Tunnel vision should be avoided

AIMI: Earth Collection sustainable fashion with colorful impact in a cool design

Please introduce yourself and the startup AIMI to our readers!

Why is there actually no sustainable fashion suitable for streetwear? We are Karin and Roland from AIMI and we want to change that with our EARTH COLLECTION! It’s “impact fashion” that’s sustainable and doesn’t have to be without a colorful and cool design!

Why did you decide to start a business?

We could now tell the standard marketing story here: We were looking for a product that didn’t exist on the market and so we had to develop it ourselves… But this is the case for very few start-ups. On the contrary, most founders, like us, already have a strong motivation in their youth and feel rather limited by collectivism and rigid rules. We had the idea of ​​creating something very early on.

A chain of life experiences and impressions was the initial spark, among other things, at a fabric market hidden in the depths of Tokyo, when we discovered the impressive Japanese fabric ‘Seigaiha’ there. At that time, we lived in Shanghai and not only traveled through the Middle Kingdom, but also in a mysterious and futuristic Japan. After all, it is the sum of all experiences that made us found AIMI: our sensory impressions in faraway East Asia combined with inspiring moments in Tokyo and our love for Japan and Asia.

What is the vision behind AIMI?

At the very beginning there was the urge to process all our experiences and ideas in a creative phase and give them shape. We started with bags and accessories – always with the aim of creating unique companions with an unmistakable signature. Sustainable backpacks, beanies and sweatshirt styles are now being added to the ‘Earth Collection’ to further focus on environmental issues and sustainable consumption. As a start-up, we are of course constantly developing and this is how our vision has been refined: we not only want to enrich ourselves creatively, but also to contribute step by step to changing the industry of fashion and make it more sustainable. We want to create fashion that makes a difference, that makes you think and arouses desire – to own this unique piece and want to wear it for a long time.

From the idea to the start, what have been the biggest challenges so far and how have you financed yourself?

The biggest challenge is always financing the collection. We are infinitely creative, but we need to implement this on a solid and affordable basis. We do this using the bootstrap. This means that we completely renounce external financing, which is certainly the supreme discipline among the types of financing. This is of course an extreme challenge, since we also serve trade, for example, and sometimes have to pay several months in advance.

On the other hand, you learn very quickly to manage the available capital efficiently and this also forces you to innovate. For example, we recently launched crowdfunding at Startnext, intended to amortize part of the funding for our new “Earth Collection”. Without this support, we would not be able to implement the collection in this variety, because sustainable and certified materials and suppliers are simply more expensive than conventional ones.

Who is AIMI’s target group?

We want to create fashion that has a positive impact on people and the environment and is in no way inferior to conventional fashion in terms of design and aesthetics. The most important goal is therefore that our customers can completely identify with our collection because it is versatile, that they feel comfortable with it and because it represents your values. Age plays a secondary role here, it is mainly about the mood of the customers and the love for aesthetic and fresh design.

What is special? What are the advantages? What sets you apart from other providers?

We make fashion an impact and we address people who consume in a sustainable way and who do not want to do without a modern and fresh design. The most important “impact” for us is the shift in thinking from fast to slow mode. The second important “impact” is circularity, ie the use of recyclable materials. This means that products circulate in cycles and something new is always created from them, so that no new textile waste enters the environmental cycle.

In order to combine these two important impacts, we create durable, high-quality products that can be worn in many situations and 365. We focus on subtle design accents, work with sustainable alternatives in development, and top it all off with harmonious colors to create a special room.

AIMI, where are you going? Where do you see yourself in five years?

We strive to take the path of a holistic business based on the following 3 pillars:

Value-driven: how do we do the right thing?

Impact-oriented: what influence do we have and how do we manage it responsibly?

Focused on excellence: how do we improve in what we do?

With these guiding principles, we want to become an established player so that we can implement our vision to change the fashion industry in the long term.

Finally: What 3 pieces of advice would you give to future founders?

Improve iteratively: Avoid tunnel vision, which involves contacting customers as soon as possible and incorporating their feedback into products, because no one is perfect from the start.

Make an Appearance: Always keep your eyes and ears open and connect with people, not only digitally, but also in direct conversations. Because most people like to see who’s behind a brand.

Last but not least, vastly underrated but one of the most important things: lots of stamina! There will be deep valleys, but if you are fully convinced of your idea and show a high level of perseverance, you will always find your way to the top.

We would like to thank Karin and Roland Huber for the interview

Statements by author and interview partner do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editors and publisher

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