It’s time to see who is who behind the Feelwear brand.
You might think that the founders are some young fashion designers but this is not the case here. Our co-founders didn’t take the usual road to fashion with obtaining a fashion design degree and doing work experience at a well-established fashion house, followed by launching their own brand.
Their background is far more interesting: one of them has extensive experience in developing financial products in various markets and directing banking functions and the other has been working in finance, accounting and auditing sector.
But how did they end up creating a fashion brand? Let’s hear from them:
Who are you?
Riin: “I currently work from home and much of my attention goes to my first child Mattias, who was born earlier this year. My background is in finance, accounting and auditing. I have worked for one of the biggest auditing firms in Estonia as well as an internal auditor for public sector. This has given me a quite a good understanding on how to run an efficient business. I have however always been interested in the concepts of quality fabrics and slow fashion, hence the desire to dabble in creating our own brand. Here at Feelwear I am mainly responsible for product development, also dealing with manufacturing and partner liaison. As I have a good understanding of accounting, then I’m also the one keeping an eye on our books :)”
Mihkel: “My day job is working as the COO for a leading Nordic cross-border peer-to-peer lending platform. I have also worked in the banking sector where I was responsible for retail banking, developed business processes for 6 countries and also held a position of product manager for the new banking software. The latter allowed me to work closely with designers and thought me how to take design into account in creating new products and services. At Feelwear my tasks mainly include setting up (sales) processes, web-page, looking over the marketing activities, participating in product development and supporting Riin on various other topics. Riin is responsible for the creative work and I would definitely say that Riin is heart of the brand.”
You both seem to have quite a busy life? How do you manage?
Mihkel: “I see a good synergy between my activities. I’m really passionate about tech and innovation, also love working for finance sector so this is something I will continue doing. But I also saw that there was something missing. Building this amazing brand fills the cap and that’s why I’m spending most of my spare time working on Feelwear. It’s more about how you focus your time and prioritize your work and I believe that good time management allows me to work with several projects at a time. I think it’s becoming more and more common for people to pursue several goals, working from project to project and focusing on topics they are strong at. However, I also believe that the more topics you are competent at the better. For example, in addition to strong management or sales skills, it’s good to know the principles of design thinking in order to innovate, build business processes and so on. This also means continuously improving yourself as the roles and tasks are changing also. No wonder that more and more people are working remotely from all over the world, spending their time on various topics."
Riin: “I love fashion. I have been following fashion trends ever since I was a little girl. Even though my career has taken me to another sector, I have kept fashion close to my heart. That’s why it’s not hard to find time for building Feelwear. I dedicate all my spare time - apart from my family - to Feelwear. It’s not only about producing stylish clothes that people love but also about the people with whom you can work together and most importantly about clients who keep giving us feedback and saying how much they love your work”.
Mihkel: “We also have a really amazing team supporting us, so this makes things also easier. When you are surrounded with passionate people on a daily basis, you will also get an extra boost yourself.”
Riin: “I would also add that being active is also a part of Feelwear brand. We are designing clothes for active people - or more precisely for urban professionals”
Why did you start with Feelwear?
Riin: “Well I had this idea in my mind for quite a long time. As I was working in the office environment, then I always had a problem with what to wear as the weather here in the Nordics can get quite cold during the winter, while the summer can be unpredictable too. Working as an auditor you also have a quite a strict dress code, for example monochromatic colours are preferred, usually the style is modest and minimalist and obviously no bling is allowed. So you just can’t wear everything and therefore I was often feeling cold. When looking around I could not find a suitable clothing which would keep me warm but also fit into office environment and have minimalistic design at the same time. Yes, I could’ve bought an underlayer or some warm underwear but this did not work as a stand-alone clothing. So it was in early 2016 when we decided that we need to fill the cap.
Mihkel: “I like to think of us as start-up. As Riin already said then the idea started from a practical need. This led to developing our first product. We tested our clothes on real clients, got feedback and made the necessary corrections. As we got confirmation that there is a need for such niche product, we decided to continue. From there on, we carried on building the brand and improving the experience. As I have been working closely with technology teams and seeing how well they are able to build superior products, continuously develop them while always putting the customer first, then these are some of the values we were keeping in mind when building our own brand.
Anything else you want to share?
Riin: “I’d like to thank all our wonderful clients who have already joined our family. Please continue sharing your ideas and let’s make a difference together."
Mihkel: “We love working with different partners, this also includes online magazines, bloggers and influencers. If you see that we could somehow cooperate, then let us know.”