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Tough Job Markets Lead to Fashion Industry Startup ash&dans


Ashley Cook and Danielle Dankner graduated collectively from Washington University in 2008. Both discovered themselves in a tricky job market and had hassle breaking into the aggressive performing trade in New York City. Instead of giving up or getting depressed in regards to the scenario they did the subsequent neatest thing…they began an organization.

Ash&Dans was born and shortly has turn into a recognized identify within the vogue trade with options in issues like Teen Vogue, Lucky Magazine and the Wall Street Journal . It took onerous work and lots of motivation however the duo is pushing ahead and increasing their model as we converse.

You have an incredible non-public label clothes line, you began out of your dorm rooms.  What gave you the braveness to transfer throughout the nation to New York and the way did you fund the enterprise?

Thank you, Matt. We truly didn’t begin ash&dans in faculty; we got here up with the thought shortly after commencement. Danielle was born in New York City and moved again in hopes of discovering a job. Ashley, born in Colorado, moved to New York to pursue an performing profession. While Ashley had some luck breaking into the trade, Danielle was not so fortunate. As the hiring freezes began, she struggled together with many different current graduates. However, when issues began slowing down for Ashley, and she or he noticed her greatest good friend annoyed with the fruitless job search, Ashley, an entrepreneur and optimist at coronary heart, determined it was time to take motion. She knew that we had the work ethic, will energy and inventive edge to begin a enterprise collectively. When Ashley introduced up the thought at first, it appeared to good to be true. But the extra critically we considered it, mentioned and deliberate, we realized it was going to turn into a actuality. From the day Ashley introduced up the thought of beginning an organization, now we have put our all into the model and have been having fun with success ever since.

ash&dans didn’t begin up with the assistance of buyers. The cause we had been ready to make issues work was as a result of we had been extraordinarily prudent with our cash ever since day one. We every invested a small quantity of our private financial savings right into a joint enterprise checking account and used that cash to develop our enterprise. At the beginning, we stored our prices down to a minimum- we borrowed a stitching machine from a good friend and minimize and sewed previous t-shirts and sweaters to make the prototypes. Once we had the prototype, we purchased simply sufficient cloth and trim to make them professionally. Because we had been so cautious with our purchasing, we had been ready to cowl our prices by promoting our product and preserving little or no stock

So you began with nothing however cloth and scissors, how did you drum up your first purchasers?

We had been artistic and assured. Once we put collectively our Fall ’08 assortment, a number of samples of every model, we carried them in a garment bag across the metropolis and walked into boutiques that we thought could be a very good match for our product. We launched ourselves and our model to the individuals within the retailer and requested if we may converse with the customer or supervisor. If they stated sure, we might present them our samples and line sheets and pitch them our assortment, proper then and there. Of course, it took guts and charisma, nevertheless it labored out for the most effective. We obtained into our first retailer this way- a cute boutique on the Upper East Side of NYC.

Roommates in faculty and now enterprise companions–do you ever get sick of one another? Describe the small print of your partnership.

No, it’s a beautiful factor. We spend most hours of the week collectively however don’t get sick of one another. We even nonetheless spend our free time on the weekends collectively, too. Our personalities are totally different, however we stability one another nicely, in enterprise and friendship.

So many artistic individuals, designers and artists have hassle with the enterprise facet of issues.  What recommendation are you able to present for individuals who have a artistic product to promote however don’t know the way to flip it right into a enterprise?

Educate yourselves continuously and encompass yourselves with individuals who know greater than you do. Never be afraid to ask questions or take dangers. It is wonderful how a lot now we have developed our enterprise savvy because the inception of ash&dans. Even Ashley, who was a enterprise main within the Olin Business School at Washington University in St. Louis, believes she has discovered infinitely extra from her day to day experiences working her personal enterprise than she may have discovered in a classroom. We be taught one thing new on a regular basis. We get pleasure from each the enterprise facet and the artistic facet and fill every day with a equal quantities of each.

Have any celebrities been noticed sporting your line and if that’s the case, how did you reap the benefits of this advertising and marketing technique?

Yes, some celebrities have been noticed sporting ash&dans. Gossip Girl’s Jessica Szohr and Leighton Meester have each been photographed sporting our product and Catherine Zeta-Jones and Judy Dench had been seen shopping for ash&dans at Henri Bendels in NYC.

You’ve been featured in Cosmo Girl, Teen Vogue, the Wall Street Journal and inTouch Magazine how did you land the press?

Sometimes we attain out to magazines and typically they attain out to us. At the start, we discovered contacts at numerous vogue publications and emailed them with an intro to our firm and pictures of our assortment. Teen Vogue was the primary firm to reply to our buzz. They had heard of us and had been keen to run a narrative on the up-and-coming model. We loved doing the interview and the interviewer cherished our line. People responded positively to that article, together with DailyCandy, who featured us of their New York Weekend phase. Jessica Szohr talked about to Lucky Magazine that ash&dans was her favourite scarf of 2009. This started a snowball effect- the extra individuals learn the interviews, the extra individuals wished to write about us. The extra individuals wrote about us, the extra shops turned enthusiastic about our line. The extra shops picked up our line, the extra magazines had been enthusiastic about doing a write up. And so on and so forth.

How does your distribution technique work?  Are you guys packing packing containers and delivering your scarves throughout NYC and what are your plans for growth?

We run and handle all features of the enterprise, which incorporates distribution. We pack packing containers and use delivery providers to ship our scarves to numerous shops within the metropolis, in addition to throughout the nation and abroad.

Your scarf was seen within the presence of Jersey Shore’s Snooki, what does this say about your clientele and the way obsessed are you guys with the hit MTV sequence?

Oh, the Snooki image. We by no means anticipated it to draw a lot consideration however admire that you’ve visited our Facebook web page’s “Spotted” album. We love the Jersey Shore and hope that Snooki is obsessive about ash&dans, too. Our good friend (left) despatched us that image after a piece assembly together with her. Although the headscarf isn’t on Snooki, we thought individuals would benefit from the picture as a result of she is such a personality proper now.

What’s probably the most tough a part of scaling a enterprise like this and what are you most wanting ahead to sooner or later?

Everyday we get up grateful for having our personal enterprise at such a younger age and grateful for having the ability to spend our days collectively. We look ahead to rising our model, regularly difficult ourselves and developing with progressive designs.





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