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Meet and get inspired by Gotcha Covered

As you may know, here at START by WGSN we believe in sharing stories to inspire, motivate and empower other fashion entrepreneurs. So we spoke to brands that have kindly shared a little of their history, challenges and achievements as small fashion companies, in addition to useful tips on strategies for new businesses.

Today we present Gotcha Covered, a Canadian slow fashion brand that started in 2020 as a response to the massive amounts of single-use waste that resulted from Covid-19. At the peak of the pandemic, beaches, parks and sidewalks were full of disposable masks and gloves, causing immense discomfort. Thus emerged the idea of ​​creating masks that were good for the planet and that people wanted to wear. Fast forward a few months, and it has just released its first-ever clothing collection.


"When designing this collection, we knew it had to be something special. We wanted to leave a lasting positive impact on the planet, which is why we decided to use exclusively deadstock linen! By upcycling fabrics and giving them a second life, we are helping divert them from ending up in landfills!" said Brodie Peteran, founder of Gotcha Covered.

(Brodie Peteran, founder of Gotcha Covered)

Sustainability is one of Gotcha Covered's core values ​​– and the brand constantly strives to improve internal practices, packaging and designs to be less harmful to the environment and the people involved in the processes. Decisions are always made with sustainability in mind – this is not a trending word, but a wholesome approach to a more mindful and minimal lifestyle.

The community and the environment are fundamental to everything done at Gotcha Covered: 2% of all proceeds are donated to green initiatives. Donations in 2021, for example, went to Plastic Oceans Canada, which envisioned clearing plastic along 10km of the Canadian coast.



Read our exclusive interview with Brodie Peteran below:

- Tell us a little about how you started your business and the concept behind the brand.

Our brand story started in August 2020 as a response to the massive amounts of single-use waste that was a result of the pandemic. It seemed that our beautiful beaches, parks and sidewalks were littered with single-use masks, and we knew there had to be a solution. We set out on a mission to make reusable (and reversible!) masks that were good for the planet and that people actually wanted to wear! From there, we branched out into matching accessories, and have been growing and expanding our product offering ever since.

Fast forward a few months to May 2021, which was when we launched our first-ever made-to-order clothing collection – Luxe Linen. When designing this collection, we knew it had to be something special. We wanted to leave a lasting positive impact on the planet, which is why we decided to use exclusively deadstock linen. By upcycling fabrics and giving them a second life, we are helping divert them from ending up in landfills! This brand ethos continues to shape all our designs and decisions, and our mission is simple: to create beautiful and timeless wardrobe essentials, while leaving the planet better than we found it.

- What sparked your interest in fashion?

I've been interested in fashion for as long as I can remember! I would say it all started when I was nine, and my Grade 4 teacher asked us to create a fake business and do a presentation about it, and of course I created a fashion brand! I had so much fun drawing out the designs and writing recommendations for how to style the outfits. That was probably the first time I really thought about doing something in fashion as my career. What I love most about fashion is that it's such a unique form of self-expression, and I believe that clothing has the power to improve your mood, your confidence and your life! I really think that if you dress for yourself and love what you wear, it has a strong impact on your life and mindset!

- How has your work evolved since you began your business?

When we first started last summer, we were primarily making masks; it was a very Covid-19-focused business model that we knew would not work long-term. So we decided to use this opportunity to turn it into our dream brand, and so far we are well on our way! Launching a line of sustainably and ethically made-to-order women's clothing has always been a dream of mine, so being able to make it a reality has been such an exciting journey! A large part of our design process has been tweaking things with customer feedback, so we are always working to evolve and create the best possible product we can!



- What was the biggest mistake you made when starting out? Why?

I try not to say anything is a 'mistake' because I truly believe that anything that doesn't work out as planned is just a learning experience. There are tons of things that could have gone differently (maybe even better), but they're all part of the journey and I know everything happens for a reason. If I could give a piece of advice to other entrepreneurs starting out, it would be "don't wear yourself too thin!" It's easy to think you can do it all yourself, which you probably can, but at what expense? In the beginning, I was giving 200% every single day, including weekends, and it got to be exhausting. I was nearing burnout when I realized that I needed to put my own health and wellbeing ahead of the business, and step back from a few tasks. With the help of a career coach, I listed out everything I was currently doing, and made necessary cuts that were not directly leading to positive growth within the business. Since then, I've been able to find a healthy balance between my work and social life, which I think is critical, especially if you're still a very small team!

- What is the biggest lesson you have learned since you started your company?

For me, the biggest lesson has been not to compare myself to others. There are so many other people and brands doing amazing things, but at the end of the day we are all on our own journey, and no two journeys are the same. Being grateful for everything I have achieved, and being able to celebrate others' successes rather than seeing it as my own failure, has been a huge lesson I am so lucky to have learned early on!

- What was your biggest fear when going out and starting your own line?

Of course the biggest fear for any entrepreneur is failure, right? That no one will like it. It definitely held me back a bit in the beginning, but I think often that's just in our own heads. When you share your story and values with people and connect with them on a real level, then your product – whatever it is – is likely to resonate with them. It's all about creating a relationship with customers, and making sure you understand who they are and what their pain points are. No matter how great your branding or photos are, if you're not filling a gap in the marketplace, you're going to struggle with sales.

- Who were your first clients?

My first clients were mainly my friends, and through word of mouth we started selling to friends of friends, and the social web just kept expanding! If you make a great product people love, they want to share it with their friends, so I have been very fortunate in that way!



- Where does your inspiration come from?

A lot of my inspiration comes from architecture and the beautiful natural balance from nature. I like the juxtaposition of the rigid lines of buildings beside the flowing and organic shapes of nature, and I think it is often present in my designs. I try to take inspiration from unusual sources – rather than just researching trends, I will flip through an Architectural Digest, or walk through an old library, or quickly sketch out a beautiful shadow pattern. I think good design is about making the ordinary extraordinary, and creating timeless garments that are reflective of our surroundings.

- How is your creative process? How do you improve your creativity?

I really think creativity can't be forced, which can sometimes be difficult when you're working on a tight deadline! I find it so important to schedule entire days for my creative process – it's not something I can do in only a couple hours. It takes a while to get in the creative zone, but once you're there, the ideas are endless. Sometimes I feel extremely creative and ideas will come to me at random times while doing other tasks throughout the day, but other times I find it very difficult. When I have blocks like this, I try to change up my environment as much as possible – go out for a long walk, venture to a new part of town or rearrange my studio. I find the best thing to improve my creativity is not to force it, and when I'm going about my daily life, I try to imagine seeing everything through the lens of a child. It really helps your brain pick out interesting things that you may not have noticed otherwise. Inspiration and creativity is all around us, as long as we know how to see it!

- Which channels do you use to promote your brand?

Our main focus is on Instagram and email marketing, but we also share our work and inspiration on Pinterest. I think it's so important to narrow down exactly who your customer is and where they are spending their digital time.

- Which START by WGSN tools do you most use to optimize your routine?

I love browsing the trends page! It really helps shape my designs and understand where new trends may develop.

- We know the future looks especially uncertain right now, and long-term thinking can be challenging. But what are your future plans for the brand?

We have big plans! We definitely want to continue to expand our range of womenswear, and we're already thinking about branching into some new commodities for S/S 22. I can't say too much yet, but we think you're going to love it! In terms of a storefront, our plan is to remain primarily an e-commerce brand, but we would love to do some pop-ups, or partner with boutiques to have an in-store shopping experience for our customers! We are also working on an exciting rebrand to better align with our values and vision for the future – stay tuned!

(Images: Gotcha Covered)



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