How to start a sustainable fashion business?

How to start a sustainable fashion business?

It was a week ago when the Berlin fashion network ‚Textilstammtisch‘ hooked up with Sourcebook to invite speakers to give input and to discuss the questions of entrepreneurs-to-be at Agora Rollberg in Neukölln. The focus lay on how to get started in matters of financing, public funding and dealing with fashion startup incubators. The short-cut, very precious information was summarized in the newsletter report and is available for sharing and for further investigation as follows – Thanks to the whole team!


sustainable fashion business agora 1
© Daniel Gebhardt


Speakers & Structure

1) Anne Le Rolland | enterprise europe network | Project Manager | Introduction to the Erasmus Entrepreneur Program

2) Simon Jochim | Foundation Entrepreneurship | Project Manager | Short Book Presentation ‚Kopf schlägt Kapital‘ and to ‚Komponentenportal‘

3) Elisabeth Klee | private consulting and coaching | Presentation development loans zgs consult & IBB Coaching Bonus

4) Jan Holzhauer | Empowerment Strategist – Leadership and Business Coach | Key lessons learned on 10+ year entrepreneurial path in ethical business (and sustainable fashion)

5) Upcoming Events | Fashion Revolution Week | RIFT SUMMIT | WEARit Festival | OSCE Days

6) Helpful ideas and resources

1) Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs

– Gives new or aspiring entrepreneurs the chance to learn from experienced       entrepreneurs running small businesses in other participating countries

– The host benefits from fresh perspectives on his/her business and gets the opportunities to cooperate with foreign partners or learn about new markets

– Why participate? >> new entrepreneurs can get practical experience network, host entrepreneurs can gain international cooperation opportunities

– Participating countries: 28 European Member States, Armenia, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Iceland, Montenegro, Moldova, Turkey, Albania, Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina


2) Presentation of the book “Kopf schlägt Kapital”

– Questions: How to start a sustainable business? Sustainability and innovation processes? How can you create a fashion brand?

– 1st step: Difference between entrepreneur („creative guy“) and  business management

– 2nd step: Creating the concept

– 3rd step: Components >> website, shipping, logistics

– Last step: How to start? >> online-training for the book, steps of the book can apply to every business

– Entrepreneur foundation: Small team, platforms of idea competitions,

 online-training and feedback in front of other entrepreneurs

→ a few books left: first come first serve, contact to get one!



sustainable fashion business agora 2
© Daniel Gebhardt


3) Zgs. consulting Vorgründungscoaching

Offers 30 hours of free coaching and can be requested by all Berlin Entrepreneurs BEFORE the foundation

Coaching topics as required: business model, foundation, legal form, preparation of business plan, marketing and sales strategies, financing etc. by accrediting coach

IBB Coaching Bonus: Offers coaching services through accredited coaches for existing small and medium-sized enterprises in the creative industry, with headquarters or works in Berlin, whose products or services are the result of creative self-service and have a differentiated single-mindedness

4) Key lessons learned on 10+ year entrepreneurial path in ethical business (and sustainable fashion)

– Introduction: Learning journey as founder of educatio agency and founder and ex-ceo of sustainable textile agency and wholesaler Lebenskleidung 2008, (Exit Dec 2013)

Now: Empowerment Strategist – Leadership and Business Coach (

– 1st mindset: Entrepreneurship can be a lonely journey – reach out to mentors, ask for help, focus on mental state over strategy

– 2nd mindset: Teams and business partners are the main reason for success and failure, seek to build long term partnerships and risk management

– 3rd mindset: for designers who build business: leave your comfort zone (which is in that case product obsession and design) and tackle the business side or make steps to handle them (sales and business operations) to save time and be more successful

– Strategy: Reverse engineer your business: start with the goals (for example sales targets and build your sales channels and strategie backwards to reach that goal) same valid for supply chain: focus on the quality, minimums and relationship that you want to have as outcome for your sourcing process and reverse engineer the supply chain.

Coaching/Consulting can be funded up to 90% through the federal programme BAFA

Info: and (German)

Contact: Get more information at (apply for a free consulting/coaching session. Write Jan directly:

5) Upcoming events

– Textil Stammtisch “Transparency & Campaigning”: 25.04.2017

Fashion Revolution Week: 24.4.-30.4.2017

RIFT SUMMIT Berlin: 08.06.2017

WEARit Festival: 09.06.2017

OSCE Days: 10.06.2017

6) Helpful ideas and resources related to sustainable fashion

– Where can I find international manufacturing facilities (from garment making to artisan handcrafts)?

– where do I get fabric and trims from? → f.e. Materialbeschaffung (im Ausbau)

– Do not study your books, go into the real space and produce your ideas into reality, mail at: or call 0174-6739551

Resources & dates:

– FLick dich Wedding: textiles repair café in our atelier HH, Prinzenstraße 58 (Flicken, upcycling, exchange)




PHOTO CREDITS: Daniel Gebhardt /