11 March 2021|Latest Posts, Launching a business, Meet the Successful Founder
My journey from sports to fashion has been a long and interesting one, rather than a step change, with lots of learning along the way.
Even though I am a dog person, I think about my life being that of a cat (with nine lives). I was independent from the age of 14 owing to an early career as a tennis professional, which I brought to an end at the age of 19; I travelled the world playing in tournaments such as Wimbledon and the French Open, as well as representing GB in the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. Next, I studied at home to make up for all the lost school years and managed to get a place at the LSE to study Economics. I was recruited by JP Morgan on their graduate programme and traded bonds and derivatives on the trading floor in London. I then moved to Brussels, where my partner lived, and brought up our two children there, before starting to work in my husband’s family-owned business as Finance Director. After an Executive MBA at Cambridge Judge BS, I founded Culthread, an ethical outerwear and lifestyle brand in 2018, and I am currently three years into a Doctorate in Business Administration, where my subject is concerned with Workplace Inclusion in the UK. I think that makes some seven ‘lives’ so far…
An individual sport like tennis, played to a professional level, requires an insular and somewhat selfish approach to literally everything. It’s basically all about you: how you prepare for matches, how much you train, where you play, how many tournaments you play in, what your ranking is, what you eat, how much you sleep. Sports professional is how you identify first and foremost, and there is little time for anything else. Though it sounds glamorous, and I travelled all over the world, it’s a tough life to live as a teenager, with no friends and no social life to speak of. I wasn’t at school and constantly on the move. There was also the massive pressure that I put on myself to improve, to win, to be the best. I think it’s fair to say that I was burnt out by the age of 19 and carrying some injuries that still haunt me now. I was also concerned that my future career options would be limited if I didn’t get myself an education somehow, albeit a few years later than the average student. One day I simply put my rackets down and decided to start afresh, and my “many lives” journey began.
The initial introduction into the fashion industry came about as a result of my husband’s business which produces high quality outerwear for international fashion brands. I joined the company initially in a finance role when the children were small, before taking on other responsibilities. As a business that designs, sources, manufactures and delivers high fashion outerwear, I was fortunate to be in a privileged position to see the way the industry works all the way through the supply chain. It was frustrating to see how even big brands were reluctant to take steps to move towards more sustainable fashion by sourcing recycled materials and packaging for example, despite our urging them to do so over the years.
Having a better understanding of the ethically marginalised and non-sustainable products and processes often employed in the fashion industry, such as natural fur and down, newly manufactured polyester, water guzzling cotton, non-living wages and appalling worker conditions, I became much more discerning about what I purchased and chose to wear. I thoroughly researched what garments were made of and how they were made. I found it especially difficult to find a beautifully styled, high quality jacket that was ethically produced, without animal products (which I refused to wear because of cruel industry practices). Eventually I decided that if it didn’t exist, I was going to have to start making it! That was the beginning of the process of starting my vegan, sustainable outerwear and lifestyle brand, Culthread™.
Fast forward two years and we’re three seasons in, our all women team has grown, we’ve sold hundreds of Culthread pieces, been featured in magazines like Red and Marie Claire, seen our jackets worn by multiple celebrities and learnt a lot along the way. Follow our journey on Instagram at www.instagram.com/culthread, and to browse our products head to www.culthread.com.
About Rina Einy
Rina has been involved in the outerwear business for over a decade as Managing Director of design and manufacturing company, Textyle; she has had a number of previous careers, in professional tennis, trading in an investment bank, and several years as a full-time mum! She has remained a strong believer in both equality and women’s empowerment, and was a Trustee at Dress for Success London, a charity that helps underprivileged women enter the job market for three years. Rina remains involved with the charity and regularly donates women’s outerwear.