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  • Writer's pictureFatimah El-Rashid

Challenges & Takeaways of 2022

Updated: May 22, 2023

As we look back at the past year, it's been a rollercoaster ride for SHADY.CLUB in the fashion ecommerce space. We set out to tackle greenwashing by building a Chrome extension for sustainable fashion brands to reach customers looking for eco-friendly, sustainable options. But we quickly realised that the startup life is far from the glossy picture it's painted to be.

From securing investment to scaling our team, we faced numerous challenges in 2022. The landscape changed dramatically, with fewer investors willing to back female-founded startups, especially in the sustainability space. Our vision of promoting sustainable fashion was met with scepticism from investors with little knowledge of just how willing consumers are to buy sustainable fashion and just how ready the fashion industry is to embrace change.

I read somewhere that founders are in a never-ending loop of being humbled and being screwed. After more than half a year of bootstrapping our startup, we raised £120,000 in pre-seed, received Undaunted’s The Greenhouse grant of £20,000, and expanded our team. But with it, we had to deal with the challenges that came with the modicum of success.

Bring on 2023!

Despite the hardships, we remain steadfast in our mission. Our vision is clear: we are creating a future where consumers are in control of their fashion choices and sustainable fashion brands take front and centre. And always edging closer to our vision has kept us going. Last year has also taught us that resilience is key in any startup. The constant rejections, rollercoaster of emotions, inevitable betrayals and the uncertainty of what the next day brings can be soul-crushing; but they are nothing more than speed bumps and simply part of the journey.

As we enter 2023, we're taking these key takeaways with us. Our clear vision and resilience will guide us through the challenges ahead. Let there be scepticism but we won't conform to how others think. And we'll be patient in our pursuit of creating a better, more sustainable future for fashion.

We hope our journey can inspire others in the startup world. The road ahead may not be easy, but the rewards are worth it.


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