Ioanna Mantzouridou Onasi
DeGRwear PCC (aka DGR)
Meet Ioanna Mantzouridou Onasi, the founder of DGR – a sustainable fashion brand from Greece.
Ioanna is an entrepreneur who has decided to combine her love for fashion with her passion for sustainable business. We asked her more about her journey. Read on below to find out more.
PLEASE TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF AND THE BUSINESS YOU STARTED.
Hi, my name is Ioanna. I am 21 years old and was born in Thessaloniki, Greece. I knew early on I had a deep interest in international business and after attending plenty of summer programs on sustainability in the USA throughout high school, these two merged and led to my passion for sustainable business. I later came to the states for college and I am graduating this May from St. Lawrence University with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Communications. These two fields enhanced my knowledge of business by understanding better the consumers’ behaviour.
I am the founder of DGR, a sustainable fashion eCommerce company.
By combining my aforementioned interests along with my passion for fashion I started DGR in 2017 in Greece, right in the middle of the political, economic, and social world crisis. DGR is a type of business that acts in time, while the local social, political and economic environment is diffusing as an epidemic and spreads its web steadily, more and more the darkness, the despair, depression, withering, distraction, fear, doubt, chaos, bankruptcy, and the destruction. DGR has both courage and vision. Because there is hope for tomorrow and for a New Sustainable World.
As found on our website: DGR, looks forward to developing in a different economic entity/organism that will cater to one of the basic human needs, clothing. Combining a mesh of cooperation and other connected but meanwhile, autonomous entrepreneurial initiatives which will cover the other two basic human needs; food and housing. This will set the foundation through new filters of entrepreneurship, cooperation, creation, quality and value, under one cause; pure sustainability.
WHAT DOES YOUR TYPICAL DAY LOOK LIKE AND HOW DO YOU STAY PRODUCTIVE?
As the Marketing Director of DGR, I am constantly learning new ways of reaching out to our audience through the use of social media. Taken the global pandemic and the way the world has gone online, I attend virtual webinars and related classes. I also follow the news about sustainability and try to connect with like-minded individuals. Daily, I update our social media accounts and create new content.
THE JOURNEY SO FAR
PLEASE DESCRIBE THE PROCESS OF LAUNCHING YOUR BUSINESS.
I knew that I wanted us to start without a physical store, so we had to find professionals to help us set up the e-shop, then find photographers, a model and a stylist to help us with the products’ photoshoot. Also, we had to find other talented women whose mothers taught them how to knit. My whole family is part of DGR. My sister Sonia as the Product and Quality Control Director and my mother Mary as the Administrative & Creative Director, have been absolutely helpful. My dad is a little bit everywhere helping us along the way with his business experience and knowledge.
The hard part was to find our niche which is well educated, woke people who want to change the world through sustainable fashion. It took us a while to experiment with different demographics and get feedback from our friends and people we reached out to, but we have our target market now and we are focusing on putting our name out there, and creating men’s clothes.
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR BIGGEST ACHIEVEMENT AND YOUR BIGGEST CHALLENGE SINCE YOU STARTED YOUR BUSINESS?
I think as an entrepreneur you ALWAYS have to have your back, you need to believe in yourself and your vision, even if no one else does. But this can be hard sometimes, as we all have our insecurities and the market is very competitive! I would say the most challenging thing is to maintain a positive mindset, but with intrinsic motivation, you can do everything! My biggest achievement, therefore, comes every time I feel my efforts are being seen and appreciated by others, which makes my vision grow even more.
WHAT STRATEGY DID YOU USE TO GROW YOUR BUSINESS? AND HOW?
DGR is a believer of a word to mouth. This is the best advertisement and takes the most time as it is all about connecting with people and creating sustainable relationships.
WHAT IS YOUR VISION FOR THE FUTURE OF BUSINESS?
I want DGR to become a leading example of a small sustainable business structure that can change the status quo and operate internationally while being profitable.
RECOMMENDATIONS & FINAL THOUGHTS
ARE THERE ANY RESOURCES OR TOOLS YOU WOULD LIKE TO SHARE WITH OTHERS THAT HAVE HELPED YOU RUN YOUR BUSINESS?
An amazing family that has supported me throughout the whole process and keeps helping me grow as an individual and a businesswoman. We don’t all get blessed with supportive families, but you can put yourself out there and try to meet the right people that will be there for you when you need them, the same way you will be there for them. Don’t lose hope, have faith in humanity.
WHAT OR WHO HAS BEEN YOUR GREATEST INFLUENCE IN BUSINESS AND WHY?
Seeing what Fashion Revolution has done in terms of raising awareness and bringing people from all walks of life together is very inspiring for us.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO OTHER WOMEN WHO WANT TO START THEIR OWN BUSINESS?
Definitely believe in yourself! There is a reason why you have the need to start your own company. You see yourself differently in the future, you want to make a change in your life and in other’s life. Then go ahead and overcome every single difficulty you are faced with, and succeed.
IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE YOU WOULD LIKE TO SHARE WITH OUR READERS?
Please feel free to contact me at [email protected] if you have any questions or if you just want to connect 🙂
Welcome to the Biz Ladies interview series!
If you’re new to these series, I interview women entrepreneurs on how they started their business, what was the idea behind it, how they got where they are, the struggles, the reality and more.
By sharing their stories, we want to inspire other women to get started.
If you are interested to share your own story on the Biz Ladies LET ME KNOW!