At age 14, Alex knew she wanted to start her own business. She recalls her mum been an huge influence, taking her to fashion parties and events as a child.
It was during her time at SOAS studying History of Art and Archaeology of Asia and Africa where she discovered the idea for her new startup, Daisy Darche. Prior to that, Alex studied at Chelsea college of art and design doing a foundation in art and design .
In the interview, Alex also tells me about her journey running the business so far.
Who was your inspiration growing and why?
First and foremost I would have to say my parents; I always saw my parents working together on various projects, the first one being the art gallery, (they had it on Kensington Park Road in the late 80s and early 90s before they went into fashion). They loved having openings and parties there. When they went into fashion, my mother used to take me to fashion parties and events as a child. Later, I realised that work and play were not mutually exclusive, in fact you can love your job and that’s when I knew (at around 14) that I wanted to have my own business in some capacity, probably something art related. Working with my parents is a bonus!
So how did you initially get into Fashion? Tell me about yourself growing up?
My mother has been in fashion since I was a young child, so those days along with the gallery are my earliest memories. I still look back at photos of those days and think how proud I am to be a part of a family where ANYTHING is possible.
I suppose it was a natural progression, my mother is in fashion production and product development and my father in textile printing so I saw how things were made and the logistics side of the business before the design process. This gave me a realistic insight into the fashion industry as a business and I knew what I was letting myself in for.
So tell me about Daisy Darche and how the idea came about?
I was always very creative, (I did a foundation in art and design at Chelsea college of art and design) and then went on to read History of Art and Archaeology of Asia and Africa at SOAS. While at SOAS, I missed being creative as the course was theory based but I learnt a lot about textiles from Japan, China, Indonesia and Africa and glass and ceramics from the Middle East. That’s when I started my label with my parents, we saw a gap in the market for beautiful, versatile clothes for women who are not a size 6 but have curves, work, children and want sensible clothes that they also feel sexy and fabulous in. We are also very conscious about the industry moving to Asia to produce larger quantities at rock bottom prices; we want to bring the industry back to England and make a truly British brand.
What difficulties did you face during the startup phase?
The brand was ‘born’ in the recession; and many boutiques didn’t want to risk buying a new brand making it difficult, however Liberty believed in the brand and bought it from the very first season, then other boutiques soon followed.
What are the most crucial things that you’ve done to grow your business?
Brand awareness is important in any business; it is something that I am continuously working on.
How have you been able to fund the business?
My parents are my investors as they have supported me throughout my BA and MA and are guiding me still today. They also have great resources - we have our own textile printing company, San Maxim, and we manufacture everything in-house, in London
What has been the highlight of your entrepreneurial journey so far
Getting into Liberty’s, it has made me hungry to succeed in getting more stockists and making Daisy Darche a global brand.
What can we be expecting from you in 2012?
I will be expanding into interiors and accessories, which is very exciting.
What three pieces of advice would you offer to female fashion entrepreneurs starting out today?
1. Know your market: is your product unique enough? (USP)
2. Persevere, if you have a passion for your business others will too.
3. Try and meet likeminded people who could help you at first or rope in your family and friends, they will give you the best advice and you will have the best support structure.