Caroline & Jake Danehy — Turning Plastic Waste into a Sustainable Fashion Empire

The I Have Cool Friends podcast, hosted by Samantha Peszek, is a show that sparks inspirational conversations with experts about business, wellness, and personal development.

INTRODUCING CAROLINE & JAKE DANEHY:

This week, Sam welcomes Caroline & Jake Danehy, co-founders of Fair Harbor, an apparel company that converts plastic waste from the ocean into functional swimwear. Last year, the brother-sister duo was honored for their work in fashion and sustainability with a spot on the coveted Forbes “30 Under 30” list. The siblings talk about their entrepreneurship journey and how they transformed a passionate hobby into a multi-million-dollar brand in a highly competitive industry. Caroline & Jake discuss the dynamic of working together and how each brings a unique perspective and different strengths to the organization. They touch on the impact that COVID-19 had on their overall strategy and provide some best practices for others looking to launch their own sustainability brand. Finally, Caroline & Jake discuss their three-pronged approach to building a culture centered on family.

THIS EPISODE FEATURES INSIGHTS ON BUILDING A SOCIALLY RESPONSIBLE BRAND, OVERCOMING PAIN POINTS OF ENTREPRENUERSHIP & THINKING DIFFERENTLY:

  • How a brother-sister power duo launched an apparel company centered on fashion and sustainability
  • How Caroline & Jake came up with the idea for Fair Harbor
  • The competitor and the creator
  • Winning in a $20B industry
  • Taking constructive criticism in stride
  • From hobby to a full-fledged business
  • Caroline & Jake recall overcoming early pain points of entrepreneurship
  • Fair Harbor’s very first hire
  • A bathing suit made of plastic bottles
  • How Fair Harbor achieved $18M in sales during COVID-19
  • Thinking differently about advertising
  • Caroline & Jake talk about their roles at Fair Harbor
  • The three-pronged approach at the center of Fair Harbor’s culture
  • Advice for aspiring entrepreneurs
  • What’s next for Fair Harbor

WHAT DID CAROLINE & JAKE SAY?

“So that’s when the idea for Fair Harbor was born. Our objective was to create a platform to help promote the mitigation of used plastics by making an awesome product that people wanted to wear and love.” (Jake)

“For me, Fair Harbor has given me a purpose that I’m contributing to a greater good besides just myself and hopefully creating a path for a brighter future ahead.” (Caroline)

“Sustainability is ultimately why we founded the company and it’s our core mission and it always will be. But that’s not why people buy our product. So for us, we needed to focus on a single product that really enhanced someone’s life and made a difference.” (Caroline)

“Everything now that has allowed us to scale is attributed to those early days and really putting in the work.” (Caroline)

“Now, my role has really evolved more into a managerial position. I’m still doing a lot of those things, but now it’s more meeting with the people that are doing those jobs and overseeing that and helping drive the vision of the company that Caroline and I are working on together.” (Jake)

“For us it’s a three-pronged approach. One, you have to be skilled at your job. Two, you have to bring experience. And three, you have to be a good person.” (Caroline)

CONNECT WITH CAROLINE & JAKE & LINKS MENTIONED:

Fair Harbor Website

Fair Harbor Facebook

Fair Harbor Instagram

Jake’s Instagram

Caroline’s Instagram

CONNECT WITH SAM:

Sam’s Business

I Have Cool Friends Website

I Have Cool Friends Instagram

I Have Cool Friends Facebook

I Have Cool Friends YouTube Channel

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Samantha Peszek

Olympic Medalist & NCAA Champion. ❤️ IN // LA Co-creator of the @thegympire Speszekinfo@gmail.com