Each week, Female CoFounder features a female founder in the community. Follow along each week and learn from different founders and their journeys.
Meet Joyce Lim, Founder of Sprout Collection
FcF: Tell us about yourself.
Joyce: I went to school in Singapore actually then I left and came to Toronto and studied at Osgoode Hall Law School for my J.D. My first job out of school was as a lawyer and I'm still practicing! From as early as I can remember I've always wanted to be a lawyer. I've always had a voracious appetite for books and for analyzing any kind of issue and I figured law would be a good blend of the two. I'm currently a corporate lawyer specializing in M&A and private equity transactions. I've been practicing for 7 years now and only recently took the jump into entrepreneurship!
FcF: What is Sprout Collection?
Joyce: Sprout Collection is Canada's premier destination for designer clothing that you can rent on a monthly subscription basis. For one flat membership price a month, you get a box of 4 pieces that you choose on our website. Shipping and dry cleaning are free! We are on a sustainability mission to revolutionize the way women think about and consume fashion. Save your wallet and the environment. You don't have to own the clothing, you only need to own the moment. Invest in good quality staple pieces; rent everything else from us!
FcF: How did you come up with Sprout Collection?
Joyce: I came up with the concept when I was heavily pregnant, still working at my day job, and was struggling to find good quality and stylish maternity clothing that allowed me to feel confident in my client-facing role and that could fit my growing baby bump.
I didn't want to spend money buying clothing that I would only wear for a short period of time. The more research I did into the cyclical nature of fashion, the more horrified I was upon learning that the fashion and textile industry is the #2 polluter on the planet.
Did you know that 1800 gallons of water are wasted on manufacturing a single pair of denim jeans?
I decided that there had to be a more sustainable way to consume fashion (especially something as transient as maternity wear), not only for your wallet but for the planet. The environmental and carbon footprint are further emphasized when you see how quickly fast fashion companies such as H&M and Zara scale across the world, only to toss billions dollars of unsold inventory into landfills every season.
Technology has been instrumental in making the world smaller and more connected than it used to be but it has also created an instant gratification syndrome where at one click of a button, you can purchase clothing from anywhere in the world just because you want to participate in the latest trends.
They then end up at the back of your closet for years, never to be worn again (did you know that the average woman only wears 1/3 of their closet?). I've always believed in a simple philosophy my mother taught me as a child: think of the cost per use.
If you invest in good quality items, they will last you for years, thereby reducing the cost per use to a negligible sum. However, good quality items can be cost-prohibitive which is why Sprout Collection is here to bridge that gap. We offer good quality designer pieces for rent at a fraction of the retail price.
FcF: How did you meet your Co-Founder? What do you look for in finding your Co-founders?
Joyce: My co-founder is my husband! And I met him on Tinder (tinder works!). My husband is a serial entrepreneur and he has already founded and successfully operates a couple of other businesses (check out Sell My Stuff Canada) so it was a no brainer for me to pick him as my co-founder. If he wasn't my co-founder, I would look for someone who is highly motivated and who has considerable drive to see something through.
FcF: What were the first few steps you took after you knew you wanted to pursue this idea?
Joyce: Lots of research. Research on friendly competitors in the US and potential competitors in Canada. Research on the designers and brands I wanted to carry as well as on the industry as a whole. Lots of iteration again and again on the financial and business model.
FcF: What advice do you have for other women who have a start-up idea or side project idea?
Joyce: Just do it. Do your research as well as you can but if you don't actually do it, you won't accomplish anything. By doing, you're constantly learning and iterating and you might end up with a totally different business model from where you first started. Apply for a business grant or a small business loan and use that money to run some test ads to see if your idea resonates with other people.
FcF: Is there anything you would like the Female CoFounder community to help you with?
Joyce: By connecting me with other like-minded entrepreneurs so that I can learn from them in their various expertise!
FcF: How can people connect with you?
Joyce: Feel free to email me at Joyce@sproutcollection.com