Have you heard of a cool and fashionable ethical kids clothing brand called Olive & Splash? Well, if not, this is your chance! Read my exclusive interview with the CEO and Founder: Melanie L. Wong and visit www.oliveandsplash.com to check out all their beautiful collection pieces that your little ones will want to wear and rock everyday.
"It’s important to provide environmentally friendly products because our world needs environmentally friendly products and conscious sourcing more than any other time in human history." - Melanie L. Wong
Tell us a little bit about yourself?
Well, I am the owner of Olive + Splash children’s clothing, which I have been working on for the past year and a half and launched December 1st, 2016. I am passionate about fashion and the environment, which helped shape the company’s culture including the bamboo textiles we use to the foundation we proudly support, The David Suzuki Foundation.
When I am not working on Olive + Splash, which is very seldom, I work on Babes in Business; a women’s networking group I co-founded in the Niagara region with Beth Loewen, Betty Loo Photography. We are a group of young female entrepreneurs who are looking to empower and connect with like-minded individuals with a focus on growing our businesses. This summer we will be granting a female high-school student with a bursary to go forth with her business idea, which is really exciting for us!
Photo Credit: Melanie L. Wong (Founder of Olive & Splash)
What gave you the inspiration to start a children clothing line?
I have an adorable little nephew whom I shop for quite a bit. It was difficult to find clothes with an urban style, so I started researching textiles and patterns, I took some sewing classes and workshops and one thing led to another and it turned into Olive + Splash. It was definitely my nephew who inspired me and continues to everyday.
Why the name Olive & Splash?
I get asked this often. ‘Olive’ describes the natural component and ‘Splash’ is a fun action word that describes the style. It worked.
The clothing and materials sold by Olive & Splash are ethically sourced & handmade in Canada. As a Canadian, how important was that?
We have a great line of bamboo clothes that are made in Canada, it is important to work with Canadians for so many reasons, but specifically we are keeping our money in our economy, it reduces our carbon footprint with less transportation costs and when you purchase local you’re helping out a family business. Those were enough reasons for me to make our bamboo clothes at home.
The collection pieces are made with eco-friendly bamboo fabrics, why did you specifically choose to work with bamboo?
Bamboo has so many personal and environmental benefits and the texture itself is comparable to cashmere, it is so soft. Bamboo has built-in temperature controls, keeping you warm in the cooler weather and cooler in the warmer weather. It is hypoallergenic, it’s a natural UV protectant, it’s breathable, antibacterial, and biodegradable and contains no harmful chemicals. Those are some of the reasons we love using bamboo in our clothes.
Photo Credit: www.oliveandsplash.com
Photo Credit: www.oliveandsplash.com
How important it is to provide environmental friendly products to your customers?
It’s important to provide environmentally friendly products because our world needs environmentally friendly products and conscious sourcing more than any other time in human history. Our company works to be a leader in this challenge and brings only quality clothing to its consumers. Together, we truly can make this world a better place.
Were you always interested in sustainability?
Always, I grew up in a family that has always been environmentally conscious and our parents educated us on the benefits of being green at a young age, when you teach them young it really sticks.
How involve are you in the day to day operations at Olive & Splash?
Very involved, I run the daily operations from Monday to Sunday, it never stops but I am very passionate about what I do and for that reason I never want it to stop.
What's been a specific challenge since you've started your business? How did you overcome it?
Well there have definitely been more than one. I found daily accounting to be a little bit of a challenge, but thankfully I have Babes in Business to reach out too and I was able to sort my issues immediately with someone else that had a similar issue. It’s important to have a network of people to reach out too and work with in similar businesses.
What would you say, is the most rewarding part of your entrepreneurial journey so far?
Do I have to pick just one?
It is super rewarding to see the pictures posted of my happy customers. I get photos and kind emails all the time telling me how much they love the product, it really melts my heart and every day I work on my dream. It is completely worth it for that feedback alone and we have also been invited to walk in the 2017 Vancouver kids Fashion week, which is very humbling.
How do you maintain a work/life balance?
I’m not sure I do. I really have to set time aside to do something for myself or family. When I do manage to pull myself away from the office I love to travel, watch and play sports and spend time with family and friends.
In your opinion, what is the most significant barrier to women’s leadership in 2017?
I don’t see too many barriers to women’s leadership, I participate in an industry where women are the leaders. I believe if we work together to empower one another and persevere through obstacles we can and will achieve anything.
What advice would you give to like-minded entrepreneurs, who are just starting out in the industry?
Advice I have given to others that have approached me with their obstacles is don’t get discouraged or give up. I know it sounds cliché, but it’s the truth.
Where can customers purchase your products?
We travel around southern Ontario at different vendor shows, which are always updated on our social media. The best place to purchase the clothes is online at oliveandsplash.com
You can keep up with Olive & Splash on their different social media platforms:
Pinterest: Olive + Splash
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