Student entrepreneur SEA'SONS introduces amazing swimming trunks
“From blue to orange: just a dive away”
Swimming trunks which change colour completely as soon as you jump into the water. Student Tom van Dieren carried out research for more than a year in order to develop this unique technique. His Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign was launched February 20 and within a day he reached his target amount. “My dream?” To inspire students later on with my story to become entrepreneurs and follow their dream too”, says Tom.
You don’t have to have a six-pack in order to stick out at the beach or at the swimming pool this summer. Wear student Tom van Dieren’s swimming trunks and you will be sure to attract everyone’s attention. 19-year-old Tom is placing unique swimwear on the market with SEA’SONS Swimwear.
Leap of faith
In the first weeks of his Small Business and Retail Management studies at Saxion, University of Applied Sciences, Tom was already busy thinking about ideas for a business. “I want in-depth knowledge and want to do more than just follow classes. In the train on my way to a party I suddenly thought: What if swimming trunks could change colour? You jump into the swimming pool with a blue pair of trunks and come out with an orange pair. That would be cool.”
From idea to product development
His business idea grew after he heard Drukwerkdeal founder Marco Aarnink speak. “That was very interesting”, says Tom. “How he built his business and became successful, really inspiring.” Tom approached Marco after the presentation to share his idea. “Marco was immediately super positive and offered to help me more. A week later I was sitting around a table with Patrick, also an experienced entrepreneur, in the Postillion Hotel.” In this way the idea grew and product development began.
Experimenting with fabric and pigments
Tom’s search started online. What already exists? How does colour change occur? What fabrics and techniques are there? And which colours and pigments? He also spoke to teachers from the Fashion and Textile Technologies program and shared his idea with as many people as possible. At the same time he began running tests. Tom explains: “At home I experimented with pigments, fabrics, a picture frame and my mother’s pantyhose. It wasn’t very successful, but it did give me a lot of insight.” Lots of tests followed. “And last summer I gave my friends swimming trunks to try out, to see if the concept actually works.” Now he has found the right combination of pigment, fabric and technique and production will soon start.
In the EW/Saxion Ondernemers Award final
“My idea was still at an early stage when I signed up for the EW/Saxion Ondernemers Award competition at the beginning of 2017”, says Tom. Actually the registration period had already finished, but Tom persuaded Yvonne from the Saxion Centrum voor Ondernemerschap to receive his application. Since then, thanks to a lot of enthusiasm and some bluffing, he has come very far. “I didn’t have anything to show. It was still in the idea phase really. Luckily I am quite good with technology”, he says, laughing. “I made and edited a video clip, so that it looked as if the swimming trunks changed colour. The jury was impressed.” He was surprised that he had reached the final in the end – the only first-year student to do so. “I didn’t win, but the whole process did generate a lot of feedback and new contacts.”
With grandma’s help
Tom is very happy with all the support he is receiving. “Of course I am very active and motivated myself, so others become enthusiastic around me. Still, I think it is extraordinary that so many people are helping me to place SEA’SONS swimwear on the market.” At Novel-T he shared his business plan with Mike and Roy and received advice about protecting his brand, among other things. Saxion selected him to pitch his idea during Get in the Ring at the academic year opening ceremony. And he was allowed to carry out lots of tests at a press in Enschede. “Even my grandmother is involved in my dream”, says Tom, proud. “She sewed the very first swimming trunks that I tested myself while I was on holiday.”
Combining entrepreneurship and study
Tom has always had an entrepreneurial attitude. “I would take reading lamps on holiday, which I would then resell to family and friends.” He has recently had to give up his side job in order to be able to spend more time on his startup company. “But I still buy scooters on Marktplaats, which I fix and resell for a profit together with my dad.” He hopes that he will soon not need the extra income any more. “Even if SEA’SONS swimwear is a success, I do want to finish my studies. I find it tremendously motivating that Saxion gives me the opportunity to combine study and entrepreneurship.”
Curious about the opportunities in student entrepreneurship? Check it here.