HEMD gives the opportunity to enjoy shirts as a service. With flexibility in design and a weekly sales and collection service, HEMD creates a sustainable and socially responsible way to wear shirts while never ironing or even buying shirts.
How did you start?
We started with the idea in December 2017. The thing is, I really want to do business and prefer to set up something that makes a positive impact. With the study SBI we were very busy with circular economy and the like. For my internship I had to buy shirts at a given time and iron them, but I actually did not have the money to buy 5 shirts. In addition, I am not good at ironing and I did not really feel like it. That could be better, so we came up with the idea we’re working on now: Shirts as a service. In doing so, we started to develop and we see where it ends.
How did you experience the time as an entrepreneur so far?
It all takes quite a long time, it is really a rollercoaster. One week you are really hugely hyped and you have a lot of sense to go to work and sometimes it feels like you are going the wrong way.
What do you do to convert these setbacks?
Sometimes just take a break. Then you have to do something else that day and in the end you get positive energy again.
How much are you actually doing?
During my graduation a little less, about 10 hours a week but we try to sit there for 25 hours. I do this together with Daan Zaat, the co-founder of shirt.
How do you experience working together as a couple?
Daan and I work well together. We have already had a small business for this, which we stopped because it did not work out well. We both noticed that we wanted to continue together. What Daan has is that he is a bit more realistic, he looks critically at ideas and I am more of an optimist and that fills each other well.
Do you think it is good to have different characteristics within the same company?
Yes, very important. If I were in the same company twice, we would go on with an idea for too long because I am too positive. Daan sometimes pulls the brakes. Entrepreneurship is about kill your own darlings. At a certain point you have to stop and move in a different direction if the market does not want it, even if it is your own idea.
What would you like to ask a beginning entrepreneur?
Just start! You get the quickest feedback when you step on someone and submit the idea. It is difficult to go outside and getting feedback is a bit painful, but it helps the best.
How was it for you to go to the outside world with your idea?
In the beginning I was a bit afraid of that. We participated a few times in competitions and we were a bit hesitant to pitch our idea, but if a big company wanted to copy your idea, they would probably have done it already. Companies often do not have the time and space. Of course, you always have to be a little careful if you have something that can be patented but that was not the case with us. We just have to work as hard as possible and build a brand that recognizes people.
What do you think the danger is as a company if you no longer focus on sustainability?
The customers simply ask for it. We had that too, in the beginning we did not really mind in our branding. Then we occasionally received questions from FaceBook from someone who asked where our shirts come from and how they are produced. If you do not do it then you just miss the boat.
What is the reason you want together with Carbon Suckers?
That is very clear with us. We have the logistics from us to the customer and that is where we emit CO2 which we try to compensate. It is not convenient for us to set up a sustainable logistics system ourselves because it does not directly deliver value in our value proposition, but at the same time we want to be circular. That is why such a party as compensation is ideal to work with, so that we can focus purely on making our customer happy and at the same time getting our impact as low as possible.