It is only in hindsight that we understand the magnitude of past events. This is a lesson we learnt moments before shutting the doors to the studio on December 21st 2018. It was the morning of our Christmas Party and the day manufacturing would close for the festive period. A few us remained in the studio and the usual sounds of sewing machines and happy chatter were absent. We stood for a few minutes and it was in this moment of quiet that the enormity of 2018 dawned on us. It was the year of the Kickstarter, of (a lot) more work, more stress, more family, more friends, more orders, more smiles, and a new investor. Last year will be a hard one to top but we’re certainly going to try. To get you as excited as we are, here are a few items on the Sealand radar for 2019.
A flagship store has long been on the Sealand agenda and we are proud to announce it will be opening in the first quarter of 2019. We took more time than we would care to admit in finding a space. We felt that it had to be perfect and that took patience. Located in the heart of Cape Town, a new development called Dock Road Junction will be our new home. In line with our brand and values, the development has repurposed an older building as opposed to knocking it down and building a new development on top of the rubble. When we stumbled across an upcycled building, we knew it was meant to be.
A physical store is an opportunity to showcase the true experience of the Sealand brand and lifestyle. From the environmentally friendly cork floors to yacht sail curtains, all aspects of the space have been scrutinised and utilised to educate new Sealanders on the main components of our brand: refined, sophisticated, and environmentally friendly. The experiential nature of the store means it will be dynamic with a concept room and rotating display at its heart. We believe that it will be a space to justify the reputation Sealand has developed for itself as a high-end fashion brand that brings environmentally focused manufacturing into the mainstream.
As mentioned above, 2018 saw us successfully running our first Kickstarter campaign. The purpose of the campaign was to raise money to launch Sealand Recycle. Those who supported the campaign have a taste for what is coming. For those who missed it, you are in luck because we are launching Sealand Recycle with the opening of our store. As with the Kickstarter rewards, Sealand Recycle will be all your favourite Sealand gear made from Recover material. Recover material is made from 100% recycled plastic bottles and cotton waste that has been broken down and remade into a yarn. We understand that the process of recycling requires the use of energy and can create C02 emissions. For these reasons, we found a factory that is pioneering the recycling industry. It operates on over 50% solar power, does not use any water, and produces no carbon emissions. It’s clean and it’s green.
The rational for Sealand Recycle is to meet more needs of our customers. We understand that the uniqueness of upcycling may not appeal to everyone. We do, however, want everyone to make the environmental choice when buying bags and accessories, and feel that this will allow more people to do that.
We are proud that Sealand has been so well supported around the world. This year forecasts our international growth to continue at a rapid rate. Sealand has planted its roots firmly in the UK, France, New Zealand, Japan, and South Korea.
We can now be found in more than 10 retail outlets in the UK including matches.com, Selfridges, LN-CC and the Shard. From the UK we have crossed the English Channel into France. While we will be featured in two showrooms in Paris during the course of the year, there is more to Sealand in France than some pop-ups and baguettes. We have recently become friends with Hoalen. With multiple stores country wide, Hoalen have cemented their place as a top high-end fashion retailer in France. We have already collaborated on an exciting project and cannot wait to see what the future with them holds.
The time for end of year reflections has now passed. With the growth of Sealand, all that we learned in 2018, and the continued support of all reading this, it is hard to keep excitement levels low enough to sleep at night. The future is looking bright and the journey has only just begun.