Name: Paul Donati
Course: LLB Law with French Law and Language
CAFIN supports an innovative artist collective in designing limited edition, 100% ethical and environmentally sustainable clothing.
Tell us more about Catching a Fish in Norway
CAFIN is part of a new generation of leading brands, offering a premium quality street wear line which is both entirely ethical and environmentally sustainable. Made from 100% organic, combed, Indian cotton, we use guilt-free standards of clothing which are:
- Manufactured in accordance with the Fair Wear Foundation (we boycott sweatshops) and the International Labour Association
- Officially certified by both the Global Organic Textile Standard and the Organic Soil Association
- Carbon Neutral, working with the Carbon Trust
- Certified by the Environmental Justice Foundation.
And most importantly...
- Our clothing is manufactured using only renewable energy (solar and wind).
- We also support young, up-and-coming artists from across the UK by supporting them financially and promoting them through our brand.
How did UEA Student Enterprise help you?
UEA Student Enterprise offered tonnes of support, particularly with regard to formulating an effective business plan which has been well thought through. Offering me a small grant helped kick-start the business through marketing and website design, as well as carrying out thorough market research to ensure the business worked well.
What worries did you have while setting up your business, and how did you overcome them?
The obvious worry was that we would not sell our stock. We carried out thorough market research to ensure the stock was valued by today’s market. We were also worried about problems such as contractual, copyright and intellectual property infringements, and a variety of other issues, many of which those at UEA Student Enterprise helped me overcome.
What ignited the spark in you to start a new business rather than look for work elsewhere?
Well I guess being at University I have so few responsibilities that I had no excuse not to give it a shot. I also really like the idea that I can do good for society and the world. UEA is all for positive change in the environment, and myself, as well as most of the students here, feel it’s necessary for small businesses to work with an ethical viewpoint – hopefully larger business can see us as a prime example to follow and lead suite. Catching A Fish In Norway for me is the first way to do this.
What motivates you?
What motivates me? I really enjoy the feeling of finishing something successfully and equally making a positive difference to those who need help more than I do. I wanted to create a business, CAFIN, which both supports me and supports those in need.
How do you define success?
Success for me is having an idea and sticking at it without giving up. Once you give up unnecessarily on something then you haven’t succeeded. Making an ethical clothing brand not only being sweatshop-free but also providing a real, fair living wage to those manufacturing the clothes. For me success, in this case, is making Catching A Fish In Norway a successful brand all while helping people and also not costing anything to our environment. Success for me is making money, guilt-free!
What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
Hitting my first month’s financial target was the most satisfying moment. To see a year’s worth of hard work present itself to me in the form of a box full of high quality clothes (my first batch of stock), really cheered me up, too! I ran around the UEA campus showing them off to everybody straight away.
What piece of advice would you give to university students who want to become entrepreneurs?
I would say whatever you want to do – give it a go – in the age of the Internet you’ve got nothing to lose. Even lost time is experience gained!