Interview with a Fashion Entrepreneur
Writing about web page http://feldt-clothing.myshopify.com/
?/2014 ~ Now. Entrepreneur and Creative Director of FELDT - UK
07/2011 ~ 10/2014. Head Designer of YMC - You Must Create - UK
Interviewer: Henry Hyunjun Noh
1. What factors motivated you to become a cultural entrepreneur?
I was quite unhappy at my previous job, and felt like I did not get the opportunity to be as creative as I craved. So it came kind of from a feeling that I just had to get my ideas out there. Not being able to find the clothes that I wanted and knew that other women felt the same way, made me feel really excited and secure to test the waters with my ideas/designs.
2. Were there any reasons in terms of changing your career from a hired professional designer of well-known company to an entrepreneur?
Quite a bit the same as above, but also that I value the thought of being able to travel anywhere at anytime and being able to work from there if so needed. Being my own boss, and making my own decisions is a really empowered feeling. Basically I felt that if the people I was working with/for diddn’t give me the empowerment, creativity , and freedom that I wanted than I was to make it happen for myself.
3. Where does your inspirations come from in the process of designing the products?
The inspiration for our collections comes a lot from basically taking in everything around you on a daily basis. As our brand is meant to be everyday clothing for all seasons, it is important that they work in an everyday basis. From walking the dog, to going to the pub. It is style without sacrificing comfort, and vice versa. The people around me are what inspires the most, I want all the women I know to be able to find something in the collection that they get excited about and can identify themselves with in one way or another. Different artist paintings can inspire to prints and to colours of the collection. Personally I am really inspired by fabrics, for me it all starts with the fabric sourcing. With finding fabrics that inspire me I can start seeing them in different types of styles/garments.
4. What are the opportunities do you think the UK fashion industry has in terms of start-ups?
We haven’t looked into that as much as we should, or will be doing now as we have expanded really quite quickly. I heard that new brands don’t usually sell until the 4th season. But we have sold since our last season, our very first season. And have now expanded quite a bit, so there has really been no time to look into financial opportunities that the UK offer. But we for sure will. One thing that I think is great at least about London, is that everything is around the corner. From cultural inspirations/experiences to fabric agents. We have been very lucky to have been paired up with a great PR and sales agency which of course puts us in front of peoples noses who would have maybe taken longer to notice us otherwise.
5. What are the challenges regarding running the small creative organisation?
The biggest challenges are being able to full fill the minimums for fabrics, and for manufacturing. As being a start up the orders are in smaller quantities. So to be able to buy the fabrics, and pay for manufacturing there is always a surcharge % which increases the cost drastically. Which than brings down the profit drastically. But that is also the part of seeing it as an investment, seeing that a few seasons/years down the line when we hit the minimums our profits will of course than be higher. In the fashion industry you need to always pay everything in advance. As the brand/company you need to pay for fabrics and for manufacturing before receiving payment from the clients/shops. So that is the biggest struggle being a start up, is to actually have the finances to produce after demand.
6. Any advice to the provisional entrepreneurs studying Cultural Entrepreneurship at the University of Warwick?
The best thing that I have noticed for me personally, is that I am extremely happy that I had years of experience in the industry before starting my own company. The experience of working/meeting different people. I have had the privilege to work with different types and sizes of companies to which have no doubt helped me understand things within a company that I wouldn’t have had the chance to get to know had it been otherwise. My recommendation would be to get experience in the field that you would like to start a company in, get to meet people, create contacts. And than always stick to your intuition. Don’t get caught up in what the consumer wants you to do, always stick to your thoughts and what you think is right to keep it true to what you had in mind. I truly believe that is the ticket to making it a success. I am myself struggling with not hearing what buyers for shops have to say, but it is for sure worth working hard to stick to your thoughts and intuitions.
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