What’s your story?
Alizee Hazan, Founder, and CEO, is originally from Belgium and has a family deeply rooted around the Mediterranean Sea and Africa. The idea behind EKZO was to create clothing and accessories inspired by both the modern and minimal styles of northern Europe complemented by the vibrant colors and motifs of African textiles. The name EKZO comes from the word exotic. Every product we design is accented with original African wax fabric and made to look, feel, and inspire you to #livekzotic!
Alizee’s grandfather was a pioneer in the textile industry in Congo in the early 50’s. A time when segregation was at its highest between white and black people, he was the first one to open his stores in Leopoldville Congo to both white and black. (which at the time had to shop in different stores).
Alizee channeled this inspiration to build her own clothing and accessories company based upon the principles of sustainability and using only 100% natural fibers.
What is your “why”?
The reason why is simple. I wasn’t able to find any clothing that was comfortable, affordable, and most importantly 100% natural. (Synthetic fibers make me uncomfortable, they smell very quick if you sweat even just a little bit and they don’t breathe properly. More importantly, they don’t biodegrade!).
How hard can it be to make a simple white tee with cotton and a cool loose fit for women? I figured I was probably not the only one looking for affordable 100% natural clothing that is cool looking and good quality, so I decided to start EKZO and provide a solution to this problem.
What’s your flagship product?
Depending on the season, our clothing best sellers tend to rotate between our Flannel Button-Down and Everyday Pants to our Explorer Tees and linen shorts. Our accessories best sellers are the Signature Beach Towels and our cashmere blankets. Our customers are both men and women who appreciate quality products made from 100% natural fibers.
Why does sustainability matter?
Sustainability is very important to us because it represents people coming together for a greater good. The importance of preserving the earth is something that everyone should recognize, understand and work towards every way we can.
Our ideal customer is someone who appreciates quality clothing made from 100% natural fibers. They practice sustainability in their day to day lives, live an active lifestyle, and love travel and adventure. More importantly, our ideal customer is someone who represents the core values of EKZO and is a kind and genuine person.
Do you contribute to your local community?
EKZO contributes to our local community in a variety of ways. We are contributing members to the Ocean Beach Mainstreet Association, we sponsor local young surfers and assist with discounted entry for all local surf competitions, and have an annual raffle fundraiser where all proceeds are donated to a charity of choice.
Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started?
Work hard and enjoy the journey. Starting and growing a business is not easy and takes a lot of time and effort. Seeing that time and effort pay off when you achieve goals or milestones makes it all worth it. Best advice is don’t give up, stay aware of your environment. Don’t shy out from new challenges and obstacles (because there will be more than you think).