Name: Paul Donati
CAFIN supports an innovative artist collective in designing 100% ethical and environmentally sustainable clothing.
Tell us more about Catching a Fish in Norway
CAFIN is changing the fashion industry – with the aim of improving people’s lives, reducing environmental impacts from the fashion industry, and offering people a sustainable and premium alternative to their streetwear needs.
How did UEA Student Enterprise help you?
CAFIN has been awarded over £10,000 in grant funding and has had a huge amount of support from the Enterprise team, procurement and the UEA marketing team.
What worries did you have while setting up your business, and how did you overcome them?
Starting my first business meant a risk of finances and time. Setting up an e-commerce business/brand isn’t too costly – but involves a huge amount of time, effort and determination to pull through.
What ignited the spark in you to start a new business rather than look for work elsewhere?
Most people understand the importance of the fashion industry on the world – the impacts it has on people’s lives and on the environment. I wanted to create a social enterprise for good – one which gives the team an income post-graduation, while being a force for good and showing other brands and business that sustainable profit is possible.
What motivates you?
CAFIN’s impact continues to motivate the entire team – we look at innovative solutions to creating sustainable fashion, and try and help those involved in manufacturing, from a grass-roots level – offering solutions to cotton farmers to farm organically, and by working with factories to uphold fairtrade working conditions and a high quality of life for those involved in creating our clothing.
How do you define success?
Success for me is when CAFIN provides a sustainable source of income for all our team – with measurable social and environmental impacts which, even if small, have some impact on the way the fashion industry works.
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!