with Jasper Eales
CEO of Sealand Gear
"We are the makers or breakers of this world - there has never been a more important time to make environmentally responsible decisions."
What does Sealand Gear stand for?
Rooted in Cape Town's southern peninsula where mountains and ocean so vividly connect, Sealand was born with a conviction of keeping the environment front and centre alongside inspired functional designs and longevity. Smart material selection, compelling functionality and product durability are all palpable features of what we make.
Can you briefly introduce yourself and your role at Sealand Gear?
Jasper Eales, the imaginative mind behind the brand, drives the brand's focus to achieve refined, practical solutions, which are designed to last and have a neutral effect on the environment.
We know that your products are created through an upcycling process, including sourced materials such as hemp and organic cotton. Can you tell us more about it?
Our goal as a business is to make environmentally responsible decisions along our business journey. Initially beginning with a primary focus on upcycling material into new value bags and eco accessories, which are designed to last and stay away from landfill. We are now beginning to explore eco-friendly new fibre materials, which will be used in conjunction with the upcycled collection and slowly shape new stand alone collections.
What are the key features of the design of your brand?
Form follows function, combined with material selection and combinations determining the visual aesthetics of our products. Longevity of the product is always considered in the design process, putting a focus on durability. The individual uniqueness of each product that we produce is probably one of our key design features, and is the beauty and challenge of upcycling material.
What is the biggest challenge you have faced so far?
Keeping up with the demand for our product has been a challenge, as the nature of our production is not suited to large scale production. Every product is a one off, due to the upcycling of the various materials, which require individual hand selection and production.
What is your team's plan in 2017?
2017 is going to be a very exciting year for Sealand, we will be launching the brand in Europe in February at the ISPO Trade Fair in Munich. In conjunction with this one of our directors is relocating to Northern Spain to head up operations in Europe. This will also mark the launch of Sealandgear.eu whereby we will be able to offer our collections online to Europeans at a more affordable rate than shipping from South Africa. We also plan to have a few pop up stores in Europe during 2017.
Any advice to people who want to start their own business?
Make sure its something that you are passionate about, as in order for it to succeed you will be required to invest a lot of time and energy into. Make sure you truly believe in your business offering as this will help when sharing your story to others. Always consider the environment when analysing a new business opportunity, as its is becoming more and more important to make environmentally responsible business decisions.