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Maxime’s five most important lessons

/ Words: Melanie van Berkel

/ Category: About Teym

/ Published: December 2021

Founder Maxime’s five most important learned lessons

In 2015, Maxime decided to throw caution to the wind and started her own sustainable fashion label. Her fatigue with the polluting industry’s practices and her everlasting search for the right items were the reason behind the start of Teym. Running your own business isn’t a piece of cake, especially when you want to operate as sustainable as possible. By learning and doing she is still the owner of a successful and growing company. Curious to know how Maxime has managed to build her own company? In this blog Maxime will tell you more about the five most important lessons she has learned through the years while building Teym.

#1 You can never be a 100% sustainable

“The more I learn about sustainability, the more I realize that I will never be able to operate 100% perfect. Sustainability is such a complex term and there are so many elements involved to reach full sustainability. Nowadays, everyone claims to be sustainable and every brand has a conscious collection. But producing more clothing  isn’t sustainable at all. A new garment means the production of more materials, usage of natural resources and inevitably more waste in the end. Therefore, it’s important to stick to your own values. I started realizing more and more that producing high quality apparel that’s timeless in design, is the best sustainable vision I could have. Quality is the best marketing, because the quality of a product makes customers return. A customer once said: “I bought a parka in the first year and it still looks beautiful in year 6.” These are the people who will come back and buy another item.”

#2 Take your time

“Something I’ve learned over the years is that it’s important to avoid making hasty decisions. Trust your own feelings and take your time to make considerate choices. Keep in mind what it is that you really want, instead of focussing on growth only. I choose to build Teym without the use of investors, so I can work independently. When you choose to work with investors, you also have to keep the investor’s opinion in mind and I wanted to follow my own path. This meant I had to spend my money wisely and didn’t have a huge investors budget at the beginning. I started to build my brand slowly without changing its slow fashion business model and it has paid off. Teym is still growing every day.”

#3 Build a community with like-minded people

“It is important to gather people to work with who have the same mindset. When you don’t do this, you will almost immediately get stuck. Therefore, I build strong relationships with factories, photographers and like-minded brands. If a partnership doesn’t feel good, I don’t continue it. For example, a manufacturer who puts you last on his priority list from the beginning and doesn’t speak the same language as you is a red flag for me. It has to be a pleasant collaboration for both parties. The manufacturer with whom we produce our Merino sweaters was hesitant at first, because we weren’t a renowned brand. We discussed our goals and expectations and decided to work together, the rest is history. We’ve already produced numerous rounds of productions together since the sweater’s introduction in 2017. By maintaining good and personal contact, we are able to produce smaller productions as a small sustainable company.”

#4 Ask help, you can’t do everything on your own

“Back in 2015, I started developing The Parka on my own while sitting on the kitchen floor. I’m a designer with working experience at a big fashion label, but running your own label is so much more than designing clothes. You also have to deal with marketing, sales, customer care, logistics, warehousing, finance and so on. At Teym I try to do as many things by myself or at least in-house, but we learned to ask for help at the right moment to keep the company growing. After working in our pop-up shop all day and packing orders in the evenings seven days a week for 3 months in a row, I realized that working all the time is not a healthy and sustainable way of living. Ever since, I reach out for help sooner to keep the workload manageable.”

#5 Take time to reflect on your actions

“Taking time to really reflect on your actions can be tough. Especially when you’ve spent ages developing something new. When it doesn’t turn out as you expected, you have to accept your loss. Don’t hold onto something that isn’t going to work. I, for instance, once ordered silver packaging to enhance the Christmas spirit. I thought they looked fun, especially for Christmas. However, they weren’t made of recycled materials so I got a lot of feedback from my customers. I asked myself why I chose the enveloppes in the first place and immediately decided to go back to the sustainable packaging we already had.”

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