Everyone wants to know how 25-year-old Gabby Samkova successfully raised $37,455 to launch a sustainable towel brand made from recycled plastic bottles on Kickstarter with no entrepreneurial experience. So how did the idea come together and how did I do it?
If you haven't heard of myself or the brand yet; my name is Gabby Samkova and I'm the founder of SomerSide Towels.
Most people would say that beach towels and travel towels already existed and that there is was no need for a new type of towel - I always begged to differ. Unlike most things in today's society that have evolved significantly with technology, towels have not.
Cotton towels are completely impractical outside the bathroom, they take up so much room, and become sandy and heavy once wet. Microfibre towels are manufactured plastic, small, and boring. You can watch the first 30 seconds of the video below to get an understanding (and a laugh):
The Initial Idea
The thing with an idea is it can usually start off so innocently where you have a basic idea, you tell some friends over a drink, or even mention it to your family but more often than not nothing happens with the idea, it stays as just that- an idea. You’ve had the same I’m sure.
I had the original idea close to 3 years ago now and back then it was much simpler where I wanted a large and nicely designed microfiber towel. I had researched it and taken it a step further than just an idea but decided at 23 I wasn’t ready and needed more experience in business (not true in the end).
The Turning Point
I had moved to Bali where I worked as a tour leader. Bali is a tropical island in Indonesia and with lots of our activities involving water, I carried a microfiber towel along with the majority of guests. It was at the same time I had taken up surfing (what else do you do when you move to an island?) which consumed all my days off. What I noticed about everywhere I turned in Bali and other islands in Indonesia was the plastic was honestly everywhere, in the rivers, an hour hike through the jungle, at the top of a volcano, in the ocean, behind houses… it was everywhere and I couldn’t believe how careless people were. I was never a sustainability warrior, but in Australia you don’t see that, you just put it in the correct bin and don’t worry about it again even though it doesn’t actually mean it’s recycled and disposed of correctly (I’ve come to learn).
Yes, I really did get hit by plastic
Anyone who has surfed in Bali a lot will tell you they’ve been hit by plenty of things in the water. I have had two plastic bags caught on my foot, seen those little plastic cups everywhere, chip packets, bottles, a nappy, and things have brushed my feet that I don’t even want to know. It came to a point that I just had enough and decided that I wanted to help, and I also wanted to create a useful product for people.
After looking into what microfiber towels are generally made from and types of natural fibres, I realised that it was possible for polyester to be made from recycled plastic bottles and that’s how SomerSide came to be. You can see the process on our webpage HERE
It was not easy to find a manufacturer as I wanted SomerSide to be sand resistant, be able to print the unique designs, and all the wonderful features the product has. It took close to a year to source and develop. It’s easy to have an idea but to make it happen, that’s the hard part.
- Gabby Samkova, Founder of SomerSide