Kelemen Kinga started Woollymania from a need of her little girl to whom she was sewing clothes from old sweaters she no longer wore. Always close to the upcycling concept, Kinga tried every time to reinvent objects which lost their original usefulness. She is guided by the three R – reduce, reuse and recycle, and every action is done through these concepts. Being a fan of second-hand stores, the idea of reusing textile materials came naturally when she started to create Woollymania. The Noi Antreprenori program came at the perfect time for Kinga – she receives support for her business after she had participated in a business plan competition, where she pitched her idea to a jury. Kinga is one of the 38 entrepreneurs who were selected to receive a 30.000 or 40.000 euros funding. The Woollymania project is based on the most responsible way to reuse existing textile products, giving an alternative to mothers who want qualitative products but can not afford them. We have talked to Kelemen Kinga about recycling and reusable materials, fast fashion and the business model of Wollymania.
C.F: Your business is about recycling and reusable materials. What does slow fashion mean and why this initiative can reduce carbon dioxide?
K.K: In the last decades, the textile industry has grown globally and contributed to environmental pollution. The synthetic materials are created through polluting procedures, as it is the polyester, for example. The cotton is used also at a large scale even if it is a plant that harms the earth. There are many examples attesting that the fashion industry is among the first industries contributing to climate change. Choosing natural materials (wool, cashmere, silk) and reusing existing materials makes my business environmentally-friendly. My clients are eco-aware and do not want to leave a large carbon footprint on the environment.
Through Woollymania you are offering an alternative to mothers who can not afford clothes from luxury brands, but want qualitative products for their children. How do you plan to educate other public categories to become more responsible with the environment?
A mother chooses woolly clothes because this material has several advantages – it helps your skin breathe, balances the body temperature, takes away unpleasant smells. It is a conscious choice because of the price of Nordic luxury brands. There are mothers who want to enjoy the functionality of these clothes and accept recycled materials for a lower price. I never planned to educate mothers who do not know about the benefits of wool or the upcycling. I will communicate on my social media platform about these things, but the clients I will find will be from those who hate the malls and the fast fashion stores.
After all, Woollymania is an alternative for consumerism and fast fashion. Do you plan to integrate into your marketing strategy an educational component about the impact this industry creates on the environment?
I plan a DIY blog – children clothes from recycled material. I created a Facebook group where I gathered a small community of creative mums. If it will have an educational component, it will be something do-it-yourself. Is important what each of us can do, what decisions do we choose. We can not influence the big players in the industry.
Which is the business model of Woollymania?
From the beginning, I wanted to create a tailor shop and a creative club with different activities. At the moment, the tailoring functions during the day and we host workshops in the evenings and weekends – different creative activities which will involve both employees and collaborators of Woollymania.
Creating a business means also creating new jobs. What is the profile of Woollymania employee?
For me is important to create a work environment where my employees can have a flexible program, negotiated according to their needs and their family program. I have two employees who make a team with six collaborators who have different responsibilities that can be done remotely: copywriting, client service, marketing, sales. Everyone works part-time with a flexible program because I know how hard it is for a mum to combine the professional part with the personal one. I plan to build a team where everybody knows her role and responsibilities well and can also be creative and fulfilled.