Step by Step : Backstage
Nowadays with the constant growth of podcasts and young entrepreneurs storytelling on TV, we also wanted to share our experience and what we have been living since the beginning of this whole crazy journey.
And what a wild ride it has been so far!
Back in Paris after an experience in London for one and in Lyon for the other, we met again in January 2018 with a common idea/ wish in mind: to create our own path in the fashion industry
Out of our business plan (quite unrealistic after a few thoughts) we took time to step back, discuss, debate and finally merging our ideas in March 2018 to give birth to the first draft of our brand: creating a complete wardrobe that will adapt to our daily life no matter where we are, thought for travelling, long never ending days. An adorned whim, a unique detail on a cloth that will make the difference and will allow each of us to escape for a moment or more out of our daily business.
And so began the journey: administrative tasks, creation of the company, registration to the chamber of commerce, trying to detail every step of our current situation to our French employment agency « pôle emploi », status, shareholders agreement, general meetings with well the two of us. The counterparts were demultiplied and things are moving forward but still quite slowly for us.
In this very mess, the entrepreneurial rule is to try integrating every piece of advice you will hear and then make it your own way!
From months now, we have come to the point where everybody has an opinion that can vary quite a lot depending on the topic. There is no miracle solution, success is not being served easily, you have to sort it out by yourself and eventually get it right after getting it wrong a few times.
While trying to, we decided in parallel to create our first collection, starting with a very small detail but indeed key for the next step: the name of our brand.
Pages after pages from dictionary, brainstorming about travel, any names relative to clouds, goddess, cities, rivers of France. All was being checked up in the INPI system. And after a few vain joys and rejected ones, we finally met our evidence: AMANCE
Name found and registered, we felt relieved for a second (fingers crossed that nobody will contact the INPI to set against our name - 3 very long months to wait), we were focusing on 3 key points:
- Finding for our contributors: modelist / sourcing
- Storytelling and graphic layout: logo / typography / universe / editorial
- Building up our Website
Full of hopes and probably somehow a little bit naive, we were targeting a major event in the textile world: the Premiere Vision fair. It groups together all professions of the fashion industry: fabrics, accessories, manufacturer, design and development offices, digital, logistic etc.
Our first experience there was quite rewarding as very concrete but less productive than expected. We ended up from this 3 days overwhelmed without any real partner confirmed. Too Young, very limited quantities, small brand, small budget… these remarks still echo in our heads but forced us to keep moving forward.
There might be a way, young brands appear everyday on Instagram and have definitely look for a same production line as well. Ok, we might have aimed a little high with Première Vision but it must exist an alternative
We have worked on our first prototypes and canvas with a young modelist based in Lyon, from the drawings we imagined beforehand. Suit, dress, skirt, short, top, jumpsuit, all is getting in shape step by step and we now have the first technical sheets and canvas to show to a manufacturer.
So there we go, we started to contact many factories via europages, diged in Google earth in the Porto neighbourhood to find new places we might not have seen during our trip and approached textile agents on linkedin alternatively.
Our first will was not to deal with any intermediary to keep hand on every singe step and questions relative to production and most importantly maintaining the direct relation with our suppliers but looking at the situation we might have considered it for a while before stepping back to our first idea: doing it ourselves.
Researches after researches, advices from our closest friends and family and key players of the textile industry, we finally got in contact with the chamber of commerce which was a huge help and drove us to our future suppliers (we indicated straight away our limited quantities, lead times, and wishes so they can make sure to provide you with appropriate manufacturers and not the big players.
After a few Portuguese trips and many new encounters around the corner, we ended up opening the doors of our dream workshop.
From the day we stopped by that door we have been very much into our workshop: Silvia is handling the family owned business with a great eye, attention to detail and strong hand (bonus: always with smiling). The examples of their had work hanging on their clothes rack perfectly clicked to our wishes and expectations: See by Chloé, Isabel Marant and others. We felt so relieved but kept it quiet as for making sure it was real and we would begin our association.
In terms of quality, our positioning favour natural fabrics as silk, cotton, the noble ones that will use less water, are organic, or conceived from natural fibbers (Viscose for instance). From samples that we received after Première Vision, our workshop and our own network that we built up we managed to get the first proto: a fluid linen, a matte silk, a graphic lace and subtle mesh. What an accomplishment, we felt proud.
GEEK BUT NOT TOO MUCH
While our first collection was slowly getting in shape from the proto to the first series, we started on the creation of our selling tools and communication plan : Website/ social network (sinews of war).
*Fun fact, we really were under the impression of being in a very famous movie « La verite si je mens » when we visited suppliers in Le Sentier and the day we discovered our first proto that was supposed to be in Size S but ended up in size L.
On another note of this unexpected but nice encounters, we draw the website matching to our brand’s values : simple and refined, elegant and sophisticated, in the tons of gold and white. Active debate between shopify and prestashop. We approached a few freelancers and agencies and both agreed on Elodie from Itis Commerce, again based in Lyon. She quickly understood our needs, expectations and small budget. As for the majority of our interlocutors we always pay a great attention to the intuition we have and our deep instinct that until now has never fooled us.
Rapidly the last version of our website was getting online, answering perfectly to our requirements and almost nothing to edit. We had to postpone a few ideas though: blog, integration of a few more pages, to also reduce the costs we decided to take care of all the integration on the website therefore the agency only took care of the creation and graphic design.
Instagram, facebook, in the extension of our editorial line for our website we are creating our brand’s pages and start to post: teaser on our upcoming collection and the first feedbacks.
TO BE CONTINUED
March 2018 – A year after the first babbling of Amance, we received 7 boxes in our Parisian flat. Champagne, our office is no longer an office however we do feel very satisfied of our journey to get there and our lovely pieces. We unpacked and admired very proudly the pieces one by one with our meter in hand. Then this proud feeling slowly disappeared to let the most difficult part started: convincing each of you to live this adventure along with us and seeing you wearing our dear Amance pieces.