Hanna Wheale, Clotho, Vancouver
As only an entrepreneur can do, when Hanna Wheale faced a business problem, she turned it into an opportunity. When she and her business partner, Matthew Danchuk, tried to source unique and high quality fabrics in Canada for their Vancouver based womenswear label, Hanna Dorothy, they found it difficult to do so.
So, they found a solution. They co–founded Clotho, a digital printing service which works with textiles instead of paper and offers custom printing on natural fibre and fashion fabrics. The company is in the process of expanding to offer a wider variety of fabrics with a vision to create an on-demand automated apparel making service with customized fit options. “Helping others create” is the company’s mission.
Q. What services has Women’s Enterprise Centre provided you and how have these services helped you?
A. Women’s enterprise Centre has provided financing and business advice to help grow Clotho. As a fashion-tech start-up, our business model is not like other traditional companies. WEC has understood and supported our vision.
Q. What inspired you to take the leap and start your own business?
A. I'm a creative person and it wasn't a natural fit for me to work in an office. I had always wanted to get into fashion and loved the idea of forging my own path and being my own boss.
Q. What’s the biggest lesson you learned when starting your business?
A. You can’t do everything yourself. You need to find the right partners who you trust and work with people that have different brains and skill sets.
Q. What are your goals for the business?
A. My goal is to grow Clotho into a customized, on-demand clothing and textile object making service. I want to contribute towards fixing a very broken fashion industry and create more environmentally friendly methods of production. I also love the idea of offering virtually anyone the choice to design their own pieces.
Q. What is your greatest strength as an entrepreneur?
A. I am a hard worker with a lot of energy and passion and can throw myself out of my comfort zone.
Q. What personal lessons have you learned as an entrepreneur?
A. I’ve learned how important positivity and imagination are to ambition. I have realised that failure sometimes guides you better than success.
Q. What were your major successes? At what point did you know you had achieved success?
A. Clotho expanded operations within the first 9 months of launching. We’ve printed fabric for major tv productions and local apparel companies. Our sales have been steadily climbing and we are now being recognized as industry experts in our field. Thanks to WEC, we are very excited to be expanding further with more equipment and financing to continue onto the next phase.