Inside The Fashion Start-Up Repping The Influencer Brands You Love
Plus, the reality of production beyond the filtered posts
Look at any influencer out there living a life of wanderlust and bliss and it’s nearly impossible to not wonder just how they got there or how they can afford to do what they do. But, of course, behind every successful business be it music, fashion, beauty or wellness, there is always a team of people backing them along the way. The brands behind the brands. Be it Sarah from @sarahs_day who launched a collaborative activewear collection with White Fox Boutique to Natasha Oakley (@abikiniaday) who now runs her own global bikini line Monday Swimwear, the influencers successfully monetising their personal brand with bespoke fashion, beauty and food lines, all have an unspoken team of qualified people behind them helping build, brand and manufacture their labels. Cue—Slyletica, currently one of the fastest growing Australian fashion start-ups (as named by Australian Financial Review), a brand you’ve probably never heard of but who are responsible for designing, branding and manufacturing over 100 activewear brands owned by influencers and wellness companies across the globe.
In just over three years they’ve turned over $16.9 million for their clients and hit triple-digit growth in the last financial year alone, yet because they are the ‘brand behind your favourite brands’ you’ve likely never heard of them. Yet they aren’t just a little side hustle, they essentially run the show. With an end-to-end business model, Slyletica works with brands and influencers behind the scenes to handle everything from designing activewear to producing it, marketing it, setting up the e-commerce site, stocking orders, shipping and fulfilling customer service. Founded four years ago by Melbourne based couple Simon and Yetta Rawadi, initially the business was based around creating their own line (which they did), but once word got out that they knew how the process worked from the inside, they wereinundated with requests by brands and influencers to help them with their labels and just like that, the Slyletica concept was born.
They are now responsible for producing brands such as Flextt Apparel, founded by Aussie influencer Taya Brooks, along with launching a fashion line for Body Fit Training in Melbourne, alongside the 100+ brands they work under the radar for. As a duo making a name for themselves in the fitness fashion scene, Amodrn spoke with Simon and Yetta to find out more about the secrets behind the couples career success.
What inspired you to take the leap from your own fashion line to launching Slyletica and helping influencers launch their own?
“New labels starting out often have to outsource any of the work they can’t do themselves (which is a large majority of it) so we found this process to be tough. When we had our own line, we kept thinking “there has to be a better way”—from faulty stock, late deliveries, negotiating with suppliers, and anything else that could go wrong did,” explains Simon. “At the time, we couldn’t find an end-to-end solution to solve the problem for us so finally in December 2015 when we started Slyletica we realised it was exactly what we wanted to do as it uses our strengths and we get to help people realise their vision and make it easier for them.”
How do you make it work as a husband and wife duo?
“We’re lucky to be a husband/wife duo as the dynamic between us has really helped drive the growth in our business forward,” says Simon. “Being best friends for 12 years before going into business, we’re lucky in that we’ve always had an equal relationship, so that same partnership is how we run Slyletica,” says Yetta. “I am the big-picture vision whilst Yetta makes it happen on a daily basis so while our official titles are CEO (Simon) and COO (Yetta), we just show up every day and do whatever it takes to see our customers succeed, their success is our success.”
What would you say are the fundamental pillars that have built Slyletica’s success?
Setting clear goals: “Having both clear personal and business-focused goals has kept us motivated, especially when going through the hard times,” says Simon.
A positive attitude: “It’s not always going to be easy but being positive helps you tackle the challenges,” says Simon. “We’ve learnt with every down there’s an up, so don’t get too caught in the ebbs and flows.”
Building a team with amazing people: “Our staff are like our family. We are passionate about investing back into the company culture and encouraging the growth of every team member,” says Yetta.
What are the non-negotiable wellness rituals that keep you balanced and productive?
Bulletproof coffee: Simon and Yetta. “I find it kick-starts the day, along with a nourishing breakfast, which is so important, otherwise I bring Hangry Yetta to the office,” says Yetta
Journaling: “Every morning, without fail. I’ve kept one ever since we started the business and it’s been a life changer,” says Simon. “ I too journal at the end of my day to recap and tie everything together. It means I’m not problem-solving in my sleep,” says Yetta.
Victory hour: “I’m a big fan of ‘Victory hour,’ which is from Robin Sharma’s 5am Club. It involves taking an hour in the morning (5am-6am) to get inspired,” says Simon. “I don’t get to do it as much now that we have a 10-month old, but it’s a game changer.”
Planning the day ahead: “I have to be really strict with my day as 70 per cent of it revolves around meetings, so I have a to-do list which I slot into my calendar around my meetings,” says Yetta.
Floating: “ I love a float tank every now and then at our friend’s place, Beyond Rest,” says Simon. ”I find floatation really helps you to relax the mind and body.”
What key advice would you give to those wanting to launch their own fashion label or start-up?
Know your market: “Before you start to design your product, understand who is going to buy it, why they would buy it and where or how they are going to find you. Once you’ve done this, start making noise,” says Simon. “Before we started our activewear brand we spent 12 months building our socials up to over 10k. Influencers succeed because they are connected with their audience and understand what their followers love.”
Marketing: “One of the biggest challenges we’ve seen is people forgetting about marketing until the end of the process,” says Yetta. “People need to find you. Invest in marketing your product or finding someone who can do it for you. It’s a key factor for your success.”
GO BIG: “As big as your budget lets you,” says Simon. “If you and your accountant aren’t scared of your plans, they are too small!”
Be a gazelle and not an elephant: “Be prepared to move fast and pivot the business as necessary,” says Yetta.
Listen to your customers and the marketplace: “Your service and products need to solve their problems, not yours,” says Simon.
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