AISPI had the opportunity to interview Audrey Joris, from Alicia Audrey, an outerwear emerging brand created in 2016. She and Alicia Meus have already conquered the heart and winter wardrobe of many people with their cashmere reversible coats for women. Behind Alicia Audrey, there is a good story about a trip to Asia, a lucky coincidence and the very strong friendship that grew since then.
So, how did all begin?
The story behind our friendship and the brand is rather interesting – attributed to a coincidence actually. By coincidence, Alicia and I were in China at the same time. I was in summer school and she was learning Chinese. Meeting a fellow Belgian miles away in China, it was but obvious that we became friends. We were travelling together when we came across an atelier where we found incredible cashmere, we started talking about business and then, we just did it! We created our first coats.
I read somewhere that you didn’t study Fashion. What did you study? Have you always wanted to be in the fashion business?
Alicia studied Business Management and I did a bachelor’s in Business Administration and a master’s in Finance and Risks. In my case, I had been always very interested in entrepreneurship, so this was a great opportunity. We started Alicia Audrey when we were still studying, and we chose fashion because we’ve always been passionate about it.
How would you describe your brand? What do you want to transmit to a woman wearing an AliciaAudrey’s piece?
Alicia Audrey’s women is a traveller; a strong, independent and natural women. According to this image, we created the reversible coat, easy to carry when you are travelling and it looks like if you would be wearing 2 different pieces.
I must say, it is inspiring how young you are and the amount of things you are doing! Tell me a bit about how does the company work. Who is in it?
We work with a freelance designer and a young girl that manages our social media. We only do B2B, that is, we only sell to shops. We don’t organise pop ups anymore as we did at the beginning, to obtain some brand recognition, so it doesn’t take a lot of time. Alicia and I manage the whole process, from design to the orders from customers, which are 13 multi-brand shops.
In AISPI, we have met many designers who are more creative-minded, and they struggle to make their brand successful. The key is to be aware of your strengths and weaknesses in order to get the right people and resources to balance your brand. Alicia Audrey are the opposite to what we have seen, they are business minds instead of designers, and still they have built a very successful fashion brand. It’s admirable!
How can our readers get an Alicia Audrey’s?
Customers can visit whether any of these 13 multi-brands shops or they can directly buy from our own web shop. We are now pushing this part: we want our clients use our web shop when buying, so we can know them better. They are the most important thing we have today and keeping a good relationship with them is essential for us.
What about the future?
We are very happy with our current locations and proud of the shops we are represented in, so our objective now is to grow internationally. We are going to start in the same way we did it at the beginning: we are organizing some pop ups and invite some multi-brands.
Indeed, we are going to be represented in a pop up in London soon!
About the products, are you planning to design also more kinds of clothing?
We are a coat brand, so it will always be about coats, and they will always be reversible. But, of course, we are launching new models: 2 new ones next month!
As you know, this sector is more than crowded and competition can be very hard. What differentiates you from the others?
First of all, the quality: we offer an incredible quality cashmere and that’s one of our differentiating points. Moreover, the fact that there are not many brands this specialized outerwear. We would love to be the Nº1 outerwear brand in Europe.
Finally, from young designer to young designer: what would you say to those who are trying to start their own fashion business?
In my opinion, a lot of people start thinking about fast fashion, about doing things quickly. But in the end, this is a marathon, not a sprint. If you rush, your offer won’t be that solid, the quality will be worse, and you can be out of business a year after. That’s why we stand for slow fashion. We take our time to choose and create quality, and this is what makes people come back to us for years. Finally, the financial part is something you shouldn’t forget about: check you have enough resources to continue your activity now and in the future (unexpected circumstances included)!
– Interviewed by Virginia Lite
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