Founder of: Fitico Sportswear
Pioneering in: Sustainable Sportswear
Recipe for Success: “Be the change you want to see”
“As an entrepreneur, you are willing to take the risk and you take it with joy and happiness“
This week Sophie Wirth, founder of Fitico Sportswear, shared her journey of founding a sustainable startup with AustrianStartups. Being determined to show that a different way of doing business is indeed possible, she created the sustainable fashion label Fitico. In a world of fast fashion and an industry full of grievances, Fitico produces unique sportswear counteracting pollution, exploitative working conditions, and unreliable supply chains – all at once.
Important things first
When thinking about her most valuable skills, Sophie immediately recognizes and appreciates the strength of her team. “We complement each other very well in our skills“ – while Sophie considers herself as a strategist, her co-founders have their areas of strength in design and marketing. Being a team of founders means to bear all the challenges together and therefore also to grow together. On her path of becoming an entrepreneur, dealing with the important tasks first proves not only to be an immediate stress relief, but at the same time provides a rewarding feeling of achievement, which is especially motivating to go even further.
Taking the risk with joy and happiness
“As a founder, you don’t have a safety net. You are willing to take the risk and you take it with joy and happiness“. Even Sophie, whose sportswear is made out of fishing nets, did not have a safety net. Nevertheless, she is not afraid of what might happen, but enjoys all the ups and downs as well as the uncertainty that comes with it. Entrepreneurship enables flexibility and also enables having the power to decide on one’s own strategy. This is not only challenging, but also exciting and highly interesting. When dealing with stressful situations, Sophie is well aware of the importance of switching off one’s cell phone and recommends spending time in nature. In order to clear her head, Sophie finds delight in the different view on everything one has while being in the mountains. Last but not least, Sophie experienced that doing sports is also an extremely effective stress-relief and brings great joy – and even more when wearing clothing relieving our oceans of plastic.
Building a startup – tackling numerous global issues simultaneously
Building up a startup comes with numerous challenges, and making it sustainable, is, of course, another hurdle to conquer. Whether making a real impact on our world’s future is worth the additional challenge should not be a question anymore. After a year of intensive research, Sophie finally found a sustainable fabric consistent with her values and now creates unique and innovative sportswear – tackling 3 urgent global issues at one time: waste reduction, fair working conditions, and dependence on non-European supply chains. This is possible through a special synthetic fibre called Econyl®, which is up-cycled nylon made out of old fishing nets polluting our ocean, and is thus produced under fair conditions in Portugal.
Be the change you want to see
The corona crisis forced people to hold and to rethink their lives, consumer behavior and daily habits. All problems the corona crisis has uncovered need to be resolved now – by us. Sophie Wirth managed to put people and planet first while building up a successful startup, and therefore paved the way for both innovative and sustainable fashion. “Be the change you want to see“ is what Sophie would share with Austria on a billboard on Stephansdom. She shows us that it is indeed possible to make a change and has already taken a step in the only direction our world can sustain in the long term. If everyone did it – imagine how our future would look like.
In our weekly interview series, we will be featuring various inspirational entrepreneurs of the Austrian startup scene. Each Monday, you can expect useful insights into their lives and practical tips that you can follow in order to walk your entrepreneurial path. Like, share, comment – and feel free to reach out to us. Suggestions, ideas, remarks are all welcome – let’s shape the ecosystem together!