Today, we’re excited to interview Simona Rimkiene, founder of notPERFECTLINEN. Starting on Etsy in 2014, Simona now makes over $200,000 a month selling sustainable products.
- Niche: Sustainable fashion
- Revenue: $200,000 a month
- Founder: 1
- Started: 2014
- Can you tell us about your business’s financial growth?
- How did the idea of starting a business as a family come about?
- How do you ensure your commitment to sustainability in your products and processes?
- How do you balance family relationships with professional responsibilities?
- What were the main milestones and challenges you faced as your business grew?
- How do you maintain quality and passion in your products?
- How does your business model impact the local community?
- How do you engage with your customers?
- What Advice Would You Give To Entrepreneurs Just Starting Out?
Can you tell us about your business’s financial growth?
Remembering the very beginning and the first steps we took together really brings back some memories!
Back then, my parents used to cut materials for napkins, pillowcases, and aprons while I packed the garments and sent them to our customers before heading off to work.
We started out by taking orders through the Etsy platform, and I even took the first photos myself!
As time went on, we started to notice more and more orders coming in, but it was tough to keep up with the demand. Eventually, we were able to hire our first employee after calculating our finances, and from there, we gradually started hiring more people.
We couldn’t hire everyone at once since we didn’t have that much money, but we hired one employee at a time every few months because we saw that purchases were growing and we needed extra hands to keep up.
It’s been quite a journey – we started with simple items, and now we have around 180 products to choose from!
We’ve been in business for almost 10 years now, and from the very beginning, we knew we wanted to make a positive impact on the environment by choosing the direction of slow fashion.
We’re so grateful to see more and more people choosing sustainability, and it’s all thanks to people that we keep moving forward!
How did the idea of starting a business as a family come about?
My mother started working with textiles when I was a baby. She is an engineer by profession but had lost herself in sewing, creating, and designing.
I have grown up among fabrics and patches, always feeling that wonderful smell of the brand-new fabric. It is the smell of my childhood!
Somehow, I decided for myself to have a serious profession. So, I finished law studies and worked as a consultant for nearly five years.
But I didn’t find myself in that profession. After returning home I helped my mother with her work. And one day I didn’t go to work…
So it happened that the whole family started working together! Now we are a small family of creative people who created ‘not PERFECT LINEN’ home full of creative mood and inbuilt positive energy. Our small family-owned activity is based on creating simple linen (flax) pieces.
If you love linen, linen loves you back. Linen is a travel saver while being breathable and highly absorbent. In addition, it is recyclable and biodegradable.
Though it might seem expensive at first sight, it saves you money as you need fewer clothes due to its strength and durability.
So that’s why we chose linen products. Starting a company takes a lot of courage, hard work, and dedication. It’s a rewarding journey full of challenges, but with perseverance and a positive mindset, anything is possible!
How do you ensure your commitment to sustainability in your products and processes?
Sustainability is a very important factor that determines what our future will be like, what kind of world our children and future generations will live in.
Sustainability determines not only what kind of environment we will continue to live in, but also what values will be important to people. At our company, we care about sustainability and we take steps to minimize our environmental impact.
We hardly use plastic and instead use carton tubes to roll up our materials. When we need to replenish our materials, we reuse the tubes and wrap new fabric around them.
We also like to reduce waste by giving fabric scraps to people who can create amazing things out of them, like wallets, shopping bags, and even clothes! We are proud @nplcares owners where we give a possibility for less privileged people to engage with sustainable fashion.
Plus, we try to minimize paper usage by not attaching paper invoices to parcels and instead offer to send them via email upon request. We pack products in 90% recyclable bags or cardboard boxes and use paper adhesive tape.
And if you ever need to return a product, you can use the same box or bag to send it back to us. We source the best European linen available. The material we use is OEKO – TEX® Standard 100 certified, and it is produced entirely in Europe from the fields to the fabric.
It also means that the linen fabric has been tested for harmful substances and was grown using fewer resources and energy. Our linen fabric manufacturer uses only green energy, which means all the power provided to the weaving, softening, and dyeing process is only from renewable resources.
We are aware of the environmental, social, cruelty to animals issues worldwide, and we assure that we manufacture with a conscience. We are focused on ensuring quality, promoting transparency, using sustainable practices and doing all this as ethical as possible.
We act with fairness and integrity while observing high standards of personal and business ethics, and we expect all our suppliers to conduct their business in the same manner.
To consider this, we select only such sourcing suppliers who meet our social and environmental criteria or have adopted sustainable practices.
How do you balance family relationships with professional responsibilities?
There is actually no balance between professional and personal life within our family. We talk about work during the holiday, family gatherings, or even on evening phone calls. Again, though, I see it as a strength, not a burden.
How else would you get up at night to help a customer to track the order? It really helps our business grow as we can develop new ideas.
As family members, we are not afraid to point out one’s weaknesses or directly ask for help if needed.
What were the main milestones and challenges you faced as your business grew?
All the stages took place in small steps, the very beginning took place at my home, my parents cut the materials, sewed garments, after that, I packed and sent them to the customers, seeing that there was a demand, we saw that we needed more hands, so the search for employees took place gradually, the seamstresses we found worked from the beginning at home, then we found premises, they were small, but it was enough for us at that time.
When sales increased, we noticed that I was not able to pack the garments, so we found an employee who ironed, packed and sent parcels, even wrote people’s addresses by hand.
This is how we grew in small steps, the premises increased, the number of employees increased. Eventually, we decided to create our own website, and my husband helped us build it last year.
The pandemic presented us with some challenges. When an employee got sick, the whole department had to isolate, and at one point, the shipping department had to be closed for a whole week. This was not easy, but we persevered.
Also, finding loyal employees who meet our standards has been a challenge, but we’re proud to say that we have zero employee turnover. We value our team and treat them like family.
We’re grateful for every single person who has contributed to our success, and we’re excited to see what the future holds.
How do you maintain quality and passion in your products?
We have high-quality standards, if a garment is missing a thread or has the wrong buttons, we won’t send it out. We want to make sure our customers are happy with their purchases, so we take the time to get things right.
We receive customer requests, with customizations, so we try to make as few mistakes as possible, because once it is made, we do it again, which costs a lot of staff time.
Some employees have been working since the opening of the company, our team is made up of some of the most skilled and dedicated individuals out there. They are passionate about their craft and are always eager to share their knowledge with new members of the team.
We believe that when you love what you do, it shows in your work. That’s why we put so much care and attention into every thread and stitch.
How does your business model impact the local community?
We keep our supply chain local in order to minimize our environmental footprint.
Our linen fabric manufacturer is based within 80 km from our studio, as long as the entire operation of designing, cutting, sewing, labelling, packing and shipping is done in exclusively in our studio.
It cuts out middlemen, significantly reduces transportation air miles, and helps us to monitor the entire process closely.
A part of our mission at Not Perfect Linen is giving back and exercising simple acts of kindness as much as possible; thus, we often take part in charity projects for our local community and try to support various causes worldwide.
We believe it is essential, especially in times like these, when many people are struggling both financially and mentally.
How do you engage with your customers?
We communicate to our lovely customers every day and it’s always a pleasure! We provide customized clothing services, so we make it a point to review each order and personally reach out to our customers to ensure that we can fulfill their unique requests.
We also love interacting with our followers on Instagram, answering their questions about what people are wearing, and giving honest and simple advice. We pride ourselves in getting to know our customers, even their measurements, and we are so grateful for the trust they have in us!
We’ve been receiving a lot of positive feedback lately, and it’s a testament to the quality of the service we provide. We’re thrilled to have such amazing customers, and we’re excited to see our community continue to grow!
What Advice Would You Give To Entrepreneurs Just Starting Out?
Starting a family business is a fantastic dream!
To make sure it becomes a reality, let’s start with a well-crafted business plan that outlines all the steps required to implement your idea.
This plan should include your future product or service, sales channels, expected customer segment, and the market share you aim to achieve.
The key to any successful business is building a happy and motivated team. When your employees are happy, they produce quality work that will amaze you!
And, of course, providing excellent customer service is crucial to your business’s success. Be sure to train your employees to be attentive and caring when serving your customers.
Where you can find out more?