SEAAV Founder Talks Building A Sustainable Activewear Brand

SEAAV Activewear

MP recently chatted with McKenna Haz, founder of SEAAV, a sustainable activewear brand. SEAAV serves as a way for Haz to marry her mission to clean up the ocean with her athletic career as an NCAA rugby player. To date, SEAAV has diverted over 100,000 plastic bottles from the ocean, upcycled plastics into every garment, and donated 1% of its profits to We The Reef. For Haz, this is just the beginning.

McKenna Haz SEAAV Founder
SEAAV founder McKenna Haz / Photo courtesy of SEAAV

SEAAV

What is SEAAV?

SEAAV is sustainable activewear. If you’re anything like us, looking good when you sweat isn’t enough—you want to do good, too. Whether you’re hitting the gym, hiking a mountain, or getting your daily dose of vitamin sea, we can help. SEAAV is activewear that’s made from plastic bottles.

Most active sportswear brands produce garments made from virgin polyester, a synthetic fiber created via a chemical reaction. We see a future for activewear without virgin polyester, a more responsible and sustainable future. Each SEAAV garment is made with recycled polyester, which reduces emissions by 75%, water usage by 90%, and energy usage by 50%.

SEAAV Activewear
Photo courtesy of SEAAV

What are three obstacles you’ve faced while growing SEAAV?

1. Impatience

I’m not a patient person… but building a brand doesn’t happen overnight. Building a strong community, partnerships, and customer base takes a long time and patience. This takes continuous effort and work; for example, I’ve been in discussions with some companies for over a year, and we are just beginning the design process for them now.

2. Being Told “No”

Starting a business on a low budget in college makes for a lot of cold outreach via phone and email. I’ve learned to not let a “no” get to me. There will be a lot of no’s before you get to a yes! But when you get to a BIG yes, man does it feel good!

3. Fundraising

I realized that to grow a nationally known brand, you need to fundraise. The structuring of a raise and the process of bringing on investors has been new to me and, quite frankly, very overwhelming. There are multiple different ways you can go about a raise. Thankfully, I have great mentors who have been able to help me with this process.

SEAAV Activewear
Photo courtesy of SEAAV

How do you plan for SEAAV’s Future?

I plan for the future by creating short-term and long-term goals. For example, one of my goals for SEAAV is to remove 1,000,000 plastic bottles of waste from our shorelines by 2025 through ocean clean-up initiatives.

How do you build a thriving customer base?

Creating a mission that people can get behind. For us, our differentiator is our ocean clean-up efforts. For every purchase of SEAAV, we remove one pound of waste from our shoreline, and one percent of our profits goes to planting corals. The more your customer base is passionate about the company’s mission, the more brand ambassadors you’ll have, spreading light on your company. This is when the true magic happens!

Entrepreneurship

What three questions should would-be entrepreneurs be asking themselves before starting a business? 

  1. What is the problem you are solving?
  2. Is this something I’m truly passionate about?
  3. Do I have the bandwidth/time to commit to building this?
SEAAV Activewear
Photo courtesy of SEAAV

What does your typical day look like? 

Every day is different, and I’m still working on creating an excellent work-life balance. 

A perfect work day would be: Getting up in the morning with my tea and doing two hours of outreach/responding to emails before exercising. Once I’m back, I’ll get ready, have my virtual meetings for the day, and go down my to-do checklist. Ideally, I finish around 3-4 pm and have the rest of the day off to be with family and friends,  go to the beach, or hike. A perfect work day happens maybe once a week. 

What three factors contribute to an entrepreneur’s success, and why?

1. Strong Communication Skills

It is fundamental to be able to articulate your business and nail down your 60-second elevator pitch. When leading a team, a lot comes down to a clear line of communication. 

2. Networking

People power is real! The more people you connect with in a day, the more you will be successful. If you are constantly opening doors, more opportunities will present themselves. As soon as you become stagnant, you will run into issues.

3. Passion

With all the hours you put into running a business, there really is no point if you don’t love what you do. Luckily, SEAAV is a combination of everything I love built into a dream job! Some days it doesn’t feel this way, but it is a key reason why I keep going because I believe in our mission and the impact we are making. 

SEAAV Activewear
Photo courtesy of SEAAV

Leadership

What three characteristics define an effective leader? 

  1. Selflessness
  2. Grit
  3. Passion

Cover photo courtesy of SEAAV.