And then, “just like that” our shop doors finally closed. All that work, gone. The incredible fitout, the fascinating customers we’d met and the fun we’d had. That night, the last year echoed off the walls of our quiet boutique.
Interestingly, we discovered something when we did eventually speak. Neither of us were sad. Why, we wondered? It had been truly amazing and such a great loss after so much effort.
We began to chat excitedly, exactly the same way we did in that Sydney coffee shop a year previously. Not ones to be defeated, we figuratively picked ourselves up, dusted ourselves off and said “right then, next”!
The pivot was made. Our next move on the chess board of life was about to begin. We were going to give Declare Denim everything we had in us.
With an ambitious dose of reignited determination, our sustainable fashion boutique and coffee shop was dismantled. Enthusiastically, at the same time a permanent workspace was being set up for our Declare creations to come together. We were full steam ahead.
It was only after some months that the steam started to run out. It was one thing to create amazingly unique denim pieces that people loved. It was something else entirely to launch a clothing brand in what is now a totally new world of fashion.
What began as an awesome fledgling brand that would take the world by storm, quickly turned into a turbulent storm in my own teacup. The fashion world as it turned out, is now almost entirely online. On Instagram, on Tik Tok, on Pinterest and on everything in between that is the net.
Quickly, I was beginning to pull my hair out trying to find a way to take this brand to the next level in this huge new world. It was no longer about opening your shop doors to the immediate public anymore. Your shop doors open to the entire world when your laptop does.
As a right brained creative that loves to do stuff with my hands, attempting a left brained crash course in social media marketing and all it’s intricacies to get our voice out there was literally, a disaster. What did I even want to say? How did I want to say it? How did I push this new fashion brand up through all the layers of “noise”, to even be seen?
Words like “analytics”, “algorithms”, “trending” and “engagement” all sounded like something from a futuristic science fiction film! Shaking my head in absolute frustration one day, I conceded that I could not do this all by myself and have it be a success.
If there’s something weird, and it don’t look good …. who ya gonna call?? A Social Media Marketing Expert.
After speaking to a family friend, we were lucky enough to find one who really knew her stuff. A meeting was set up and to say I was excited was an understatement. Finally, I could make some progress forward.
The social media legend and I sat down for a cuppa. I had anticipated getting right into creating our social media account. But this clever, shiny millennial had other ideas. She began with; “so, who are you?”
Ummm, I began. “Well, I came to Australia from the UK as a teenager and have been here for quite some time now”…. I trailed off as she giggled into her almond milk, dandelion chai. “No”, she said after composing herself. “I meant, who are you as a BRAND?”.
This was another pivotal moment. This simple conversation set the critical direction I needed. For the best part of two hours we drilled down into what made my sustainable fashion brand different. Who was my ideal customer? What were my passions? How did I want to speak to the world? Most importantly, what type of “brand voice” did I want to have? After some weeks of discussions, we had an initial grasp on where to begin. The Declare Denim Instagram account was finally launched. To this wonderful individual, I will be eternally grateful. She helped me begin, when I couldn’t even see the start line.
Fast forward six months and we had managed to engage a professional branding agency to take the next step up again.
Who were we?
We were an ethical brand with an edge, sustainably creating one off pieces for fashion icons, singers, performers, public figures and ethical legends. We were disruptors, ready to offer our customers unique garments to join a cultural shift and look good doing it.
We were, we are, Declare Denim.
"Every new beginning comes from some other beginnings end". Closing Time by Semisonic