Diving in the Deep-end: Saving the Ocean with Sustainable Fashion
Written by: Mckenna Haz, Founder & CEO of Seaav
Looking back it’s hard not to question what on earth I was thinking. But, at the same time, diving into my entrepreneurial journey was the best decision I could have possibly made. Sometimes, you just have to take a leap of faith and trust the process.
Founding SEAAV has been the most fulfilling, frustrating, exciting, nerve wracking, soul building journey.
When I first started working on SEAAV my days were full, and I mean full. Waking up at 5 a.m. to go to an early morning lift, to then go to classes (where I was taking 6 a semester) to complete my Bachelor’s degree early. On top of this, I was travelling across the east-coast every weekend to play for my college’s NCAA Division 1 Rugby Team.
I put a lot of pressure on myself to perform not only as a scholar but as an athlete; and now a business owner.
I was a sophomore in college living in a dorm room with 6 other roommates, swimming around an industry of apparel giants, little experience, a student loan I was living off of, and an already extra full schedule. Let’s just say the odds were not in my favor of starting a successful business. I was a naïve 20 year old.
But, what I did have was my work ethic, inner belief in my mission and a solid support system of family and friends! I was going to do whatever it took to get my passion project off the ground.
I stayed on task and worked every minute I had free in the library on building my brand. I researched every possible business competition and grant I could apply for – with the goal of flipping the fashion industry into a more sustainable one, removing as much waste from the ocean as possible and creating a nationally known brand. It just clicked one day – this is what I want to do with my life. I got a little burst of serotonin and shivers went down my body – that is exactly what I want to do! SEAAV is a combination of everything I love; the ocean, activewear, and constant creation.
So, that’s what I did!
This sounds all too good to be true… well it kind of is! I got to the point of not having enough time in a day. My courses were progressing and I had internships. I was starting to mentally struggle.
Boom. COVID! Surprisingly enough, quarantine and classes from home meant more time to put into SEAAV and building an e-commerce store. This meant go time! While working from my bedroom – I was researching and networking, setting up zoom meetings with everyone and anyone.
I wasn’t just dipping my toes in the water. I had dove in head first – and designed and went into production with our first collection.
While at home in the middle of the pandemic, I built a team of over 200 ambassadors, participated in multiple business competitions, met with the buyers for multiple retailers across the US, and networked with new people almost every day. This past year has been all about learning and connecting with people in industry. I believe as an entrepreneur you’re constantly evolving at different parts in your job as you grow. Based on everyone I’ve talked to, an early-twenties naïve girl isn’t alone, everyone within entrepreneurship has taken a leap into the unknown.
The best advice I could give anyone starting a business is to find a mentor. I’ve had a lot of lighthouses help guide me on the way – through mentorship. I strongly believe every successful business owner should have at least one person that they can throw things by for advice. The second piece of advice is to never go off path from your mission.
Since SEAAV was founded it has taken on a life of its own – but from day one our ocean clean up missions have been top of mind. We’ve diverted over 100,000 plastic bottles from the ocean, we upcycle plastics into every garment, and we donate 1% of our profits to We The Reef.