Creator's Talk | KAT the label

DELIRIOUS SET shop at KAT the Label

Today's Creators Talk is going to be all about lace, lingerie and entrepreneurship. I found Kate's label over a year ago on Instagram and immediately fell in love with her delicate designs and her eye for details. So I hope you're as excited as I was when I prepared this interview to see her answers and get to know everything about Kate and KAT the label.

NO.1 Hi Kate, you’re the creative and entrepreneur behind KAT the label. First tell us a little bit more about you and your background story. So that we can get to know you better.

Hey! So my real name is actually Kate- which gets mixed up with Kat all the time (and rightly so haha). I have always been passionate about fashion and sewing so it was only natural to study fashion design at university here in Melbourne (might I add I didn’t actually get into the fashion course first time round, had to apply twice!). It did take some convincing myself that fashion for me was going to be a career and not just a hobby. During my time at university we did a project on lingerie and I absolutely fell in love with the idea of bralettes and lingerie then.

NO. 2 When did you come up with the idea to start your own business and was there a key moment you knew that starting a business was what you wanted to do ? If yes, what did it feel like ?

Well after I finished uni I travelled around India and had no idea what I wanted to do career-wise when I returned. I didn’t get particulalry good grades and wasn’t even sure what area of industry I was suited to. I just knew I LOVED pretty fabrics. They inspire me so much. Once I got home from travelling I started sewing some simple lacey bralettes when I felt inspired after finding some eyelash lace, and would put photos of them on instagram. One day someone messaged me how can I buy these!? So I guess thats how Kat was born! I honestly thought it was going to be a simple hobby but haven’t looked back since my first sale.

NO. 3 What does it feel like now ? I’m sure there are many chances and challenges about being your own boss. Tell us a bit more about them.

Its pretty crazy actually. It’s difficult to know when its time to stop. Sometimes you don’t realise you are working literally all the time. Customer emails, instagrams at certain times, packing orders as well as designing and sampling new ranges and organising all the joys and stress of offshore production! I really do love it though so it never feels like “work“, just that I have to get shit done haha. Its fantastic though having the freedom of not reporting to someone else. Being able to travel for work, seeking inspriation, catching up with friends for coffee when you’re having a meltdown. I also don’t have to worry about reporting to a big boss so that is a huge plus!

NO.4 I don’t know if you remember but when I first contacted you I told you that I loved how you said in your brand’s philosophy: “Sometimes women forget how beautiful they are, and sometimes we need a little extra lace and love to remind ourselves.“

Can you talk a little bit about your philosophy ?

I do! It is so important to me to stand by this philosphy in every aspect of the bussines.  To remember why we as individual women are beautiful, inside and out. I aim to provide women with beautiful garments that help them celebrate their own beauty and resillience.

NO.5 Who else is involved in KAT the label ? Is it just you at the moment or do you have any employees ?

It is just me at the moment! And boy is it a lot of work haha. Everyday I wear about 10 different hats but I do love it. Retail assistant, customer service, production manager, designer, accountant, social media and marketing, PR, web development- literally everything I have done by myself which makes me proud.

That said- hopefully by the end of the year I take on my first empolyee which is exciting.

NO.6 What is your creative vision ? Do you feel like there are maybe two sides of you ? I have asked this question a lot and I got very diverse answers. What about you, is there there a creative side and a business side to you ? 

Great question! I definitly think I have multiple sides to me- probably more than two! The creative side of me is always inspired, designing or writing down crazy or creative ideas on where I can take the label next. The business and more practical side of me stresses about the boring stuff, money, sales, growth all that stuff. Its so important though to work on both sides. Can’t have one without the other!

Okay so usually I don't intervene in these interviews but for the purpose of this series in terms of entrepreneurship I felt like I just had to say something here. Including this interview I have already uploaded 3 Creators' Talk posts and somehow this question seems to be very special to me and all my interview partners. At the beginning I just thought it was a rare exception that Laura from DEON DANE felt exactly the same. But when I got Nika's answer and then now Kate's I just felt like: wow! There are actually people out there who feel exactly the same like me. I have discovered that maybe having those two sides to you may be exactly what young creatives working on their own business these days need. So for the purpose of this series I think we can all agree on this aspect we have learned so far. I am sure there are so much more entrepreneurs out there feeling exactly the same.

NO.7 Do you have any plans and goals for the future, maybe even for this year ? At the moment I think there are a few bralettes and two sets in store, right ? Are there any new products planned for the future ? Or even collections ?

I just got back from a crazy sourcing trip from China- I have never seen so much fabric in my life!!! So on the cards is a new range, more matching sets and bralettes. I really hope to get the online store full of new designs for my customers while working on some collaborations with other creatives.

NO.8 So now let’s talk a bit more about the production process. Where is your lingerie being produced and which steps are involved. 

Production is the biggest and most time consuming task of the business. My garments are made in a little factory in Guangzhou, China. I recently visited and had a wonderful time with my merchandiser over there, Emily. She took me to the fabric markets where I sourced all the new fabrics and trims for the new range. Typically I send over physical samples I have sewn myself along with specifacations, CAD drawings and measurements and request a counter sample to be made by the factory with correct measurements, trims and fabric.  If the sample is great then we go ahead to bulk production,  if not I change the design, measurements or fabric until I am happy with the garment. Its a lot of back and forth sometimes but sourcing the fabric yourself makes a huge difference.

NO.9 I’ve seen that you sell your lingerie in your own shop and via stockists. But what about advertising. Instagram and Social Media is becoming really important with more and more brands using it to advertise. Do you also use other ways to advertise ? 

Well I don’t think I would have a brand if I didnt have Instagram- thats where all of this started from. Its a huge amazing platform to reach real people directly and get feedback and actual information from them. If it was just an online store I’d never get any feedback. I love talking to customers it feels more personal and real that way, rather than just a transaction.

Its also a great place to collaborate with other brands, creatives, models, bloggers etc. as well as being discovered by stores. I think nearly all my stores found me through instagram and I am up to 20 stores now!

NOW THE FUN PART

NO.10 If I was an animal I would be… a monkey!

NO.11 If I was a word I would be… serendipity! (because my first ever design is named this plus the meaning is amazing and so suitable for how Kat came about!.

“the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way"

NO.12 If I was a colour I would be… black, because its very practical.

NO.13 I used to… live in Taiwan.

NO.14 My favourite Instagram accounts at the moment are… harperandharley & oraclefoxblog & nadiafairfax

NO. 15 I draw inspiration from... beautiful intricate fabrics and architecture.

Thank you so much for answering these questions for me! I wish you all the best for your personal future as well as for KAT the label!

I can't believe I got to interview all of these inspiring women, entrepreneurs and creatives so far. Reading there answers was so inspiring for me to continue my journey and to focus even more on my own business. I hope that everyone out there reading this and having doubts or questions about starting his/her own business has been able to get a step closer to pursue his/her dream.

KAT the Label Shop

Viviane xx