Friends, I am so happy to introduce you to this months Featured Independent Designer! I have been following Erika and her work for quite a while now, and I really love her pretty carefree designs. She is such a sweetheart, and somehow manages to balance running her clothing line and having a family too.
I’m so happy to have Erika contributing the story of how she started her brand to our Becoming a Designer series. I love how open and honest she is, and I think her story is so inspiring! Once you’re done reading please visit her gorgeous store (she’s offering a discount at the bottom of her post!), and her blog – and while you’re at it, she’s one of my favourite people to follow on twitter.
Hi everyone! I am super excited to be featured as an indie designer on Megan’s Blog! I am gonna tell you a bit about my label asuyeta and how it all started.
It all started when I was doing a 2 1/2 year apprenticeship when I was 18 as a visual merchandiser and got pregnant half way through it. It was a shock but I decided to make the best out of it and finish my apprenticeship.
While I was on maternity leave for 3 month (this was in Germany, where you get a 3 month paid maternity leave no matter where you work!) I felt the urge to start something new, something creative.
So I picked up a sewing machine and some fabric and just started sewing. I sewed every day, picked up a bunch of BURDA magazines and books and taught everything to myself. I decided to make one-of-a-kind shirts because at that time all I was wearing were jeans and I could never find any cute tops.
In May 2003 my son was born and in July 2005 I registered my business as Erika Hendrix and began to sell my one-of-a-kind shirts on consignment to stores all over Germany.
Soon, I started making skirts and shorts and in Fall/Winter of 2008, while living in Oklahoma, I made my first collection.
After moving back to Germany, I was looking for a studio space and found a little store instead. It was super cute and I really loved having a store. I hired someone to help me sew and also had two interns, it was a great time and so much more fun than sewing alone.
While at a trade show in Vienna, I realized that something had to change, my concept and my name weren’t right anymore. So, when I got back home I searched for a new, more authentic name for my label. I researched my Cherokee roots and soon came across the word asuyeta which means chosen. It’s perfect because my items are not mass-produced, throw-away items but chosen for the gal who buys them!
I was still making about 15 pieces for each style but soon realized that it’s a waste of my energy and the fabric because if one doesn’t sell very well, I have all these made items laying around and eventually have to put them on sale which I don’t want to do because I price my item as low as I can in the first place.
So since my last collection (AW2011) I decided to make all pieces when ordered, which gives me more freedom to make something else out of the fabric if it doesn’t sell well, and let me tell you, its unpredictable!
Like I said above, I taught everything I know myself and I am still learning every day. And by that I am not only talking about sewing, I am talking about everything you need to know about running a business, like webdesign, book keeping, PR, marketing workshops and all that. I even did an 8 week intensive marketing school online called Rich, Happy and Hot B-School which I can only recommend!
We just moved back to the states and this is not just a new beginning for me personally but for asuyeta as well. So I had a new logo made and I redesigned my website completely. I also post blog posts almost every day to keep my readers inspired and happy ;) right now, I am still a one-woman business and I do everything myself but I am hoping to hire a seamstress very soon!
I would also love to offer a discount code for Megan’s readers. Just enter MEGANLOVE at checkout and receive 15% off (valid all through April 2012)