New to TVM this Sunday is Panamuna, the brainchild of husband and wife team Rod Ximenes and Alana Carlson.
We are always inspired by brands that are making a difference and thought Panamuna was a deserving recipient of the TVM Startup Stall. Read on to find out why!
TVM: Tell us about your background?
P: We are a husband and wife team. Rod was born and bred by the ocean and Alana was raised to be a lover of all things natural. Together we are now the parents of two young, energetic boys who also love the water. We are lucky enough to live on the pristine Tweed Surf Coast in the Northern Rivers region of NSW, Australia. Rod studied a Bachelor of business and now works in hospitality, whilst Alana studied Education and Fine Art Photography and is now a high school teacher. We originally established Panamuna in 2011 whilst living in Victoria, but took a break from the business when we decided to relocate our family. After ensuring everyone was settled, we re-launched Panamuna with a whole new vision - of raising awareness of our impact on the planet, particularly on our oceans, and producing sustainably and ethically produced surf wear and accessories.
TVM: What made your pursue your creative passion?
P: Heading into the workforce Rod searched relentlessly to find a job that would maintain his interests and keep him passionate and enthusiastic about going to work everyday. Unfortunately, he didn't find anything that fulfilled this need, and so the idea for Panamuna was born. The vision for the sustainable and ethical surf brand was inspired due to the fact that Rod is an avid surfer, and he would regularly see the debris and waste that humans carelessly dispose of in the water or on our beautiful beaches. We really felt that there was a way to combine our passion for surfing and fashion along with our desire to be conservationists and spread the message of the need for a change in the way we live to ensure the survival of our planet.
TVM: When did you take the plunge and start your own business?
P: Our business started a few years ago but to be honest, it was more of a hobby until recently. In September this year we decided to take the huge leap of faith and invest quite a bit in the business to see if it what we do would speak to a larger demographic. Thankfully, so far, we have had an amazing response to our gear.
What does your brand consist of?
At Panamuna, we have spent many long hours researching the most sustainable and ethical way to produce our gear. We use organic materials that are free from insecticides, pesticides and chemical fertilisers, which helps to reduce water pollution. Our printing methods are also eco-friendly, using only water-based inks. All our packaging is biodegradable and plastic free.
Our brand consists of sustainable and ethical surf wear and accessories, with our project being to infuse style and simplicity with new sustainable methods to develop our gear. Through this our aim is to make people conscious of the impact they have on the environment due to the choices they make. We have a range of men’s, women’s and grommet’s tees and tanks, recycled board covers, upcycled hats and environmentally friendly bags. We hope to extend our range further in the near future to incorporate board shorts and surf swimwear.
In addition to the way we produce our gear, we also help to improve the health of our local beaches and the ocean by running community events such as beach cleanups and awareness campaigns through our social media following. We hope to inspire individuals to lead an ocean friendly lifestyle by becoming more conscious consumers. We regularly post ideas to encourage people to think about the way they interact with the environment around them and we highlight the need for more action, action that can easily be achieved by a single individual.
Where is the label designed and made?
Our label is designed here in Australia and the only thing we are currently having made offshore are the T-shirts. We buy them blank from an Australian supplier and then design and print the T-shirts ourselves. We also source reclaimed fabrics that would otherwise end up in landfill to make our board covers and satchels, which we do in conjunction with Boomerang Bags. Some of our designs have been done in collaboration with young emerging artists, giving them a platform to get work seen by a wider audience.
What inspires you?
The ocean is our main inspiration. Just the smell, the salt air, the sight and sound of the waves crashing. The beautiful shapes and configurations that the water makes. It is never the same twice. The peace and serenity that comes upon you when you are by the sea. There's nothing like it.
Although everyone has a different connection to the ocean, the only thing that everyone must know is if the ocean dies, we all die! Due to this we need to ensure we are doing what we know is right for it, as well as inspiring others to also fall in love with the ocean so that they feel like taking action to protect it.
We are also inspired by the great work of individuals, groups and organsiations that are out there in our local community, as well as in a more global sense, coming up with innovative ways to reduce the use of single use plastic items and make people more aware of what can be done to start healing our planet.
What are your plans for the brand and where do you hope it takes you?
We have big hopes and dreams for Panamuna. In the near future we hope to run more market stalls to get our name and message out there, and, as mentioned above, we would love to expand our range. We will also be running more beach clean ups, supporting more events and finding some young surfers to sponsor. One day we are hoping that Panamuna will be able to sustain a duel income so that we can quit our day jobs and focus all our energy on growing the brand and spreading the message.
What were the biggest challenges when launching your brand?
The biggest challenge has definitely been getting our name and philosophy of clothing production out there in the marketplace. There are so many big players in this industry that people are more comfortable going with what they know, rather than trying a different brand. Another huge hurdle that we have had to overcome is the sourcing of suppliers of sustainable and ethical materials for us to use in the production of our gear, and ensuring that everyone in our supply chain is being paid appropriately for the work they are completing. This has been a time-consuming and, at times, frustrating endeavor, but we decided early on that this is what we had to demand from suppliers.
What is the best thing about having your own business?
Getting to make all the choices about the brand, and allowing our creativity to flow in an effort to send a social and environmental message.
One piece of advice for someone hoping to start their own small business that you wish you’d been told?
The Internet is not always the best place to find suppliers and supporters. Get out there in your local community and start networking – face to face with people is always best, and this has resulted in some of the most beneficial partnerships for us.
Connect with Panamuna this Sunday at TVM 11 December 2016, and find them here: