Isifiso, a Croydon-Based Sustainable Fashion Startup, Honored Among the UK’s Top Small Businesses

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Isifiso, a South Norwood firm founded by Kavitha Soundararajan, has secured a spot in Small Business Saturday’s prestigious list of the top 100 small businesses in the UK. Specializing in recycled products and sustainable fashion advocacy, Isifiso offers a range of reusable items crafted from recycled materials, such as cloths, soap bags, and cutlery bags. The business also conducts workshops promoting sustainable fashion, imparting valuable skills like sewing and mending. With a commitment to extending product lifecycles, most items come with a repair and return service, all meticulously handmade in Croydon.

Small Business Saturday UK, an initiative celebrating small business achievements and urging consumers to support local enterprises, recognized Isifiso for its impactful contribution to sustainable practices.

Expressing her excitement, Ms. Soundararajan said, “I was elated when I learned about the Small Business Saturday announcement. While I didn’t anticipate receiving this recognition, our business has been consistently thriving.”

Having relocated to the UK from India at 24, Ms. Soundararajan initially ran local market stalls, uncertain about establishing her own business. Reflecting on her journey, she shared, “Selling handmade items is deeply personal, and as a small business owner, managing the workload can be challenging. Witnessing people’s interest in our workshops and products has been truly gratifying.”

Supported by Croydon Council, Ms. Soundararajan kickstarted her venture through the South Norwood Business Launchpad scheme in 2022, funded by the Mayor of London’s Good Growth Fund. This initiative aimed to empower entrepreneurs who completed the council’s South Norwood Business Builder course, offering them a platform at the Clock Tower Market in South Norwood to test their business ideas.

Ms. Soundararajan, one of the program’s two winners, received a four-month pitch at the market, a marketing budget, and mentoring sessions with an established trader. She acknowledged the impact of the South Norwood Business Launchpad, saying, “The scheme provided me with essential marketing skills, and through the program, I connected with fellow traders, discovering a wealth of talent, passion, and ideas in the community.”

Commendation from Jason Perry, Executive Mayor of Croydon

Jason Perry, Executive Mayor of Croydon, extended congratulations to Kavitha and the Isifiso team, expressing pride in witnessing Croydon’s small businesses thrive. Acknowledging Isifiso’s craft and hard work, he emphasized the priority of supporting local businesses and highlighted the role of programs like the South Norwood Business Launchpad in nurturing essential business skills among traders.

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