Today we’d like to introduce you to Clarissa Kusel.
Hi Clarissa, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
I started The Ocean is Female with one of my seasters in 2017. The goal? I wanted to deepen my surf community and create space for female surfers to share their stories. I craved a community of women who supported each other in the water regardless of surf experience, ethnic background, age, size, and geographic location. We quickly amassed over 20k followers and shared over 1,000 stories of female surfers around the world. It was, and still is, an incredible project. We succeeded in creating a safe space for women to share their truths and met hundreds of incredible female-identifying surfers around the world who are breaking down barriers, spearheading creative projects, and building spaces for not just themselves- but for all of us.
When faced with the decision of whether or not to transform The Ocean is Female from a passion project into a ‘real’ business, I knew one thing for sure: the only way I would ever feel comfortable profiting off a space created for all these amazing women was to bring the whole community along with us.
I met our third co-founder in graduate school at USC and she was the catalyst we needed to transition The Ocean is Female into what SeaBlue Collective is today. We pulled together our favorite aspects of The Ocean is Female: its supportive community, its focus on empowering women, and its collective love for our oceans. We centered these pillars around one goal: protect our oceans via the consumer industry.
Launching with many female entrepreneurs we met through The Ocean is Female, we created the first-ever ocean-friendly marketplace, SeaBlue Collective.
SeaBlue Collective is a social enterprise that empowers small businesses on their journey to become more ocean-friendly by promoting their products on our marketplace, providing sustainability measurement tools, and creating a vendor collective that supports and empowers one another. We hope that by creating a working definition of what it means to be ocean-friendly, we will change our consumer market to reduce the overuse of plastic, carbon, and toxic chemicals that ultimately harm our reefs, oceans, and marine life.
Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
Is entrepreneurship ever smooth? If anyone ever tells you that… run away! They really have never pulled up their sleeves and started anything from scratch.
Some of our main hurdles were figuring out how to start an LLC, paying taxes our first year, and attempting to run a business without capital. What that means really, is that my co-founder and I wore (and really still do) ALL the hats. We’re our own accountants, lawyers, operations, financial, and marketing teams. We have learned SO much in this process and I wouldn’t take it back for a second.
Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
Everything I do must make a difference. I feel as if the world just has SO MANY problems that if we aren’t working to reverse some of them… what are we spending our lives doing?
When launching SeaBlue Collective, I had spent many years working in the nonprofit world. When I discovered the ability to structure a business with a triple bottom line (social, environmental, and obviously- financial) I truly felt inspired to launch my own social enterprise.
All the work we do at SeaBlue Collective is to protect our oceans, truly define what it means to be an ocean-friendly business (and avoid greenwashing), and empower small businesses who want to make a difference. Come shop and support our growing community!
- Email: email@example.com
- Website: http://seablue.co/
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/seabluecollective/