Small Business Saturday 2020: Melissa Gil of MG Surfline
For Small Business Saturday, I’m thrilled to introduce you to Melissa Gil, the owner and founder of MG Surfline. We met on a panel during Plastic Free July and immediately hit it off. She’s a successful momtreprenuer, athlete and all around good person.
Melissa, please tell us your story.
My story begin with a love for the ocean that runs so deep, it has become the driving force behind everything I do in my life, on a personal level and on a business level with our purpose-driven eco-conscious brand, MG Surfline.
I grew up in Costa Rica, and as long as I can remember I was always drawn to the ocean. Born with webbed feet and my last name being Gil, people often joke that the only thing I am missing is actual gills.
My dad always reminds me of a special childhood memory. I was in my dad’s arms playing and splashing in the water, as I looked around me I was in awe… so I turned to my dad and said “Papi Papi que Lindo es el Mundo.” “Daddy, daddy, the world is so beautiful.” I must have been five years old.
Since then, I knew I wanted to become a marine biologist. With the years, it was more than natural for me to develop a passion for watersports and I became a professional kitesurfer and surfer. I’m honored and humbled to have won many national and international titles, including Kite Speed World Champion in 2009 and breaking the Outright US Women’s Speed Record at 38 knots.
As a professional athlete and adventurer, I’ve had the opportunity to travel to some of the most exotic and beautiful places in the world. Sadly, I’ve seen 1st hand that there is no shoreline untouched by plastic pollution. It has become my biggest motivator in making personal and professional changes always striving to live as sustainably as possible.
MG Surfline grew out of those moments we felt connected with nature and the elements.
We are an eco-conscious small family business with a big dream.
Our mission is to inspire and empower women to lead a happy, active, healthy and sustainable way of life by providing them with quality, stylish and functional swimwear and activewear made in an environmentally and ethically conscious way.
Our approach towards product design emerged from a life lived outdoors and is based on years of experience in the water. We have been working on perfecting our designs for a body in constant motion, we wanted them to meet our criteria of beauty, durability, versatility and comfort but we also wanted more.
How can we claim to love the ocean and sit idly watching it get more and more polluted with plastic?
For us, it’s not about selling bikinis. This is personal. It’s our ocean. It’s our playground. It’s our life. We are a community of women loved by the ocean, doing everything we can to protect it.
Inspired by our love for the ocean and a better future, we decided to take a risk and be bold in business.
We believe in protecting our environment, promoting sustainability, social good, and the well being of our community, and make all our operating decisions based on our core values.
We aspire to be a part of the solution to the global issue of ocean plastic pollution.
We organize beach clean ups and empower others to do the same. We use our story and products to educate and bring awareness to the issue, shaping a community of problem solvers and empowering a generation of strong female athletes and ocean lovers.
In giving back to our community, we inspire others to be bold, to be passionate, and to advocate for what they think is important.
We embedded sustainability practices into our business model and purpose. We committed to have 100% of our line made from recycled plastic that could otherwise end up in our oceans. For this first eco-collection, we will have repurposed over 20,000 bottles, and we hope to see this number increase each year.
Amazing waterwear from plastic waste, how?
Creative re-use. Imagine discarded plastic bottles as a resource to be captured and re-used in a circular manner. By up-cycling plastic bottles, we can help to keep plastic out of landfills, the ocean and our environment. Furthermore, recycling and reusing plastic offsets the need to produce new raw materials.
Plastic bottles labeled with the #1 on the bottom are the same chemistry make-up as polyester. Recycled plastic bottles are ground into flakes, the flakes are transformed into fiber or thread and that thread is used to knit our polyester fabrics. We choose to make all our products from 100% recycled polyester, which is both soft and durable.
We believe in giving you more value in each piece, so most of our styles are reversible, giving you 2 in 1 and allowing you to mix and match within our eco-collection.
We are proud to make all of our products from start to finish in the US, reducing our carbon footprint while supporting local and national businesses and helping our economy grow. An ethical and responsible manufacturing process, having a personal relationship with our hard-working team, knowing where and how every piece is made and giving back is important to us.
We are a completely transparent company and share our supply chain openly. Transparency is essential to any brand who wants to make sure the environment is safeguarded, human rights are respected and working conditions are acceptable.
We want to show the world that doing business responsibly, both in an ethical and environmentally conscious way, is not only possible but profitable and successful.
How have you been able to stay true to your purpose despite competition?
Striving to do things the right way, the way all things should be done, sustainably and ethically in business is not easy. We are competing with brands that can make products very cheaply but at what cost? Both environmentally and socially, these unethical practices are damaging.
We believe that as conscious consumers, we have the power to change things around. With every purchase we make, we are casting a vote for how we want the world to be. When we support companies who care about the environment and who care about their workers, we help shape a much better world.
We live in a time where not only our ocean’s health is threatened, but so is our way of life. We would be completely devastated if the ocean becomes too unhealthy for us to enjoy and completely heartbroken if the only things our unborn grandchildren will know of the ocean are the stories we tell them…
How the ocean once made us feel alive, free and happy.
We are optimistic! We see a sustainable future. We see clean and healthy oceans for us to enjoy. We see preserving our precious oceans so our children can fall in love with them too.
We see a strong community of passionate ocean lovers working together to turn the tide on plastic pollution and care for Mother Earth. Helping us shape the world we want for our children and generations to come.
Imagine what we can accomplish together.
Individually we are one drop, but together we are an Ocean.
Join our community of women loved by the Ocean.
Plus be the first to know about new arrivals, exclusive sales, inspiring stories and more!
- Website: www.mgsurfline.comand www.melissagil.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mgsurfline
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mgsurfline
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/mgsurfline
- Other: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCiI8YmQ5rDoFa2t9rGFz7Yg
Image Credits:Alexandra Menk Graphic Design
Lori Griffith Chasin A Dream Photography
Jeff Beige Photography
Hazel Gil Photography