As a frequent traveler, Rosanne Hertogh noticed a marked gap in the ethical clothing market for clothes that were well made and versatile enough to travel the globe, transitioning from season to season with her. So, like the other amazing women entrepreneurs I've had the honor of interviewing, she decided to do something about it. Rosanne founded Sololu (formerly called WANDERWELL) with the vision of empowering women to feel confident and beautiful while they travel, in clothes that they could effortlessly pair together regardless of the season or country.
The Canada-based brand sells clothes that are ethically made in Bali, Indonesia using biodegradable fabrics when possible. Their designs are far from boring or "basic", which is more surprising for a "seasonless" brand. Rosanne has designed gorgeous patterns with a bohemian yet chic flair that will be perfect for use at home or abroad.
Sololu is currently raising funds via IndieGOGO to fund their newest collection and gain a wider audience. I'm so excited to give you an "insider's peek" into Rosanne's goals for Sololu and her hopes for the brand in the future:
What was your inspiration for starting Sololu? Do you have a background in ethical fashion or was this a new venture for you?
Ever since I was young I had a love for fashion and travel. I loved dressing my Barbie dolls just as much as I loved being outside exploring the area, cycling, ice skating or building forts. For a long time, I had this dream of starting my own fashion brand. After finishing two studies in the creative field (visual merchandising and all-round fashion styling), an emigration from the Netherlands to Canada and a four-month trip through Asia, I decided to go after that dream. I started a lifestyle brand with a focus on female travelers and women on the go, who want to look stylish and do good at the same time.
The first fairly traded products I started offering were all ethically made by artisans from hill tribe villages around the globe. By selling these products, my business was supporting the artisans and their families. At the same time, I wanted to inspire women to travel more and explore the beauty our world offers, as that’s what makes me feel most alive. The choice for being ethical was simple – I can’t imagine my clothing designs being made under terrible work conditions. I like to treat people the way I’d like to be treated and that’s why I found it important to have my clothing made in an ethical work environment.
The idea of designing and adding a clothing line came up when I was missing quality clothing that’s stylish, comfortable and affordable at the same time. I was missing clothing that lasts and that’s made of more natural fabrics, ideal for me and other women while on the go or traveling as well as better for the environment and our future generations. I decided to create seasonless, stylish pieces that include all those characteristics I was missing.
Can you explain the story behind the name?
I was reading about places in Guatemala and Sololá was one of these places. The name of the city got stuck in my head (I sort of really liked it), so I decided to look it up and I started changing letters – which lead to Sololu eventually. About two days later I had bought the domain name and was determined to change my business name to Sololu (it was previously named WANDERWELL).
What is your favorite piece of your first collection?
This is a tough question, as all the pieces are inspired by the clothing styles I always love to wear myself. If I have to choose one piece, I’d probably go for the wide leg pants with boho print. This is such a comfortable piece that you can dress up or down depending on the occasion and looks stylish at all times.
Why was versatility so important to you in designing this collection?
As a frequent traveler, packing light without having to sacrifice comfort and style is quite important. My goal was to create stylish wardrobe staples that make it easy for women to create outfits with they feel most confident in and that can be worn year-round, wherever they may be. With the 10 clothing designs from the collection, at least 24 different outfits can be created as the pieces can be mixed and matched together easily. This makes the collection ideal for traveling.
After your campaign ends, what's next for Sololu?
Once the campaign ends, the bulk production should be finished and on its way to me. I will be focusing on the fulfillment of the orders when the bulk has come in. After all orders have been shipped out I will start creating and adding new clothing designs that contribute to a better everyday life, whether at home or abroad.
I have a lot of ideas for Sololu and I’d love to add more collections, such as a swimwear or loungewear collection. It would be nice to become an inspiring go-to brand for women that travel on a regular basis or lead active lives.
What are a few fun facts that supporters might not know about you?
A few fun facts about me… I’ve auditioned for the Dutch version of American Idol and X-Factor when I was 16 (there was a period when I was determined to either become an actress or a singer). I’m a perfectionist, which sometimes leads to the point of annoying myself (and others) when I’m taking too much time to finish something. I love tea and I could drink liters of tea every day. I have a weakness for cats – especially little kittens.
*This interview is in partnership with Sololu. As always, all sponsored posts are authentic and hand selected by me. Thank you for supporting the brands that make Simply Liv & Co. possible! #sponsored*