''If I don’t win, I learn. Even the worst experiences or hardest times can present opportunities''
Dominic is the Founder of Portance - The Impact-Driven German Fashion-Tech Startup. He has taken the challenge to answer our 20 Truth Questions, For us to gain some insight, And learn the Truth about the people behind the venture.
Our Award-winning Portance merinoTech vest will come to Kickstarter on 10 Ocotber. Your support and backing into our idea is much appreciated!
The product preview can be seen here:
My TRUTH Story:
1. INTRODUCE YOURSELF IN THE THIRD PERSON TO A CROWD OF 10,000+ PEOPLE? Dominic is a digital-savvy impact-driven founder from Germany. With his technology based, sustainable sportswear startup “portance”, he wants to make sportswear much smarter, greener and fit for the future.
Training routines have accompanied him since his youth and are an important part of his life. Regular workouts help him to lead a self-determined, fit & healthy life. Over time, however, it became increasingly difficult to integrate the gym into his demanding daily routine. During his studies, then as a young professional at a corporation often on the road, he often experienced stress and long working days in the office.
In 2020, he decides to discover what else lies inside him and realized his founder's dream. For him, this was a liberating decision for self-employment and the risky but self-determined life of a founder that can create a lasting impact.
On the 10th of October 2023, his brand portance will launch its second global crowdfunding campaign via kickstarter with an award-winning merino Outdoor Vest enabled by new digital YKK TouchLink zipper technology and treated with FUZE anti-odor textile treatment for long-lasting freshness (for washing less and wearing longer).
Please welcome Dominic Hammann...
2. WHAT IS YOUR DEFINITION OF A TRUTH FOUNDER? Truth Founders harness their ‘superpowers’ to create something exceptional, i.e. something meaningful with impact. Their personal vision aligns with their passion for innovation and their pursuit of business models that are aligned with CSR principles.
A Truth Founder understands the importance of long-term business success vs short-term money making and always seeks the second. In my case, it is the commitment to founding and operating the tech-driven sportswear startup Portance, a testament of my dedication to my personal truth story, my "why,. My personal truth story is rooted in my passion for (tech-driven) innovation and sustainability.
Truth Founders recognize the pressing need for eco-friendly and technologically advanced solutions in their markets and they are leading the way.
A Truth Founder is more than a business owner; he/she is a visionary leader who is making a positive impact on the world. He/she is able to easily inspire others to follow their path and support their journey towards a more ‘livable’ future for our grand-children.
3. WHAT EVENT OR EVENTS HAPPENED TO YOU THAT INSPIRED YOU TO BECOME A FOUNDER?
One morning after waking up I simply decided to start a sports fashion label, just like that.
Directly also due to my persistent feelings of dissatisfaction with my position in a well-known German DAX company. I hadn't been completely happy in my job for a while and had already resolved right after graduation to do something of my own at some point. Something with more meaning.
The hierarchy, the endless political entanglements and all the bureaucracy in my corporate job had dampened my enthusiasm and drive over the last few years. I longed for something more, an opportunity to pursue my passion, get creative and make meaningful change. It was then that I made the life-changing decision - I was going to become a founder.
I wanted to see what more there is to learn and what else was inside of me. This transformative 'whim' marked the beginning of my entrepreneurial journey, driven by a desire to break free from the constraints of corporate life and embark on a mission to shape a future of innovation, sustainability and meaningfulness.
4. WHAT IS YOUR MORNING ROUTINE & RITUAL? The first thing I do every morning after standing up is make my bed. It gives me that positive feeling of a “done to do” right after getting up. It also helps me to start my day with a structure and repetitive, positive routine. Before looking at any emails or work-stuff, I make myself a cup of coffee and enjoy it before I open my laptop and work emails.
5. WHAT MANTRA,QUOTE,LINE OR PHRASE DO YOU SAY OFTEN TO INSPIRE AND MOTIVATE YOURSELF? One quote I really like is ‘If I don’t win, I learn’. Even the worst experiences or hardest times can present opportunities, and you can take something positive out of them. It all depends on your point of view. You most certainly will have learned from mistakes you made and you will avoid making the same mistakes again. You grow and became a stronger, more confident person.
6. WHY DO YOU THINK PEOPLE SHOULD CARE ABOUT YOUR VENTURE? At portance, we do things differently. We want to be a transparent and ethical business. We exclusively produce in Europe with family-run partner factories where seamstresses earn fair wages. We give full transparency over our supply chain. We use the most sustainable anti-odor technology invented to date to future-proof our garments. With portance treated with FUZE™, you need to wash much less and can wear longer. You save water, energy and your time. Our products therefore have a much lower CO2 footprint. We create products that add value to our customers. A physical relief due to the no-smell feature and much more focus during workouts due to our smart design features. All our designs and colors are eternal and our technology helps ensure that our products will last you a lifetime (Antibacterial, UV protection for long lasting fiber quality, quick-dry, hyper evaporation, etc.). We help our customers to make better buying decisions when it comes to sportswear and fair fashion.
7. WHY DO YOU THINK YOU ARE THE ONE TO MAKE YOUR VENTURE A SUCCESS?
As a founder not originally from the fashion and textile industry, I do question the industry’s status quo. I dig deep and research what the mass market offers, how and where their products are made and who eventually pays the price. As a trained design thinker and agile coach, I value getting quick feedback with the help of our customers and developing meaningful new products that harm our planet less. Away from mass production overseas and quick money-making, we create slow-fashion sportswear. We are a product-driven startup that puts a lot of time and effort into creating unique products with value-added benefits. We are not a marketing company selling logos / branded products.
8. WHAT DOES SUCCESS LOOK LIKE FOR YOUR VENTURE? ( START WTIH: IMAGINE A WORLD... WHAT IF...WE WILL BE... )
Imagine a world where digital and technological innovations and biotechnology are used to do good, to create smart sportswear products that enable you to do more and to harm our planet less.
What if your sportswear garments become smart helpers, telling you exactly how and where they are made, what raw material has been used and how often you have already washed them?
What if you wear your Sport Shirt more than once without it being smelly?
What if you contribute to saving millions of liters of precious water by washing less?
Portance will be the sportswear brand that contributes to a cleaner, much more ethical textile industry and helps clients reduce water & energy consumption.
Portance will be the first sportswear brand to integrate innovative digital solutions into garments to elevate physical products into the digital world.
9. ANSWER THESE AS MANY TIMES AS YOU LIKE - I BELIEVE... I DON'T BELIEVE... I believe it is time for a change in the fashion industry.
I believe everyone should re-think its consumerism and buying habits.
I believe everyone can be a beacon for change.
I believe each person can find his/ her inner drive and overcome self-set barriers.
I believe everyone has the chance to be part of something meaningful, something bigger if we join forces.
I believe close friends and your family are very important.
I believe you should talk to your customers as often as you can.
I don’t believe a T-shirt should cost €10
I don’t believe we should give that much power to established global brands.
I don’t believe social media is always healthy.
I don’t believe we should always leave it up to others to change something.
I don’t believe we should be afraid of making mistakes.
I don’t believe in making a lot of money quickly.
I don’t believe digitization and technology is always bad.
10. WHAT'S ONE DECISION YOU MADE AS A FOUNDER THAT COMPLETELY CHANGED THE COURSE OF YOUR JOURNEY? Over a year ago, I joined a digital matchmaking / networking session that connected startups to established brands and business partners. I met Kurt who held a keynote about how to bring more sustainability to a fashion brand by using sheep wool as an all-natural fabric.
One year later, we have managed to jointly create a merino Outdoor Jacket that will be produced in Lithuania and already has won the European Commission WORTH project Award. Over the past few months, I have learned a lot from our collaboration and we pivoted our brand strategy even further to explore new, greener fabrics and technologies to be used for our garments.
The portance merinoTech vest will come to kickstarter on 10 October 2023 and will be made out of 100% merino wool. It will further bring a few industry firsts into an outdoor vest such as the YKK TouchLink technology and FUZE anti-odor tech.
11. WHAT DO YOU REGARD AS YOUR GREATEST SUCCESS PERSONALLY & AS A FOUNDER? One very recent great success story was being selected as a winner for the WORTH programme of the European Commission. The project granted us a funding of €10K and a 10-months incubation programme. It was been granted to portance and our partner Garlita for the design concept of the portance merinoTech vest, with the judges valuing it's technological innovation and sustainability concept.
Personally, one of the best moments or a great success was the decision to be a solopreneur.
12. WHAT DO YOU LIKE MOST ABOUT YOURSELF AND WHY? I personally like that I am born with this inner drive. Once I set a goal, I am very determined and it is easy for me not to lose sight of my vision & north star. I have a lot of stamina, even when things get difficult sometimes, and can often motivate myself well to stay on the ball and keep going. I think especially as a founder, this 'constant getting back up' is very important.
13. WHAT'S ONE THING YOU CAN IMPROVE ABOUT YOURSELF, AND WHY DO YOU THINK YOU HAVE NOT DONE IT BY NOW?
Oh, there’s many things… and as I mentioned earlier, for me life presents a lifelong learning and personal development journey. I guess one of the main character aspects I am still working on is my impact on others, or better put, my personal feelings and reactions to others who are not in line with what and how I am doing things or with me personally. In the past, I always looked for external validation. It was important for me to please everyone. I had issues with rejection and disapproval. I slowly learned and personally grew when it came to this ‘rejection’. It is ok that not everyone supports what you are doing or who you are. It is natural and I learned that it is not healthy nor possible to please everyone.
14. WHAT'S THE BEST PIECE OF ADVICE YOU'VE EVER RECEIVED OR GIVEN, OR BOTH?
Never make an emotional decision. Emotions can be very strong when something just happened (e.g. you are still in anger, excitement, fear, etc.). These emotional decisions are then very biased and most of the time you regret them. Take a deep breath, sleep over it and then postpone important decisions.
15. ON A SCALE FROM 1 TO 10 - 10 BEING THE BEST. HOW WELL DO YOU THINK YOU AND YOUR TRUTH STORY IS CLEARLY UNDERSTOOD BY YOUR COMMUNITY? ( WHY NOT 10? ) I guess it’s a solid 8. Among my friends and family, most people understand that if you are unhappy at a certain point in life, it is up to you to change it. My family and close friends want me to be happy and to live the life I desire. My inner drive and my pursuit of the WHY for portance is being seen as something that makes the portance brand a very personal one and hence the TRUTH Founder story is feedbacked to be an authentic one. I have some customers buying products because they like my motivation behind it and the overall vision. First, they ‘buy’ the WHY instead of the product.
Why not a 10? Well there’s still that minority that tells you that you are foolish to quit a well-paid corporate job and exchange it for a high-risk startup venture. Also, 9 out of 10 startups fail within the first two years, so this model is not for everyone.
16. WHO DO YOU MOST ADMIRE AND WHY? My parents and in general every parent raising kids. I know from my sister and her family how unselfish you have to be as a parent and how much you are willing to give to your kids. Your love, your learnings, your kindness, your life lessons, your support, your care. I do thank my parents who were and still are always here for me. They were very patient with me and had to have thick skin from time to time. If it would not be with their help & support, I would not be where I am at this stage.
17. DESCRIBE YOUR VENTURE - ELEVATOR PITCH STYLE?
Portance is an impact-driven German fashion-tech startup. We are here to create the future of technology-driven, smart sportswear for the active forward thinkers. Our minimal, yet functional sportswear is handcrafted in European, family-run partner factories and uses the greenest anti-odor technology invented to date for wearing longer and washing less. Our products have permanent antibacterial and odor neutralizing properties. The patented technology is non-chemical and based on non-ionic silver. This leads to 66% less fashion CO2 footprint of our garments.
Furthermore, we bring digital innovations to our physical products that facilitate the active daily lives of our customers and add the digital layer to physical products. To do this, we use NFC chip technology, for example, which is invisibly integrated into our minimal, seamless and elegant product designs.
18. WHAT IS YOUR CURRENT MISSION STATEMENT OR MESSAGE + MARKET FIT FOR YOUR VENTURE?
Portance engages in smart textile technologies to make athletic wear better, i.e. more future-proof (sustainable, socially responsible & economically viable) & more demand-driven.
Portance invests in sustainable customer relationships rather than quick transactions and provides personalized support to customers and its community. We are a product-driven startup learning from our customers to create zero-friction, smart athletic wear that enables efficient workouts and an active lifestyle.
19. WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO TO UNWIND AFTER A LONG WORK DAY?
I love reading (fictional) books and novels. They tell great stories and foster imagination and sometimes present food for thought, especially if they present a fictional picture of the (near) future of our society. I also love mountain-biking or (of course!) going to the gym after a long day in front of the laptop.
20. WHAT WAS THE LAST THING YOU TREATED YOURSELF TO AND WHAT DID YOU CELEBRATE? After an intense Q1 and Q2 in 2023, I treated myself to almost two full weeks on vacation in the Med in August. I love the ocean and swimming. It was not exactly a celebration but a relaxed trip with my parents to actively hit the 'pause' button and spend time with family and friends without being in work mode.
BONUS QUESTION: WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO SAY TO ALL THE PEOPLE THAT ARE SUPPORTING YOU ON YOUR AMBITIOUS JOURNEY?
I would like to let them know how important their support is for every impact-driven / Truth founder. Only thanks to an engaged, active network of like-minded people who offer support and are willing to share a founder story, a startup idea becomes reality and can convert into viable, sustainable business models. For me, for portance and for the whole sportswear industry, it is important that we start to act now and support the change in the industry so that also our children’s children can still enjoy an active, healthy life on a planet worth living on.
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