1. Dear Katrin, dear Finn, I am very pleased to be able to introduce you and Narah Soleigh as part of our Female Founder Community. Please feel free to tell us a little about yourself and your company.

We are also very happy to be part of your Female Founder series - thank you very much. We founded our sustainable swimwear & fair fashion label Narah Soleigh in 2019. As you can already see, we have bikinis, swimsuits and women's clothing - everything a (fashion-conscious) woman's heart desires. When we founded our label in 2019, I personally found it extremely difficult to find sustainable fashion that I could identify with, that reflected the zeitgeist and didn't have an eco-touch. Labels from Australia, for example, are light years ahead of us. This has now improved and the selection is constantly increasing, but there is definitely still a lot of room for improvement.

What makes us unique? I think it's a combination of many things that make us the label we are. For example, we attach great importance to integrating sustainability and fair working conditions throughout our entire value chain and not just in individual aspects. This should actually be a given these days - but unfortunately it isn't. In my opinion, the most important thing is that the aesthetic component should not be neglected and that is what we particularly focus on: combining sustainability and aesthetics - trendy but timeless. We are happy to see that the Sustainable Fashion Movement is getting bigger and it is nice to see that many more people are now consuming more consciously, but we also want our fashion to reach women who may still be skeptical about the topic have an outdated image of sustainable fashion.

2. How is a new Narah Soleigh garment created and what is important to you?

To be honest, at the beginning of a new piece of clothing everything is still relatively chaotic. I have so many ideas floating around in my head - the challenge here is to organize all the ideas and put them on paper in a structured manner. Moodboards (ideas collages) are the best solution and my personal saviors. Here I can simply insert everything - colors, patterns, cuts, details etc.

I am a very visual person, which means it is important for me to collect my ideas together. Then everything takes more shape, the first sketches are drawn, details and color combinations are added, etc. One of the most difficult tasks is actually finding the right fabrics, as we have very high standards when it comes to quality. Unfortunately, the selection of sustainable materials is still comparatively limited. Around 70% of the clothing manufactured today consists largely of synthetic fibers aka plastic, which are made from coal, petroleum and natural gas and processed into fibers in a chemical process. The reason is, on the one hand, the low purchase price for the fabrics, and on the other hand, properties such as lightness, feel and elasticity but also no creasing and quick drying. People have gotten used to it and of course customers expect similar characteristics from sustainable fashion, which is often not so easy. Natural fibers have other characteristics that are in no way inferior to synthetic ones. Among other things, they are allergy-friendly, good for the skin, absorb moisture very well and are odorless. The topic is so complex that I could talk about it for hours, but let's leave that for another time. :)

When it comes to the development of new apparel and swimwear, we usually observe trends that prove their worth worldwide over long periods of time. I'm constantly collecting ideas and over time a more precise picture of a bikini or item of clothing forms. This process sometimes takes longer, sometimes shorter. But from the idea to delivery of the final product it can take a good 6-12 months, sometimes even longer. That's why we have to do a lot of forecasting, which is of course a challenge because you can never be sure what's going to happen next year. For this reason, it is even more important that the designs are timeless, but still trendy. And of course your own gut feeling also plays a big role. For next year we want to significantly expand our apparel collection, meaning you can look forward to airy summer dresses, blouses, trousers and tops. The bikini collection is now more or less fixed and all I can say is - we are in love! The designs & fabrics are a dream and we can't wait to launch them.

3. What has been your biggest hurdle so far during the founding and what has been your biggest success?

Phew, where should we even start? The biggest hurdle was probably the 100% self-financing of our company. Before Narah Soleigh, we were lucky enough to be able to work for global companies straight out of college (which we didn't enjoy and wasn't fulfilling). We quit in 2019, pooled all our savings, left security behind us and took full risk received. The biggest success was that it all paid off and it was worth pursuing your passion and listening to your gut feeling. Of course there were and are always hurdles, but you also learn to deal with them and let's be honest - if everything always went like clockwork, it would be boring, right? :)

4. You are not only co-founders in business but also partners in your private life. How do you structure your everyday life and how do you divide your tasks? Do you try to separate business and private life?

This is actually a question we get asked SOOOO often. For many, the idea of ​​working with your partner is unimaginable, but we couldn't be happier. I think it's impossible to separate business and private life when you live and work together - but that doesn't have to mean anything negative. I think that when you run your own company, the definition of work is different and you don't necessarily associate it with something “tedious”. We think it's nice to be able to share new ideas with each other, work on new projects and plan things together. Finn is largely responsible for the financial, operational and advertising aspects of Narah Soleigh (including social media), while I take care of the creative part, i.e. designs, product photography, photo shoots, PR, partnerships and logistics. It also happens very often that we step in for each other when the other doesn't have time.

5. Which three key learnings from your founding years would you like to pass on to other founders?

1.) No pain, no gain : The days and nights are extremely long, 9-5 used to be the case and, especially at the beginning of the company, you don't even begin to get back what you put in in terms of work. This is normal and you have to be prepared for it, but once the ball starts rolling and you celebrate your first mini-successes, the stress and grief are quickly forgotten. Trust the process & move on. Hurdles will always arise - even if you are already successful and established - but the art is to master them skillfully and leave them behind.

2.) Customer Centrality : Our customers are the heart of our brand, without them we wouldn't exist and we wouldn't have the opportunity to do other great things. It is therefore important to let customers participate in the company and to take them behind the scenes.

3.) Trust the process & push through : As already mentioned - hurdles will always arise, even if you are already successful & established. The trick is to master it skillfully and leave it behind. Self-doubt will always arise, it can sometimes become very emotional, but that is also part of the journey. That's how it is for everyone and if you have your vision in mind, stay true to yourself and always give 110%, everything else will take care of itself. All you need is a healthy dose of patience - sometimes more, sometimes less. In such moments it is also important to communicate with others and to accept advice and help. You quickly realize that you are not alone and that everyone has their own backpack full of worries and challenges. Talking about it usually works wonders.



If you would like to find out more about Katrin and Finn and Narah Soleigh, please take a look here:

To the website: www.narahsoleigh.com

To Instagram: @narah.soleigh