I’ve been going on and on about how much I’ve learnt since starting my clothing line Saturday By Megan Ellaby back in October 2018 yet I’ve not really divulged exactly what it is that I have learnt, which seems a little silly doesn’t it.
Today I thought it was about time that I let you in on the learnings I’ve acquired in just over one year of running my own fashion brand.
It’s been my dream to have my own clothing line since I was a little girl playing “fashion designers” with my sister and watching my mum make clothes for us, cushions for the house and even wedding dresses for her friends. I’ve been around fashion and design all my life so it was a bit of a bummer when I realised I didn’t really enjoy sewing and I couldn’t draw for the life of me.
That’s why I went down the road of fashion promotion at university, a course that encompassed all that it is to promote a collection, a brand or a piece to the masses. Whether that is through styling, photography, trend forecasting, journalism and of course marketing and PR. It’s so wonderful to have found myself in a career where I actually use and need the degree I have both with my career as a content creator and now as the owner and designer of my own line.
Anyway, I digress, a big learning for me is that you really don’t need to be any good at drawing or sketching to be a designer, it’s all about the vision.
I have a team who take my doodles (which look like they were done by a three year old at play-school) and turn them into CAD’s (computer aided design) which allows me to see my scribbles come to life and know from the off whether I think they will work or not.
The second major learning for me was realising the importance of a team. Having worked solo for so long it was quite hard for me to take the leap into hiring somebody to help with the work load. However, one year on since hiring that someone I’ve learnt just how valuable it is to have someone by your side, to bounce ideas off, to take on some of the load and to kick some ass on your behalf. Working with my sister, who was previously an assistant buyer at ASOS and Missguided has been such a dream and it’s only helped to strengthen our relationship and Saturday as a brand. Her knowledge for buying, for numbers including both units and monetary and also the whole buying lingo (yep, it’s a whole new vocabulary) has been pivotal in the success of Saturday so far.
In addition to Faye coming on board it’s been quite tricky for me to relax into handing over jobs to others. As I said, I’ve been doing this solo for a very long time now so for me to hand over my baby (my designs) and to wait for others to come back to me with CAD’s, samples or otherwise and to be patient was a huge learning for me.
Saturday by Megan Ellaby is completely self funded which I’m so proud of right now. I’d love to seek investment someday but for now it’s at a really lovely, manageable and personal stage that we can manage as a small team. However, even as a super small team it’s blown me away just how much goes into having a start up clothing line.
Whether thats sourcing the fabric, the manufacturers and the factory, the pick & packing, the customer service, the CAD designers and thats only now at the start of this journey. I’m going to be looking into garment technologist’s, merchandisers, graphic designers etc very, very soon, if thats you then do drop me an email. It’s bonkers how many cog’s are needed to make something run smoothly and I’m so proud of the team we have so far, although it hasn’t always been the well oiled machine that I’d hoped it would be, another learning in itself.
With that is a HUGE learning and that is timings! It takes a heck of a long time to take a design from a doodle in my sketch book into a product that is ready to sell. The back and forth and perfecting of the piece itself sometimes takes a while, sometimes it’s instant, but when it takes a while it reaaaallllly takes a while. Also the time it takes to create each piece on mass of course takes quite a long time so getting to grips with timings and knowing when to have completed my designs by, how long things take to make and then when we can launch has been such a huge learning and something I’ve struggled with quite a bit since things kicked off back in 2018, which has resulted in a slightly slower start than I’d hoped.
This year a huge goal for me is to get to grips with all these little timings and to ensure we meet our goal live dates and I think (touching wood as we speak) we’re finally ahead of ourselves which is so freaking exciting and I’m so stoked for you to see what we have coming up.
And finally quite a big one and one that is most likely a work in progress is to trust myself and my visions a little more. I have a lot of ideas floating around my head and scribbled onto bits of paper yet only a small percentage of those designs make it to you guys. And with that you’re always surprising me with the pieces you really, really love. The pieces you love, that sell the most are often the pieces I was most nervous about. Take the Mercury in this look for example, I was so nervous that this was a bit out there and therefore wouldn’t be the best seller amongst you guys. However, you all bloody loved it and it’s been such a great piece for us. It’s important for me to back myself, to trust in the identity I have given to this brand and to put my commercial head to one side. Identity first, commercial-ness second!
So, I hope you’ve enjoyed this post and learning a little about what it’s like to own a clothing line. I’d love to answer any further questions you might have about Saturday or business so please do leave them in the comments below. Perhaps we could do a lil Q&A here on the blog or on IGTV over on the Saturday Instagram, let me know which you’d prefer.
Thank you to all of you for supporting me and Saturday, I can't believe how amazing it's all be so far and hope, pray and wish for it to continue.