For Margeri Ottis, an Estonian expatriate based in the United Arab Emirates, being new to the world of entrepreneurship means initially making new connections and selling her hand-embroidered silk kimonos. She struggled to find the first customers for her women’s fashion brand, Kimono Girl. Japanese dress.
Ottis remembers walking around the Dubai Mall for more than three hours in high heels, with a carry-on bag of startup brands and dresses in both hands. A few hours later she was able to register her one customer who purchased her kimono.
“Even though only one person was interested, I felt like my hard work paid off,” Otis said. I told you.”
Do whatever it takes to make your business work.Even if it’s ridiculous, I’ll do it persistently
– Margery Otis
This is why her message to all novice startup founders like her is: Do it relentlessly, even if it sounds silly. I went to an NFT event that had nothing to do with energy fashion, and sold seven kimonos.”
After a ten-year career in ’empowerment’ companies in the UK, Ottis decided to start her own fashion brand with no experience. energy fashion.
“My initiation into ‘energy’ happened quite early when my father brought home a book on meditation. I was only eight years old at the time, but I read it with interest. Since then, I have spent a lot of time trying to understand that “energy.” I even took time off from work to spend time in monasteries in countries like Nepal. During one such trip to the Greek islands, Otis decided to combine his interest in “energy” and launch a fashion brand focused on mindfulness.
What is “energy fashion”?
A fashion brand based on research that a positive attitude or “vibe” increases energy levels and makes life more positive.
“Energy fashion” refers to the segment of clothing and accessories that use various chants and mantras to instill positive emotions in the wearer. For Otis, she uses Buddhist and Balinese mantras among others.
Monetizing Experimental Concepts
Investing big savings to start a business in a fairly niche industry was a risky proposition, despite the growth of the wellness fashion industry and the increasing appeal of the kimono as an understated garment. A fashion brand that focuses on mindfulness and kimono as a garment is likely to appeal to a specific segment rather than the masses themselves.
When asked if he felt anxious, Otis said: Putting aside niche concepts like energy fashion and not realizing how difficult it is to make a fashion brand work, I took a leap of faith: the first collection sold out in his three weeks I was sure it would, but of course it didn’t. “
The brand was launched amidst positive reviews. It was only when the initial high was followed by a period of lull that Ottis realized that some gaps needed to be closed. I feel it helps me optimize.
Tip #1: Build a Strong Network
“When I started the brand, I didn’t have a network or database to tap into other than my family, friends and supporters. But that wasn’t the right strategy because building a strong network should have been talking more about brand ethics and purpose of attracting the right people. You should have built your brand awareness and customer base and reached out to your network when the collection was ready, which was a big lesson. I realized, not everyone is getting paid by me, but they may support me in different ways.”
Tip 2: Set aside a budget for brand-building activities
“Another big learning is that we need to allocate a certain amount of budget to brand building activities. When we did our initial forecasting and budgeting, we weren’t allocating money to marketing and brand building, which we quickly realized was a mistake. We allocate about $2,000 (approximately Dh7,345) per month to .Organic can only generate a certain amount of brand awareness, after which paid campaigns/activities are essential.”
Setting aside niche concepts like energy fashion and not realizing how difficult it is to make a fashion brand work, I took a leap of faith
– Margery Otis
Tip 3: Optimize costs where possible
“We can optimize costs at every level, from sampling, sourcing and shipping. Now we care about making lighter garments and pre-ordering inventory to optimize costs.Also optimizing production based on customer requirements. We are also planning to do this, but we didn’t do it initially, in fact even the initial investment of about Dh300,000 to start the business would have been a little extravagant and could have been optimized. It was all a learning experience, plus the logistics that set up the business [licensing, opening a bank account etc] Very open and friendly in the UAE. “
Stay true to your “why”
Ottis feels that authenticity is a big differentiator and a sense of purpose is important to any business. That’s why it’s important to stay true to the “why” behind your business.
“Ask any entrepreneur and they will tell you that there is a cycle of highs and lows. I decided to take a rather unusual path because I truly believe in the benefits of integrating mindfulness into fashion. I made a sensible choice,” she concluded.