Attire Accessories - Mar/Apr 2018 (Issue 69)

ATTIRE 97 UP AND COMING Tell me a bit about how the label was started.What was the inspiration? Dominique: I’ve been making things since I was a little girl. Having studied art and fashion textiles, and after a 15 year successful career in the industry, the desire to create my own label has been on my mind for a long time. I’ve made several ranges of jewellery and accessories and these have always been well received. After suffering a personal tragedy, creativity became a great escape and presented me with hope for the future, which gave me the courage to take the leap into business. Being able to focus on creating something beautiful for others to enjoy is a good feeling. I felt I would work better with a business partner so I approached my good friend Liz who has a business background in the city, a great entrepreneurial spirit and her own successful business under her belt, as well as raising three boys! She’s a great multitasker with a keen eye for fashion! We have a wonderful working relationship, both bringing different qualities to the brand. How were the initial products developed and what was the response? Just as all the best parties begin in the kitchen so did our initial design plans! We felt there was a gap in the market between high end and high street. A range offering practical yet stylish everyday bags. We wanted to move away from the structured style, which often feels heavy to carry before you have put anything in. The initial responses were so positive that we developed the range further and will continue to do so. We then spent a great deal of time sourcing fabric and leather of the quality we were looking for. Initial samples were made by Dominique and we did a few ‘pop up’ shops to test the market.These proved very successful, so our search for high quality British-based manufacturers began. What challenges did you face and how were they overcome when starting the business? Sourcing materials and manufacturers at both the right price and quality has probably been one of our biggest challenges. It has been trial and error and a huge amount of research. Finding people that believe in producing beautiful items at a cost that can then translate to a desired price for retail is a constant battle. We are very lucky to have found some key people to work with. Using social media and how it plays such an important role to promote ones ideas and brand image has been a great learning curve for us as a new and up and coming brand. What is it that sets you apart from your competitors? Lives today are full; few of us can fit them into handbags. We need to accommodate items such as gym kit, kids’ paraphernalia, make up, lunch, and phones. But we believe size shouldn’t compromise style – each of our beautiful bags blends roomy design with pared back styling, unique washes, butter soft leather and distressed detailing to give HOPEFUL a distinct urban edginess. How important is the location and history of the company to its success? We are perfectly located in Sussex near the ➨