the making of a brand
it started off simply:
design an essential wardrobe of chic, easy-wear, easy-care clothes that are functional and sustainably made. the kind of wrinkle-resistant, versatile pieces you can toss in a backpack for a week of travel and rosé and museums and hikes and meetings.
turns out what people (ahem, us) didn't realize is that, when starting a clothing brand, the designing of the clothes is the easy part. after all, you are starting your brand to address a need—be it for style or change (or, in époque évolution's case, both!)—do it stands to reason that you have a clear picture of that first collection or two going into that process. turns out the hard part is just about... everything else.
and by everything else we mean: fundraising to get it all started. trying to convey the idea of our brand to a room full of (lovely) strangers. landing on a name. trademarking a name. creating a website. learning how to code a website. finding the right, sustainable, easy-care fabric. finding the right, sustainable, kindred-spirit-y factories. crafting a marketing plan for the first time. hiring a team! sending out an order for the first time! coordinating pop-ups. we could go on (and will, at some point!) but for now, here's what we've learned so far on this crazy, rewarding journey.
1. travel as inspiration works.
we (the proverbial "we" here being, FYI, Nancy [hi!] and Hannah [hey!], époque évolution founders and besties) met while working at Athleta. the friendship was instant. when we both left the company to pursue other opportunities, we pinkie-swore over a glass of rosé that we would meet in Marrakesh one year later. fast forward to one year later: reunited! in Morocco! and staying at the most gorgeously colorful riads and sipping mint tea and sampling the street food and hiking the Atlas mountains and shopping the markets. all of this richness around us—combined with the fact that, through it all, Hannah had packed everything she needed in to just one chic little backpack for the whole trip—served as the ultimate inspiration (determination?) to find a way to live our lives and see the world and look good while going it. and such was the start of époque évolution.
2. just put one foot in front of the other.
it's been two years since that first brainstorm in Morocco.we designed and entire two years of the collection first, then we set about turning the brand from an idea into a reality, from the brand deck to the website to our inventory. and we've hit every roadblock imaginable along the way—we didn't know what we didn't know!—but we wake up every day and continue the journey. and we have fun doing it. (having your best friend as a business partner helps.)
3. do things. meet people. be yourself. stay in touch. repeat.
some may call it networking, sure. but we see it as meeting like-minded folks, and hearing their stories and sharing ours. we talk to the people from our past work lives, the people in Portugal who produce our clothes, the people sitting next to us on cross-country flights. we talk to old friends, new friends, family, doctors, baristas, college students, DJ's—all of whom we find incredibly inspiring and many of whom end up being a part of époque évolution in one way or another, be it as a model or photographer or a pop-up co-host or an honest feedback provider. all in all: the people we meet may be one of the most rewarding aspects of the job, in more ways than one.
4. TRUST YOUR VISION.
think of it as your north star. it can be easy to lose sight of the end goal with all the decisions to be made and deadlines to be met and numbers to crunch and meetings to have and opinions to hear, but, if you stick to the idea you started with and continue to tap into the passion you have for that idea, you'll always end up on the right side of things. or so we hope! we'll keep you posted, right here, every week- we can't wait to continue this journey with you.
in the meantime, lady bosses, please share:
what have you found to be true when working towards your dream? or even when simply getting out of bed every day?