Meet: Kristi Soomer, Founder and CEO of Encircled
Kristi is the Founder and CEO of Encircled, a Toronto-based ethical fashion company and Certified B Corporation. A former management consultant who virtually lived in airports, Kristi started Encircled with a dream of helping women travel lighter and do more with less by creating clothing that blends style with function, using high-quality, sustainable fabrics.
Wander: What does the perfect Sunday look like to you?
KS: The perfect Sunday for me starts with a challenging workout like Barry’s Bootcamp. Post-bootcamp, I’d grab brunch with friends afterward at one of my favorite restaurants in Toronto, Fresh. I’ll fill the day with errands, and that oh-so-vital self-care that is easy to skip out on like getting my nails painted. I also like meal prepping, and planning my week’s schedule on a Sunday night. Starting the week organized relieves so much stress for me, so I try to make Sunday my day to make it happen. Lastly, ending a Sunday with a glass of wine, and a little Netflix makes for the perfect end to the weekend.
Zany (or strange!) travel experience you can share?
On a trip to NYC in 2012 for a conference, I got stuck in the city during Hurricane Sandy. I tried to fly out but the city shut down bridges and airports. I was staying with a friend in the West Village. Everyone thought people were overreacting to how bad the storm would be. Grocery store shelves were emptied. People were boarding up windows. Well, as we all know the storm was way worse than imagined! Her area lost power for over a week. I showered in a stranger’s apartment uptown because my friend had no power, and no hot water. We used her office internet in midtown as cell towers were down.
We cooked food on her gas stove (so much quinoa!), and ate at restaurants by candlelight eating whatever food they had that was still cookable. I was there for 6 days before access to the airports was reopened and I could fly home. It was definitely an experience I won’t forget, and one I’m actually immensely grateful for. It reminded me how much we take basic things like electricity, wifi and hot water for granted, and to be grateful for them every day.
We’re having a potluck dinner. What do you bring?
I’m not much of a cook, but I can make a pretty tasty kale salad. My secret is that I pre-massage the kale with a little olive oil and lemon so that it’s not as tough.
Go-to comfort at the end of the day?
A nice, long walk with my dog, Harlow. It’s a great way to unwind and relax, after a day sitting in front of my computer and get some fresh air.
What’s in your carry on?
Everything! I usually go carry-on only for most trips, so my clothing, shoes, accessories, toiletries are all in there. I also usually carry on a backpack or large purse. A few things I keep close at hand when I travel are my passport, iPhone and charger, hand sanitizer, lip balm, and my headphones.
Best wellness or travel tip?
When packing for trips, research the destination and spend time planning out activities in advance. If you spend time planning your outfits and making yourself wear things more than once, it’s surprising how little you need to pack. One of my biggest secrets to traveling lighter is this!
What excites you about your company?
The ability to re-create silhouettes that have been around a while into more stylish and functional clothing. I’m also very excited about the revival of onshore manufacturing in Canada. More and more people are asking, “Who made my clothes?” and THAT is exciting.
What do you want your legacy to be?
I want to be known as someone who helped change the fashion industry for the better, and who held true to her values. My ultimate goal is to have an investment firm that focuses on helping grow purpose-driven product-based businesses that want to have a positive impact on the planet, I want to leave the world better off than it was before I was on it!
Read “Be More with Less: Building an Ethical Minimalist Wardrobe” for tips from Encircled!