In this week’s entrepreneur empowerment interview, we’re chatting to Duvan Couvée, CEO and Co-Founder of Pure Sportswear. Focusing on entrepreneurship in 2020, we talk about dedication, long hours, sacrifices and what makes it all worthwhile.
A bit about the Co-Founder, Duvan Couvée
When I’m not working, I exercise on a regular basis, paint and go out with friends. Because of all the hours I work, I don’t see my friends much, so when I can see them, even if it’s only for an hour, it’s an absolute must!
About the Business, Pure Sportswear
Dutch startup fashion brand, Pure Sportswear, produces its garments from recycled polyethylene terephthalate, or PET bottles. Voted as the most sustainable sportswear brand of 2019, the brand uses recycled plastic bottles found in oceans to produce sustainable textiles. These are collected by NGOs and donated by companies and organisations that no longer use them.
Why did you set Pure Sportswear up? What were you looking to do both on an entrepreneurial and personal level with running your own business?
We started Pure Sportswear because we believe that people should become more aware of what they do and don’t do. The clothing industry is such a polluting industry where a lot of profit is made, but it doesn’t take responsibility for its production. We started to think: how can we change this?
What do you remember about those early days and how have things changed for you since then?
The early days were mainly looking at what is possible. It was very playful and not at all serious. If I have to compare how it used to be with how everything works now… it’s a world of difference
What/Who has helped you along the way continue to grow and evolve?
We set up the company as a trio, made up of myself, Remco Harmsen and Thomas van Maris. Unfortunately, they have stopped and put the trust in my hands to further develop the company. But besides business partners, we have been lifelong friends and they have helped me grow both professionally and personally.
Do you have ‘mindset musts’ that you swear by?
I believe that nothing is impossible. It may just take a little longer to get there. Ultimately, I believe that if you put energy into something and you get energy back from it, it should be enough to push your persistence to the limit.
I have no other rituals or other things that I swear by. Keep it simple, don’t overcomplicate things, but do have a clear goal in mind and a goal for after that one. I sometimes say: As long as we breathe, we live, as long as we live there is no room to stand still. When you stand still, you miss the opportunity you are working for.
How do you cope with and overcome barriers? Are there any that really stand out?
I overcome my barriers by tackling them one by one. Many try to overcome several barriers at the same time, but that doesn’t work. As long as you conquer everything one by one, you keep an overview of everything. You can apply it more easily and you run into barriers that you have to overcome less often.
What do you define as success for you and how do you celebrate it? Are there any standout moments?
What is success for me? That’s a good question! It may sound a bit strange, but for me, success is when I have peace of mind. I have this when I achieve goals. Then I know that I am on the right track.
When I am constantly busy in my head I know that I am not doing well and I have to make a change. The calmer I am, the more successful I am in life.
What are the top lessons that you’ve learnt as an entrepreneur?
I have learned as an entrepreneur that other people think that it is all easy for you, that you are always free and you always have money to spend. While the hard truth is exactly the opposite. I have to sacrifice for everything I work for, every hour I am free I have to catch up later because work always continues and I never have money because everything is put back into the company.
What are your top tips for anyone dreaming on setting up their own venture, struggling with getting it off the ground, or equally, are in it, but finding it hard (particularly amid COVID-19)?
It doesn’t matter how harsh the situation is, you’re in it, fully committed. It’s the way you deal with it that sets you apart from the rest. Be yourself and don’t try to please other people. Set clear goals for yourself, how you want to achieve them and don’t be afraid to ask for help from the people you admire. They also started somewhere.
To hear and see more about Pure Sportswear, follow them over on Instagram @PureSportswear.
You can also find out more about our entrepreneur empowerment series @lionspiritmedia