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How to have the confidence to start your own fashion business

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Advice on starting a fashion business - tips from designers

Land of Women co-founders, from left to right, Mckenzie Raley and Sarah Belz. Image by: Lisa Says Gah

Life and Love

How to have the confidence to start your own fashion business

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If you've ever dreamed of starting you own label, here are five pieces of advice you may not have heard before. 

If you’re Mckenzie Raley – co-founder of the minimalist lingerie label Land of Women – you simply jump in before you can change your mind. “I’m a pretty impulsive person,” she says, laughing. “I went for it and dealt with the problems later.” More of a dip-your-toe type? That’s cool too.
 

START WITH ONE HERO PRODUCT 


For Raley and business partner Sarah Belz, it was a soft-cup bra that today remains their bestselling item. “I wanted a certain type of bra that wasn’t out there,” says Raley. “Every brand I found was very girlie and lacy, really youth focused and not sophisticated, so I decided to make my own.”

YOU DON'T NEED A MENTOR — YOU NEED SEVERAL 


“Reach out to people in the industry whom you admire and let them know that you respect what they’re doing and you’d love some feedback,” she says. “It’s always nice to have a sounding board of people with experience who can properly advise you. Every one connection I made opened the door to five more.”

DON'T EXPECT IT TO BE EASY 


“Nothing can really prepare you for owning a business and running everything yourself,” says Raley. “It’s like being a new mom. Be prepared to work really hard, don’t be lazy and don’t cut corners.”

PAY IT FORWARD 


“Production is notoriously hard, and it’s all based on relationships,” she says. “It helps to help one another out. If you have a question about fabric, you can call another indie lingerie company. At the end of the day, your brand is your own, so helping others shouldn’t affect you.” 

DON'T BE AFRAID TO DIVERSITY...WHEN THE TIME IS RIGHT 


Raley and Belz expanded their line from a single bra to a full range of underpinnings and loungewear as well as a curated range of skincare products. “The world is our oyster, and the response has been amazing,” says Raley. “We’re a friendly, accessible and empowered brand, and we’re going to keep growing.”

 

This article originally appeared in the April 2017 issue of ELLE Canada.

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How to have the confidence to start your own fashion business