An Essay From Our Founder
From a young age, I had a feeling I might grow up to be my own boss. I'm not sure whether it stemmed from a mild disrespect for authority, or my creativity and multi-disciplinary interests (likely all of the above).
I certainly didn't grow up in an environment witnessing entrepreneurial role models, so it never dawned on me as an option. With an academic and public servant as parents, the idea of running my own fashion business was never really in the cards. It wasn't until I moved from Rockhampton Australia to London England, that I felt the so-called 'entrepreneurial itch', or in my case fever!
After working some 9-to-5 office jobs to pay my rent and uphold my 'early 20s in London' lifestyle, I had an overwhelming urge to quit everything and immerse myself in the fashion industry. It's impossible not to fall in love with fashion in London. Every corner of the city offers a sartorial climax.
Because the sum total of my fashion experience at the time was altering thrift store items, styling and shooting them on my best friend in my parent's backyard; needless to say, my confidence levels weren't soaring upon entering the London fashion scene.
After quite literally door-knocking, I stumbled upon a Shoreditch-based contemporary womenswear brand that was eager to take on interns / they loved to accept any kind of free labor regardless of how inexperienced I was. From there, I enrolled in a course at LCF and did a few more internships aka shit-kicking roles, and finally started to find my feet in the addictive yet gut-punching London fashion scene.
Witnessing various creatives starting their brands by simple and old-school bootstrapping methods, I was enticed by the thought of one day doing it myself. Sadly though, bootstrapping in London still requires a sizeable bank account, which I certainly did not have. But a subsequent move to Istanbul with my then-boyfriend now-husband, opened my eyes up to a completely new and contrary side of the fashion industry where I saw a glimpse of a future with my own brand.
Swapping fashion weeks for factories and showrooms for fabric mills, Istanbul showed me a sobering reality to the fashion industry that London never really could. I wholeheartedly thank the city of Istanbul for helping me to start my entrepreneurial journey, as the open arms and supporting guidance of the makers here were the ones who helped create the most vital part of my brand, the product.
By all means, that doesn't mean you need to move to Istanbul to start your own business, it simply taught me that the most obvious and pedestrian pathway to entrepreneurship isn't always the right one.
Don't get me wrong, things weren't smooth sailing after moving to Istanbul, finding a manufacturer, and launching the label. In fact, that's probably when shit started to hit the proverbial fan. Seasons of failed tradeshows, exuberantly expensive sales agents who somehow managed to do everything but actually sell, and my impostor syndrome sitting at an all-time high, the first 2 years of entrepreneurship should really be called self-doubtship!
The real MVP in my journey of entrepreneurship has got to be 'persistence'. Without it, I think I would have closed shop a hundred times over. Sounds cliche AF, but letting your failures be your lessons and using all that 'real-world' experience to refigure and optimize the business is key.
Something I've always struggled with is the ability to celebrate the successes as much as I writhe the failures. Making a conscious effort to add each success to my artillery of confidence, and retrieve them in times of doubt is an ongoing exercise as an entrepreneur.
Now, 5 years in, I can happily and confidently say we're a thriving small business and I'm prouder that ever to have persevered the toddler phase of entrepreneurship. It's true when they say your business is your baby. Like motherhood, the terrible two’s are something to endure, learn from, and come out the other end exhausted yet wiser.
My advice to anyone embarking on a journey of entrepreneurship or simply contemplating the idea, would be to keep three key mantra’s in mind. 1. Persist through failure. 2. Always revise and optimize 3. Stay in your own lane!