Sam Seljak, Co-Found & Director of Seljak Brand
Meet the wonderful Sam Seljak, an eco warrior whose business with her sister Karina is changing the world, one cosy blanket at a time. We can learn a lot from Sam, whether it be eco-friendly business practices, juggling a new business with the need for income (girl's gotta eat) and how to unwind with the help of Broad City. Thanks for joining us on #shemakesnice, Sam.
Hi Sam, what do you do?
I am a co-founder and director of Seljak Brand along with my sister Karina Seljak. Seljak Brand imagines a world without waste. We find new ways of making and using beautiful things that are regenerative by design.
Our first product, which is launching in April, is recycled wool blankets made using offcuts from the factory floor of Australia’s oldest mill in Tasmania. The blankets are made from 70% recycled merino wool and a 30% blend of recycled alpaca, mohair and polyester for strength. After the blanket has enjoyed a long, adventurous life we’ll collect it free of charge using Sendle, a carbon neutral courier service. Back at the mill, we’ll shred it and spin it into new yarn to make future blankets. This closed loop model allows us to divert waste from landfill and create a luxurious and useful blanket for the coziness of our customers.
Do you have a maxim that you live and work by?
I have a few: Less is more. Quality not quantity. Think global act local. Waste not want not.
What are the three milestones that have led you to where you stand?
1). Realising I wanted to start my own business and resigning from my full-time job to enable it to happen.
2). Going to India for three months with Karina to plan and ideate Seljak Brand, and research the textiles manufacturing industry over there.
3). Actively finding a way to make an income while launching a small business. It’s a struggle and a juggle!
What is your dream project?
My dream project is working on an industry-wide movement to reduce waste, whether it’s in the food or textiles/fashion industry or in an industry less tangible like tech and shift it towards reusable resources, products and services.
What projects do you have in the pipeline?
At the moment we are looking to sell our first Seljak Brand blankets at the beginning of April. From there, we will begin working on our next collection of blankets... We will also look at introducing another product to the mix in the coming year, whether that be raincoats of recycled plastic or a food product made from a commercial kitchen waste stream we’re yet to find out!
If you could choose to hear any female contemporary present at Make Nice, who would it be and why?
Ellen Macarthur (of the Ellen Macarthur Foundation) she is a futurist and has brought together a lot of wonderful thought leaders to accelerate the transition to the circular economy. She recognises business as the most powerful changemaker. We are very inspired by her work and the circular methodology she advocates for is the essence of Seljak Brand.
What is the best advice you’ve been given, or wish you had been told sooner?
Done is better than perfect.
Do you have a supportive female network in your field? Was it always this way?
There is definitely a supportive female network in the field of sustainable and ethical textiles and fashion. Many of the other companies we know in this space are female owned and operated (and some of them are our great friends!).
What are you listening to, reading, watching of late, that is inspiring or entertaining you?
READ: I just read Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg (COO of Facebook) and I was so impressed by her approach to gender equality in the home and workplace, her attitude towards work, and her drive and success.
LISTENED: I’ve been listening to The Internet a whole heap – Syd the Kyd is without doubt one of the raddest frontwomen ever! I also just saw Ibeyi live. They are AfroCuban twin sisters who are from Paris. Their music is lush.
WATCHED: I’ve been watching Broad City season 3 as it’s been dropping. Those two actually make me laugh hysterically on my own. It’s the best thing to watch when you need to unwind.
What is one facet of your field that you want to see change?
Aside from more females in leadership roles generally, I want to see the engagement of more women from culturally diverse backgrounds across all industries.
How can we find our more about your work?