The fashion and tech scene around the world might seem huge sometimes. So many people are involved in it, trying to get in, coming up with brilliant ideas and and setting up their stylish startups online.
When I think about it, I find it to be so funny. Actually, there aren’t so many of us out there, which makes it feel like a big family of fashion people with a techy side in some way. Overall, we pretty much know or at least once met them all. It’s easy: we go and participate in the same conferences, attend the same launches, fashion shows and events, and bump into each other online almost every day, and thank God for Twitter, that simply makes it all so much easier. It’s true, I can personally tell you that I’ve met so many people from this fascinating scene through Twitter, and was twitterduced to others so many times.
Isn’t it wonderful?
I’ve met Krista Peck and Jessica Quillin years back in time, online of course It didn’t take too long before we became friends, and were walking around our living-rooms when we Skype each other with our iPads, sharing ideas and thoughts. I was lucky enough to meet Jessica in person during fashion week in New York, which only proves my point even more: It’s a tiny world, and our intense online lives make it even smaller.
Jessica, for example, lives in Washington DC. Her lovely partner, Krista Peck, lives in Germany. They started Atelier 36 together, online, and provide strategic consulting services, catered for their clients in the luxurious side of the lifestyle industries. I recently set down to ask them a few questions about having a stylish startup and about their passion for working in the international fashion scene. I am so happy to host them here on our blog and to start our Fashpreneurs blog posts series with these two!
1. Tell us about your startup. What is it about?
Atelier 36 is a strategic consultancy focused on solutions for the luxury, fashion, beauty, and lifestyle industries.
2. How did you come up with the idea for it? What made you start a fashion online startup?
While we share many interests, fashion is one of the areas we are most passionate about. We each had some prior fashion consulting experience, and even had the opportunity to work together – virtually – on a few projects after initially meeting on Twitter.
We both realized we had space in our lives to pursue our interest in working with fashion brands, so started our company within a few days of our initial brainstorm.
3. So many fashion entrepreneurs started their career in some other fields of the industry. What is your background in fashion, if at all?
Jessica: I am an academic by training but spent my PhD studying how art and beauty affect people. After getting my PhD, I then spent the majority of my professional career working in arts marketing and brand strategy. Fashion and luxury marketing thus became a natural extension for me as a close relative of the arts.
Krista: I was drawn to fashion ever since I can remember, and when I was a little girl I would sometimes create fashion sketches as I dreamed of becoming a fashion designer (among many other things). Much later, I worked for a boutique consultancy which catered to fashion clients, and also served as the editor-in-chief for a digital fashion marketing magazine.
4. Besides working very hard on your project, where do you find your inspiration? What are your daily/weekly reads and window shopping spots?
Jessica: Inspiration to me is both a present and historical thing. I am inspired equally by the history of fashion as well as current designers. I love keeping up with the happenings in international fashion and the luxury market. My daily reads include The Business of Fashion, Vanessa Friedman’s Material World blog in the Financial Times, and WWD. Weekly I like to keep up with The Economist and Jing Daily. I live in Washington, DC so window shopping is usually Georgetown and Old Town Alexandria, though I rely on my twice yearly trips to London for Fashion Week for truly indulgent shopping.
Krista: I find inspiration everywhere, from my children to social networks. My morning must-reads include Women’s Wear Daily, Luxury Society, Mashable, TechCrunch, Fast Company, and Forbes. I have many others, but those are bookmarked in my Chrome browser. I’ve been living in Germany for two years and have one year left, so love visiting the small boutiques in our town as well as the large luxury stores in nearby Frankfurt.
5. What do you think about the evolvement of lifestyle blogs in comparison to old school printed journalism?
There is a romance to print that we think will never be lost, even though it is no longer the main conduit for fashion journalism. Lifestyle blogs feed a desire for knowledge and immediate style advice among fashion consumers that ultimately is good for the industry. In this way, the democratization of fashion is a positive development in that it is creating a more inclusive, educated class of consumers. However, like anything, too much of a good thing is not good. Lifestyle blogs need to be personalized and curated if they are to last and stay meaningful.
6. What do you think about lifestyle bloggers who monetize their blogs with banners, affiliate links and other advertising tools?
We think it’s smart to monetize a blog if you can, without sacrificing too much of your style and readership. We think it’s all about balance and being transparent with your readers. Krista’s first two fashion-related blogs were supported by various ads, including affiliate ads, and she did quite well with it.
7. Where would you like to see your project in one year from now?
We would like to continue to work with both emerging designers and larger brands to bring creative and interesting strategy and, in turn, content to the world of fashion. We believe strongly that strategy for the fashion and luxury industries must be brand specific and dynamic in order to build and sustain growth.
8. What is the best career related tip you were given?
Jessica: Someone once advised me that there is no single path to achieving your dreams. We receive education in so many different ways these days via formal schooling, on-the-job learning, and life experience. Making the jump to become an entrepreneur has taught me the value—and power—of believing in the potential of your own ideas and that you can shape your career and life.
Krista: Many people along the way have said, “Do what you love.” After trying a few different careers, I finally found the one that gives me that “better than a sugar rush” feeling and truly feels like home. That Confucius quote, “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life” really means something to me now. I think it’s important to be disciplined and assertive enough to make it all happen.
If you are interested to learn more about Atelier 36, you can follow them on Twitter and Facebook! I’d like to thank Jessica and Krista for this wonderful interview, and, of course, for the fantastic friendship
VP Branding and Global Communications at Fashiontraffic.com