
Almost every day you learn something new when building a business. This has been the case for us from day 1. One of the biggest lessons of the past 12 months has been the realization to seek external help.
Early on, we used to do most of the things ourselves and while the outcomes were satisfactory they always lacked the polished touch of a real pro. That’s why at the beginning of 2019 we decided to start working with freelancers and small agencies to help us grow the business. We’ve found that working with smaller and independent parties allows us to do more, faster. This is the approach we used to sell out of the original inventory, as well as the whole preparation and execution of our crowdfunding campaign.
What’s in the plans for the upcoming year, and the next 5 years?
In the next year, we are focusing first and foremost on the shipment of the first shirts from our new collection to our new crowdfunding supporters. After that, we are going to refocus on our own e-commerce channel - the weardulo.com website and start selling the new sustainable shirts.
To top it all off, we are exploring and prototyping some new products which we think are going to be a natural extension to our fan-favorite dress shirts.
Have you read any good books in the last year?
Actually, over the past year, I haven’t done much reading of books or listening to podcasts. We’ve been quite busy working on our new products as well as the crowdfunding campaign, and a rebranding for DULO.
Advice for other entrepreneurs who might be struggling to grow their business?
It may sound strange, but I believe that if you stick around long enough and don’t stop trying things, you will eventually figure out something that works and that will provide enough traction to get you going.
Keep your head down and stay in your lane. Ignore what most people are saying and feel free to ignore the competition. Focus on providing value and making a better version of what you already offer.
Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?
Not yet. We still prefer to work with smaller agencies and freelancers. We enjoy the flexibility this process allows us to have.
Where can we go to learn more?
The best place to learn about our new sustainable performance shirts is on our Kickstarter page.
Feel free to follow us on Instagram.
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