Katie Martello is the mastermind behind the new swimwear brand on the market Breakfast Swim. Breakfast Swim is made using Econyl fabric which is sourced 100% from ghost fishing nets. Breakfast Swim differs from other ethical and sustainable swimwear on the market through its use of funky patterns that are hand-drawn by Katie herself. If you want to read more about Breakfast swim, click here.
As with all brands that I find now that I think are doing epic things and I’d personally invest my money into I want to go one layer further -I want to know the person beyond the brand. I want to fully grasp why the individual started the brand off, their challenges they’ve had, who made the clothes along with some basic questions that help to really get to know the person beyond the brand.
Today’s interview with Katie is a real eye-opener. I hope you enjoy!
WHAT MADE YOU START BREAKFAST SWIM?
I worked in design in NYC, and saw firsthand the waste that happens within the industry. My best friend worked for Eileen Fisher at the time, and seeing the difference in how our employers functioned was like a lightbulb for me. I wanted to keep designing, but I also wanted to feel good about what I was doing. And I love nature. I love the ocean. It just makes sense for me – Breakfast Swim embodies all of my personal values.
WHAT HAS BEEN THE MOST CHALLENGING THING YOU HAVE UNCOVERED SINCE BEGINNING?
The feeling that I should be doing more. Once you start exploring sustainability, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by how bad things really are. As a one-woman show, there’s only so much I can do right now… but I want to do everything! It takes daily affirmation that I’m doing the best I can with what I have, and I can continue to build on that as the company grows. I just want a solar-powered factory with a daycare that trains women in skilled trade and recycles our bikinis at end-of-life… is that really so much to ask?
WITHIN THE ETHICAL FASHION COMMUNITY THERE’S A BIG QUESTION ABOUT ‘WHO MADE MY CLOTHES?’ IN THE SCOPE OF BREAKFAST SWIM, WHO MADE YOUR BIKINI’S? CAN YOU US A BIT ABOUT THEM?
Definitely! Our manufacturing partner, Bali Swim, is located in Bali (surprise!), and is basically a one-stop shop for us. Their seamstresses are paid a living wage, and set their own production schedule (no 14-hour workdays or crazy last-minute production demands). I’m planning a visit before we start production for 2018 – I think it’s super-important to have a personal relationship with your manufacturer and the people who physically craft your garment, and also to see production facilities firsthand.
BEST PIECE OF ADVICE YOU HAVE EVER RECEIVED?
Fear of failure is what holds most of us back. It’s okay to be afraid, but don’t let it paralyze you.
ONE BOOK EVERYONE SHOULD READ? WHY?
Harry Potter! It’s just a good, soul-food escape from reality. And if you’re an entrepreneur, Tools of Titans by Tim Ferris. I bring it out of my closet every once in a while when I feel stuck, and it’s so energizing to get all those little tidbits of info from different founders. It’s full of incredible advice, and it’s helped me think on a larger scale.
WHERE DO YOU ENVISION BREAKFAST SWIM IN THE FUTURE?
That solar-powered manufacturing facility I mentioned earlier? With fabric recycling and daycare for workers’ kids? That’s a real goal. I want Breakfast Swim to model what a values-based company can become – it can still be fun and fashion-y while having a real positive impact on the planet, and on peoples’ lives.
WHAT INSPIRES YOU TO DO WHAT YOU DO ON A DAILY BASIS?
Sorry to be SUPER corny, but: love. I love the earth, I love people, and I love creating. When I’m stressed over shipping samples, or website design, or the fact that all our glaciers are melting, it’s love that keeps me from having a meltdown and giving up. I really, honestly, deeply love doing this.
DO YOU HAVE A MORNING ROUTINE? IF SO WHAT IS IT YOU DO TO SET YOURSELF UP FOR THE DAY AHEAD?
Moving first thing does INCREDIBLE things for me, mentally and physically. It’s usually a run – I have a friend who lives on the West Side, so we’ll meet in the middle in Central Park and do a few miles. Also, coffee. Black. (and strong enough to stand a spoon in, as my mom likes to point out).
Nia Clothing. I met the founder at a fashion meet-up a few weeks ago – she’s making zero-waste knitwear at the BFDA in Brooklyn, and she’s a total sweetheart. And Fabscrap NYC is AWESOME – if you do anything with fabric in NYC, they’ll come pick up your scraps for recycling.