Against the tide: Kismet's sustainability vision
An Interview with Sylvia Daun
FOUNDER OF Kismet
Sylvia worked in corporate development for 20 years before she decided to follow her vision: She wanted to realise her own personal values professionally and founded her own fashion company without further ado. Her path was not always easy, but she managed to stay true to herself and her values despite adverse circumstances. In the meantime, her label Kismet has established on the market as one of the most popular brands, not only in greenyogashop‘s range. In our interview, Sylvia tells us how she made it to this point.
Dear Sylvia, you left your job in a big company to become an entrepreneur. How did you find the courage and strength to change your life like that?
Sylvia: It was quite a journey and it takes a lot of courage to overcome existential fears. I had felt for some time that I could no longer grow in my job personally and that I wanted to try out something new. At some point, the idea that fear would slow me down and that I would go on like this for another 20 years prevailed; this made me follow my conviction. Yoga and meditation helped me a lot.
What is it that drives you?
Sylvia: The desire to get things moving. It fulfils me to shape my own life and to follow my ideals without having to compromise.
What values are important to you and in what way do you live them?
Sylvia: Environmental protection has been an issue for me since childhood. My father has always been very conscious about it. I haven't driven my own car for 20 years – that's a challenge sometimes since I moved back to the German countryside from London. I rarely buy anything and if I do, I often spend more money on it. The advantage: More expensive, but great quality lasts longer! I've also been a vegetarian for 25 years. I have respect for everything and everyone that lives.
What challenges did you have to overcome on your way to becoming a fair fashion brand?
Sylvia: Many! In the beginning, as a no name brand and without a name in the industry, no one wanted to produce for Kismet. It took a lot of persistence on my part because the producers didn't take me seriously at first. Financing was also a huge challenge: after the first production, the money was gone and there was nothing left for marketing. So Kismet could only reach the awareness level necessary to become profitable at a snail's pace. I spent three years living at subsistence level on nothing but my savings and put every euro I earned into the company. Social media was also a bigger challenge! At the beginning, it was a closed book for me. There has been a high learning curve in the meantime. It's always very exciting for me to get to grips with new topics.
What challenges do you face every day to meet your demands for fairness and sustainability on the one hand and fashion-conscious clothing on the other?
Sylvia: The costs of sustainable production are higher for entrepreneurs. In contrast, the costs of environmental damage are unfortunately not priced for non-sustainably produced goods. The environmental damage that people produce and have already produced will be more expensive in the long run than all the measures that help to protect the environment and climate now. Years ago, during my travels, I saw how massively countries like India and Africa were affected - now we are feeling the changes more strongly as well. That's why sustainable production is the only way for me!
What are your goals and desires as an entrepreneur and what is your vision for a fulfilled life?
Sylvia: My goal is to create yoga wear that makes women feel comfortable – and beautiful! Yoga clothing that is developed and produced in a company with good and fair working conditions across countries. And in a company for whom holistic thinking without nationalities is perfectly natural. What a fulfilled life means to me: a free life where we are allowed to develop our abilities and contribute to the common good.
With Kismet Yoga style, label founder and yoga teacher Sylvia fulfilled two long-cherished wishes: to be able to live her ecological and human values in her professional life and to create casual, sustainable yoga wear that makes you feel good without having to compromise on fashion. Kismet yoga fashion is for all yogis and yoginis who think urban and contemporary and want to feel good around the clock. The label, based in Saarland, mainly uses natural raw materials such as Lenzing Modal and organic cotton as well as recycled polyester obtained from PET bottles.