In May, in honor of Small Business Month, Klarna invited small businesses to apply to receive one free year of payment services and $40,000 worth of free media services. One hundred small businesses were selected from the applicant pool, focusing on those most impacted by the pandemic, including minority and female-led businesses. In mid-July, Klarna announced the first group of recipients and is excited to share a bit more about these entrepreneurs and their businesses.
Meet Paula Maldonado, founder and CEO of Dauntless. Founded as a cruelty-free and sustainable pret-a- porter fashion label, all of Dauntless’ is a socially conscious fashion brand producing clothes in Bogota, Colombia, focusing on maintaining a responsible modern supply chain and responsibility for sustainability.
What inspired you to start your business?
In 2016 I found that there was a lack of transparency and honesty behind fashion brands regarding their supply chain, their lack of corporate responsibilities, and sustainability legitimacy. I have always been an activist and entrepreneur at heart and found that creating Dauntless would not only have a positive impact on our planet and consumerism but also had huge potential as a business. I wanted to create a fashion label with products that would become the staple garments of your wardrobe that represented the importance of sustainable values and social responsibility.
What are some challenges facing your business as a result of the pandemic?
During the pandemic, we had a reduction of sales because consumers were protecting their money and spending less on clothes that were for going out. However, on the positive side, we saw a change in consumer behavior where consumers are willing to spend 35% more on sustainable brands and 8 out 10 people prefer to shop a brand with sustainable and responsible values. This has helped us with our growth and closing partnerships with other retailers.
How might Klarna’s Small Business Impact Initiative grant help?
Having the support of Klarna, being a big player in payment gateways, that has the trust of millions of customers, has a huge impact on our growth and customer trust at Dauntless. With Klarna, we are able to give our customers the opportunity to buy sustainable products with payment plans. This helps our conversion rates as well as customer retention, referral, and satisfaction. Thanks to the Small Business Impact Initiative, Dauntless has the opportunity to have more visibility as a brand and support as a valued brand in the fashion industry.
How do you learn about who your customers are and what’s important to them? How does that impact how you run your business?
Through Google Analytics we see their flow through our website and the importance of products and our brand story. Through this, we are able to make changes to reduce cart abandonment and give our customers the trust they need when purchasing our products. Through surveys, we are also able to understand what they need and what they want to know before purchasing for the first time with Dauntless.
What have you recently read or listened to that has been an inspiration for your work?
“How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie has been a huge inspiration for how to portray our brand story and its values as well as understand our new and old customers. The podcast success story of Soul Cycle has also been an inspiration regarding resilience and to trust and believe in your company. Nothing comes easy without hard work.
What lesson would you go back and teach yourself before starting your business?
Definitely take some type of financial or accounting course to better understand the company’s financials, keep the cash flow safe as well as creating a responsible budget to have longer-lasting cash and lifespan of the business.
To learn more about the Small Business Impact Initiative winners and their signature products, click here.