Meet Eddy Connors, a Sophomore in the Leeds School of Business and Founder and CEO of BerBeda! Eddy grew up in Bronxville, New York, and decided to take a gap year after high school graduation to explore the world and find out what he wanted for his future.
Following high school, Eddy spent three months on a cultural immersion program in Indonesia visiting different villages via homestay. This experience inspired him to start his clothing brand, BerBeda.
BerBeda is a sustainable lifestyle brand that produces men’s athletic shorts using recycled ocean plastic. Eddy has been a solo founder since the beginning, but feels that much of his progress with BerBeda can be attributed to advice and guidance from various mentors, one of which being his father.
Eddy named the brand ‘BerBeda’ from the Indonesian word that means “Be Different” because his vision is to create a positive change through ethical and sustainable business practices. BerBeda’s clothing designs were inspired by traditional batik patterns, an Indonesian art form Eddy came to love while abroad. BerBeda’s products are manufactured in Bali, Indonesia. Eddy chose to manufacture in Bali because of the ethical standards and quality craftsmanship. The fabric is sourced from an Italian textile wholesaler, Carvico. He selected Carvico since they are known for their regenerative technologies and high-end quality. (Fun fact: Patagonia also sources fabric from Carvico!)
Eddy further explains his passion for sustainability that stemmed from his adventures,
“BerBeda was born in the jungles, mountains, beaches, and cities of Indonesia. For three months I traveled by backpack through vital habitats and experienced the pervasive plastic pollution that destroys these ecosystems. It became clear that by killing the planet you kill the people. I created BerBeda with the dream of designing highly versatile athleisure capable of enduring extreme climates while inherently combatting plastic pollution.”
Eddy is waiting to sample a new shorts design with built-in compression liners. This is a big step for BerBeda because these new shorts will suit all of the shorts in his clothing line, which feeds into the brand’s minimalist lifestyle goal.
This summer, Eddy will be traveling domestically with the goal of expanding the brand and implementing his BerBeda athlete program. The program will feature people worldwide to spread the message of ‘being different’ and bringing out the best in others.
Eddy also elaborated on his future plans:
“My long-term goal for BerBeda is to create the most environmentally sustainable and ethical products while still achieving the highest quality. I eventually want to invest part of BerBeda’s profits as micro-loans to startups and small businesses in underdeveloped communities in hopes of fostering sustainable economic growth to improve the quality of life in these communities. This is certainly an aspirational goal but nonetheless one I am excited to dedicate my life to achieving.”
Advice for Current Students
Eddy provides the following advice to students:
“Do it. Whatever it is, take the first step in pursuing your dream. The societal pressure to conform continues to make people complacent and live lives they are not excited to live. As students, we are young and have the advantage of time on our side. I would rather fail now, learn, and move forward, rather than to never try and not know what could have been.”