We had an interesting chat with Ms. “Patricia Davis”, Creator/Owner of the Jacksonville – United States based startup “CATA”
Below is the interview we conducted with her:
1. What is it exactly that you do and what your start-up is all about?
CATA is an online organic clothing resource designed to help consumers easily find, shop and save on organic fashion. We create awareness/educate consumers about the dangers of toxic/hazardous chemicals being manufactured in clothing. We explain the illnesses /disease linked to chemicals in clothes, expose the social justice aspect of fast fashion and navigate through the sustainability of production.
2. When has your startup been founded? And what stage is your startup currently at?
CATA was established May 3, 2014. We’re in the process of building affiliate relationships, increasing functionality of new website, and planning collaborations.
3. What is your startup’s business model and how does it work?
CATA markets to companies, create business to business opportunities, provide a host of services and builds membership. We also employ grassroots efforts and outside the box tactics to increase visibility of organic clothing companies. When consumers visit our website and Take the Pledge they become a CATA member. Membership allows them to shop our associated/affiliate companies and save on every purchase for one entire year. Creators solicit companies, plan events and build website.
4. How did your team meet? And who in your team does what?
Initial team husband/wife followed by a host of Interns. Creators (Patricia and Willie) solicit companies, plan events, build website and online presence. Interns assist with research, graphic design, social media, styling, etc.
Morgan G.-graphic design and PR.
Juliana N.-social media, graphic design, research. Sara H.-styling, product tracking, fashion show coordination.
5. What, exactly, makes you different from existing options, what will make your product and/or service stand out in the marketplace? In other words what’s unique about you and what’s new about what you make?
CATA is the only company of it’s kind in the US that has created a platform to unite an industry within an industry, making products that are difficult to find more accessible, providing current and relevant information, allowing consumers to become engaged-connected. CATA is the solution. Our grassroots efforts of taking the company to the streets hosting fashion shows, participating in radio/tv appearances and collaborating with industries is what sets CATA apart.
6. What is your growth like? And what milestones has your startup achieved so far?
Our growth is steady with new consumers taking the CATA pledge daily and buying organic clothing. The milestones we have achieved includes the penetration and visibility we’ve been able to accomplish in the industry thus far. We have over ten major articles published thus far in major publications around the country, appearances on radio shows such as Toxic Free Radio, Ms. Green’s World Talk Radio, Your True Colours Talk Radio.
7. Who are your competitors? And what is your start-up’s competitive advantage over them?
On line website directories such as Green America.CATA’s competitive edge is our business model (fashion), we offer transparency and tractability in a complex industry, the engagement and interactive component of our site, ongoing grassroots activities and the fact we are a movement.
8. What obstacles did you face and how did you overcome them?
Getting small organic companies to see the vision, benefits and features of uniting instead of competing against a multi trillion dollar industry that’s well funded but most importantly competing against each other. When faced before a giant a united stand is required. Obstacles are overcome by perseverance and persistence and always maintaining a rock solid belief in what you do.
9. What are the key things about your field that outsiders don’t understand?
Just how important our work is. The 8,000- 12,000 toxic and hazardous chemicals being manufactured in clothes today affect every human on earth and earth itself in a very negative and profound way; from creation to discard toxic fashion influences our health, sustainability and even climate change. The textile industry is flawed. These things must be understood and change must begin.
10. Why are you going to succeed?
CATA is driven and committed to doing business with integrity, as we seek out and find other companies that are like minded, the company is destined for success. Consumers want alternatives. Consumers want knowledge in order to informed decisions.
11. If your startup succeeds, what additional areas might you be able to expand into?
Our focus is organic textiles, clothing and sustainable accessories only. We have no plans to deviate from our core values of why we began, to do so would compromise who we are.
12. Why did you choose this idea and concept to build your start-up based on?
I chose this idea because consumers want to be more educated about slow fashion, organic apparel and the timing is right. There’s so much information surfacing about practices in industries we believe people have the right to know. However, most importantly they have the right to know there are alternatives.
13. What have you learned so far from launching your idea?
We’ve learned that fear drives many emotions which can lead to failure. Many companies are only truly interested in what you can do for them (free of charge) and not how we can work together. Oftentimes, many don’t truly believe in their own mission statements or conduct business around them. Talk is cheap, action is hard. The business world is filled with liars, greed, deceit and manipulation for self-betterment but, there is hope and CATA is seeking and finding the hope.
14. Six months from now, what’s going to be your biggest problem?
Building our staff, hiring a qualified team, training and development. Encouraging team members to step outside the box of how they have been educated, to implement personal growth instead of programed and become self-independent thinkers-then do their job.
15. What’s the benefit for the customer/user?
Easy access to the companies producing products they have been seeking, saving time, providing many choices, reliability and current information. Consumers who Take the Pledge save thousands of dollars as they transition their wardrobes to organic clothing.
16. How did customers / users find out about you?
Customers find us through social media platforms such as twitter, facebook, blogger. They also read articles in various online publications as well as print, listen to radio shows and visit us at expos, seminars and other events.
17. Who are your current customers / users? Who are your target customers / users?
Eco friendly and conscious consumers. Young mom’s between the age of 26-35, teens committed to making our planet a better place, health conscious individuals and individuals suffering from illness.
18. Where do new customers / users come from and what makes new customers/users try you?
Many new customers come from our website as they take the pledge to wear organics. Others come from fashion shows, our blogging team and word of mouth.
19. What do your customers / users say about your product and/or service?
Customers can’t believe such a company exist, our extensive knowledge of the industry, how simple it is to join, take the pledge and be part of the solution to clean up fashion. It’s a refreshing breeze to simply go to one website and find thousands of organic products. They are amazed at the ability to save for an entire year if they take the pledge.
20. How are you going to scale?
Due to the structure, age and platform of CATA we have not addressed the question of scale, yet. Our website is built to handle any level of growth which is what our main focus is right now.
21. What’s the biggest missing feature? The one thing customers/users keep asking for?
Members have not expressed a missing feature thus far. They have asked for more variety in the companies whom are current affiliates. They really want to see more organic clothing options and colors. They are wondering why more organic companies have not yet joined CATA.
22. Are you going to internationalize? And if yes how are you planning to expand your start-up’s operations accordingly?
Our focus is to brand and drive the growth of American companies, contributing to job growth in the US. Producing sustainable textile jobs and fostering the education of young people seeking more purpose in their careers.
23. How big do you think you can get? Why? And how you are planning to achieve your goals?
CATA is a movement and once a movement begins it’s impossible to stop. CATA will be hundreds of companies strong with millions pledging. It’s time to clean up fashion. Earth can not sustain fast fashion. We are helping create small organic companies around the county building our pool of associated companies. We’re connecting businesses to businesses, assisting with product/design development, creating wholesale opportunities building our pool of associated companies.
24. Are you looking to hire a new workforce? And if yes, what job vacancies do you currently offer and where can potential applicants contact you at?
We’re looking to add to our affiliate team of bloggers around the country. Seeking individuals who have a passion and drive for sustainability and fashion with the creative skills to write about it. Interested parties can contact us on our website contact page at: http://cataorganic.com/contact.php or email firstname.lastname@example.org
25. Are you looking for partnership opportunities or funding from Venture Capitals (VC) or other funding sources? Or your business is self-sustainable? And if the first option applies where can potential partners / investors contact you at?
We are currently not seeking any venture capital, partnerships or investors. The business is self sustainable. However, we are seeking sponsorship and other creative ventures. If entities are interested in sponsorships we can be contacted at email@example.com
26. What advice do you have for fresh entrepreneurs?
Believe in your dreams no matter what. When things are good celebrate, when things are bad and difficult celebrate even more. Work every day towards accomplishing your goals, because at the end of the day, week, month, year-they are your goals and when you have achieved them no one can understand what it took to get but you. Only then can you take that knowledge and Pay It Forward.
27. Finally, do you have any other comments that you would like to add?
Organic clothing companies UNITE, be part of something bigger than yourself. Movements last, impact change, right wrongs, inspire and motivate minds. Sales are for the moment. Seek loyalty and true support for your hard work prosperity loves company.