Ismilewear is a London based clothing company, providing a range of casual clothing for all ages.
The clothes you wear are a form of expression, and to each who expresses himself, carry along a message. Ismilewear message is simple... Smile. After all, it takes fewer muscles to smile, and then it does to frown. Their belief in conserving energy.
How are you today?
I’m all good, just tired, but it’s all for hard work
Can you give us a bit more information about yourself?
My name is Styla; I’m 21years old studying marketing at Uni. I’m an entertainer/entrepreneur who likes to smile.
What is the concept behind your brand?
A simple positive message: smile. I’m a person who has always got a smile on his face, so I decided to make it into a way of expression, like clothing and badges.
Do you think your line is effective?
It matters how you measure effectiveness. In terms of profit and money making, it keeps me going, but that’s not why I started the line. As for pushing the image and promoting a message about smiling, it has become more and more effective. The logo is an animated version of my face, which makes it fun to push and promote.
What makes your clothing line relevant to today’s society?
It doesn’t and that’s the point. Too much negativity is advertised and praised amongst our community. Gun crime, knife crime, domestic problems, etc, is always glorified in the media. I believe it takes something as simple as a smile to change someone’s perspective on things.
What’s the most unique thing about your line, so much people doing what you’re doing, what will make me buy your designs?
The most unique thing about iSmileWear is that it’s not just an image or design, it’s an idea. When I wear one of my t-shirts to an event I’m performing at, or a party, if I see someone who looks uneasy, I tend to point to the word ‘Smile’ on my top, and they react in kind. It becomes a positing icebreaker. A lot of people have got into clothing lines for the ‘buzz’ of having a clothing line, without thinking ‘what does this mean to whoever is wearing it?’ or ‘how does this express me?’ Realistically, not everyone feels like wearing a top with a big smile on it, but the target market for iSmileWear may appreciate a top with a difference in its message, not one of self praise, or negativity, but of positivity.
Have you done any shows, how have they been? They cost, the planning, did you have a budget, and did you go over your budget?
As iSmileWear, I’ve been involved with several shows and events, including are Bare Jokes, V.I.P. Room, Dress In White and more, and they seem to go very well. I try not to stick to the stigma of having a clothing line only allowed to be in a fashion show, so iSmileWear has liaised with several companies that do raves, youth events, magazine launches, music videos and more. As for money and budget, there’s always one involved depending on the show I’m involved in either helping run, or making from scratch.
How did you raise money for your business?
Hard working and hard grafting (and a touch of the student loan, I’m not going to lie).
Did you get any buyers at your shows?
Yes, but I usually do a few giveaways at shows.
Who are your competitors? (Customer profile)
I don’t like to say competitors, it seems like it’s a battle of the fashion lines. I’ve seen many similar companies work together to get things accomplished. iSmileWear & Fourtees have often worked together behind the scenes to aid each other. iSmileWear & ‘Where’s Your Chick?’ are part of the same entertainment company and are always pushing each other’s lines. Upshot, Benjart, Yipe, Pandemonium, all have their target market, which may coincide with one another’s, but with clothes, I’ve learned that once someone has bought a top from one shop, there is nothing stopping them from buying from another.
Who are your target markets?
Age: 10 – 32year olds, tradition & contemporary casual clothing style... I really am trying to avoid using the word ‘Urban’
What are your advertising strategies? (Do you use any social networking sites to promote your brand)?
iSmileWear has its own website (http://www.ismilewear.com), but also use social networks such as Facebook, Fashion Space, Blogspot and more. Also, at events run by MiddleGround Entertainment, iSmileWear is promoted. Magazine & online interviews are always a good way of promoting the product.
What does your range consist of?
T-shirts, Hoodies, Polo shirts, Jumpers, Denim Shorts (ladies), Vest, Jackets... Badges... I hope to look into more as time progresses.
What fabrics do you mostly deal with?
Cottons, Suede, Synthetics, Depends on the design I guess...
How did you make your profit, did you lose more than you made?
I don’t like to talk figures, but let’s say I do alright.
Describe your collection in ten words?
iSmileWear’s message is simple... Smile... & look good doing it.
Do you make your collection to season?
Yes, but I do throw in a few exclusives mid season if I feel best fit.
How do you get your primary research e.g. in the streets, internet, books, magazines?
Looking up on the internet what is around, and what is missing... Asking others of what they think, questionnaires do work... The most simple of them all is to open your eyes, watch what everyone is wearing right now, even analyse what you yourself wear... break it down, and you’ll start to see the pattern and psychology of what you wear and why... as opposed to the simple answer of ‘I like the top, so I bought it.’
Do you try to incorporate your customer’s personality to your clothing line?
In a way, yes. As I said before, the logo is an animated version of my smile, so I would say it’s more my personality incorporated into the logo of the clothing line. But fashion is a form of expression in itself, and rather than clothes making a person’s personality shine, their personality stands out in the way a person wears their clothes.
What is your mission statement? (What are your sayings that motivate you)?
iSmile Where Ever You Go...... No Pain, No Gain..... Keep It Moving.... I don’t think there is a particular few.
Did you ever thing to turn out to be as popular as it is?
Am I popular? I don’t really see it from the customer’s perspective on how popular iSmileWear is; I’m too busy working to get the products out to them. I think hard work and serious grafting is how you get whatever you want to succeed, to succeed. I never doubted iSmileWear would do as well as it has been doing, or else I should not have put so much time into it. I’m just happy to see it get to where it is.
Do you have any favourite business related books that you can recommend to other entrepreneurs?
Principals of Marketing. It was a book I read at university which gave me the fundamentals of how to package, advertise and sell my products.
What advice would you give to a Young Entrepreneur starting their first business today?
Research, plan and be patient... do not rush a good thing. It will succeed in time if the right amount of prep has gone into it. I spent about 7months doing the preparation work for iSmileWear because it required that amount of time in my eyes. Plan everything out properly, and also be open to advice from others.
Who are your favourite young entrepreneurs at this moment?
Ronald Cummings-John, a friend of mine and a great business minded character...
TMagic, a young individual involved in fashion, successful too...
Edwin Asamoah of J-Nissi Wear, a close friend of mine who has taken Christian Fashion way beyond a basic level...
What was the most important lesson you have learnt so far?
Work Hard, believe In Yourself, and Be Yourself/Original
Who is your role model/influence?
My mother, a marketing guru and as harsh/blunt as I need someone to be... I run anything through her, and she’ll make sure I’ve had all my bases covered...
What has been your greatest achievement so far?
I count all of the achievements great, none greater than the other. Offers to liase with companies, Middlesex University Support, RWD Magazine advertisement & article, Catch 22 advertisement, Gkidmusic.com interview, the list goes on....
So what’s next for Ismilewear?
Since being attached to MiddleGround Entertainment, there are so many projects in the line that I can’t discuss, but defiantly watch this space... on the clothing side of things, new range in 4weeks, keep your eyes peeled.
Till next time
Thanks for your time.