A quick summary of building a brand and my experiences so far. I think this is a topic that requires quite a few posts as I have so much to talk about but for now here’s a little round-up by Tabie Ledesma!
What is the biggest challenge you have found when starting your own brand?
The biggest challenge I’ve found is actually getting my name and designs out there so that people actually notice me! It was hard at first to gain a following and after trying lots of social media adverts on Facebook, Instagram and collaborations with micro-influencers the breakthrough eventually came with Wolf & Badger where customers who perhaps aren’t on social media, or didn’t follow me, discovered me. I think marketing is something I definitely need to look at some more but another challenge with this is the cost!
Was there ever a moment of doubt when you started to create your brand? If so, what were they and why?
I have moments of doubt everyday! It’s easy to think about quitting or giving up when I’ve had a bad day, if nothing seems to be selling or if I’ve had returns. I think when starting up a business on my own I didn’t realise how isolated I would feel at times - I basically did everything by myself in the beginning and it was very overwhelming. Now I have one of my best friends, Hattie, working alongside me and it has completely changed everything as we can bounce ideas off one another and she has been a massive help with designing prints for the AW19 collection. We joke that we are one another’s therapists. Even now I still think about leaving it all behind and doing something else but I really love designing my collections and I’ve accepted that there’s no such thing as instant success.
Do you remember how it felt when you received your first order?
I remember when that first order came through via my email and my heart lurched as I couldn’t believe someone had ordered something. As a designer there’s always a part of me that feels like people won’t like my designs and why would they invest in my brand when they can get something cheaper on the high-street from a well-known brand. It sounds silly but I'm still surprised when people keep my pieces after the return period!
Apart from being able to create your own design, what is the best part of having your own fashion brand?
I think it’s great being my own boss! I can make my own decisions, like when I want to create new collections, when they’re released, if we want to miss a season etc. It’s also nice that me and Hattie can make important decisions between us. Even though doing everything ourselves can be exhausting, it also means we make all the decisions on artwork and styling shoots which is the fun bit!
What is one advice that you would give to aspiring fashion designers?
I’d say maybe spend a few years in the industry at first and gain some experience and contacts. Also don’t get carried away with wanting to create a large range of clothing as it can be very expensive, and it takes time to develop your style - create a signature piece and see if it sells well first.