Name: Kai Jonas
Business Name: Lite Apparel
Summary of your business: A contemporary clothing brand premised on making garments ethically and sustainably.
Instagram: Lite Worldwide
How and when did your business idea come about?
Having interned at one of China’s largest sourcing and manufacturing companies, I learnt of the unfortunate realities of the fast fashion garment manufacturing industry. As one of the most labour intensive and environmentally harming industries, fashion is in need of some fresh ideas to sustain the increasing consumption rates, whilst looking for alternatives to the current harmful manufacturing procedures. Lite Worldwide is a brand advocating this change through collaboration with large garment foundations such as, Fair Wear and Fair Trade, whilst supporting the use of organic and sustainable materials/procedures within our various outerwear collections.
What support have you received from Student enterprise or external?
Student enterprise did not only help launch the brand through the brilliant Kickstarter fund opportunity, but through winning the BESS award has also helped accelerate the brand through additional funding/support. With that, there is always a door open at the office and all members of the Student Enterprise are extremely helpful and offer great business advice.
Have you received an award from Student Enterprise?
Yes, as mentioned I received the Kickstarter fund award and the BESS award – a very lucky chap!
Why get involved with Student Enterprise?
Student enterprise offers a great opportunity to start and develop a project or business within the University as well as encouraging ongoing collaboration between students – enabling students to meet like-minded individuals that perhaps wouldn’t have happened within their normal course activities.
How has your business developed during your time at Surrey?
Lite has developed significantly over my time at Surrey. Having received tremendous support from individuals at the University and infact all around the world after our online store launch last summer, we were encouraged to apply for the BESS award – of which we were one of the lucky winners. Since then, the brand has featured in a variety of boutique stores, tradeshows and received tremendous support from organisations within the fashion and various manufacturing industries, supporting our business proposition.
What are your ambitions for yourself and the business after university?
For me I feel like my ambitions for myself and Lite somewhat intertwine, as so they should. I hope to travel and discover new parts of the world all whilst pursuing my interest in fashion management and design.
What has been the best/worst part of starting/running a business?
Best part was launching the brand with one of my closest friends.
Worst part, discovering that we didn’t really work well together, hence having to cut ties.
Do you have any advice for a budding entrepreneurs?
Have patience! On our launch week we received 3 orders the second, 5, the third 6 and so on.. Now almost a year later the brand is doing pretty well. Hence, I would say the most important thing would be to appreciate patience and understand that gaining success, in whatever perception of this you may have, is a long ol’ process.