Success Stories: Canvaloop — starting a company and changing the world
July 27, 2021
We at Firstbase value our community of founders and love seeing what they do after incorporating with us. We’re bringing you an interview with one of our success stories to showcase what is possible when you don’t have to wait for or worry about the incorporation process.
Canvaloop is a successful fiber & retail company that is committed to embracing sustainability by maximizing its usage of environmentally friendly fibers. Canvaloop produces materials that are socially inclusive, increasingly viable, and easily available resulting in substantial breakthroughs in the textile sector.
We had the pleasure of interviewing Shreyans Kokra, the Founder and CEO of Canvaloop. We talked about his early years in the textile industry all the way up to his successful years with Canvaloop. Kokra has a diverse background in finance and business, but also in co-founding and leading a textile manufacturing and technology company with his family. Since he was a teenager, he has been actively engaged in his family's textile business, which has given him a comprehensive understanding of the industry.
One of the most impressive aspects of Canvaloop is its ability to manufacture hemp-based jeans.We are referring to the daily practice of dressing in an environmentally responsible manner. When Kokra named hemp as the main source for their fibers and textile production, the concept of Canvaloop blew us away.
Let's dive into the story of Shreyans Kokra and Canvaloop to discover more about how it all began, what hurdles they experienced, and a retrospective look at the progress they’ve made.
After getting 3 degrees in Finance at the age of 24 and relevant work experience - Kokra went to the US for his Masters in Entrepreneurship, with a clear plan of starting a Fintech venture or working for one. But as they say - ‘life is what happens when you are busy making plans.’
The idea of sustainability stuck with him in the US and he wanted to do something about it.
“We clearly see air pollution by burning of fuel and the enormous impact of plastic pollution daily - but what almost everyone has missed is the invisible textile pollution. Textile is the 2nd largest polluting industry on the planet and Surat - my hometown - is the hub of synthetic textiles,” shares Kokra. Thus, in 2016 - he started his journey of making the most sustainable textile/fashion material.
A significant tipping point
The key driving force for Canvaloop was the realization of the problem and how much pollution synthetic textiles can make. This, more than anything, drives the company’s progress and vision.
Canvaloop’s mission is to make sustainable fibers that could be part of every wardrobe by 2030. Besides this, the company's purpose and processes are aimed at making the fashion industry as a whole more sustainable by providing their technology to other brands.
Canvaloop has developed a Proprietary Technology to convert the hard stem of bast crops (like hemp) to a soft cotton-like structure. It is a holistic process that involves modifying the properties of agricultural waste of bast crops to make it ‘soft’ and compatible for spinning without damaging the properties of the bast fiber. The machinery used in the process is also custom-built by Canvaloop.
If you've lived long enough, you've probably noticed that life is full of unexpected twists and turns. We all face difficult situations in our professions. Similarly, Canvaloop has faced obstacles to growth. Lately, the issue of greenwashing has become a problem. Shreyans Kokra elaborates: "Many fashion manufacturers claim to utilize sustainable procedures and materials when in reality they are not. They will utilize only about 2% organic sustainable materials in a collection yet name the entire collection ‘sustainable,' and this is practically what all big brands do.”
Canvaloop aims to make a difference and educate people about this issue rather than stand by and complain about the other brands. They are confident that they will be able to influence both the industry and consumers to make better decisions.
“In life, we all face different issues. Sometimes, obstacles help us grow as individuals, while others are upsetting or hurtful, but we never give up,” Kokra adds.
Businesses must acknowledge that if they fail to educate their customers, the buyers will find the information for themselves and the firm will suffer as a result. For example, the consumer should know that every time they are washing a piece of synthetic clothing, they are releasing 1900 pieces of microplastics in the water. If they know this, maybe they'd be more thoughtful and they would prefer buying non-synthetic (natural) clothing.
“I believe that educating the consumer is the most basic and powerful tool because if the consumer understands the difference between being a fake ‘sustainable’ product and a genuinely sustainable product, they will adopt a more sustainable mindset.”
Progressively educating consumers to recognize the correct label is one of the most effective ways to make them conscious of what they’ve been wearing.
Customer’s satisfaction - a piece of advice
While customers may be demanding and difficult, organizations need to understand customers' wants and exceed their expectations. . Kokra’s advice to those who would like to open and build their own company is to “...concentrate on the product and keeping customers happy - everything else can be managed and will be fine”.
Canvaloop has a deceptively simple culture and Kokra is a firm believer in getting things done, doing them correctly, and learning by doing. The team culture encourages openness and transparency, keeping to deadlines and asking for help if needed. Being honest with each other and working with your whole heart is their secret in building a successful organizational culture.
Future career goals
Canvaloop’s goal is to be present in every market by the end of the year and in every wardrobe by 2030.
This story is intriguing as it reveals a totally different perspective and journey toward not only success and stability but also a more sustainable world. It's an incredible narrative by a founder who has encountered many hurdles and has come up with his own technology to make a change. It’s so amazing to interview such great people and knowing that the first step towards their success and growth has been Firstbase.
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