After almost selling out when they debuted in Melbourne last year, Collective Closets are back with an even bigger and bolder collection!
Read our interview with Fatuma and Laurinda, the two African born, Melbourne raised sisters behind this local label. Of course you can also discover this gorgeous new collection HARMONY //AMANI at our Melbourne market next weekend.
Tell us a little about yourself and how you came to begin your label:
We are two Melbourne sisters behind the label, Collective Closets. African born and Melbourne raised, our label is a harmonious marriage between our two cultures, the chic deconstructed but restrained silhouettes of Melbourne and the wild, untamed, and deregulated aesthetics of modern African fashion drawing inspiration from the city of Nairobi where a new African fashion renaissance is fast emerging.
Our label came about from our first trip to Nairobi, Kenya. From the minute you land this city sweeps you away, takes your breath away and engulfs you on a journey of this eclectic, colourful + culturally enriched world. We wanted our collections to reflect our love for Nairobi but specifically the Massai tribe, from the tartan fabric we chose to the eclectic vibrant prints it has been an important part in telling our story. Being in that environment provided us with the fuel and nourishment we needed to start fulfilling our dreams and stop allowing our fears to hold us back.
What would be one piece of advice you would give a first time seller at The Finders Keepers?
Be organised! Here’s our top 5 Market tips:
- Set up your stall a week prior to the market. This will give you an idea of the time it takes to set up your stall but also gives you an idea of how best to exhibit your products. You can get really creative without breaking the bank!
- Go through your checklist a week prior to the market, everyday leading up to the market, the night before the market and the morning of. Sounds excessive but you’ll be surprised how easy it is to forget something essential.
- Make sure you test out all your electronic gadgets and have them all charged the night before. Familiarise yourself with anything that you are not familiar with, nothing worse than holding up a sale because you’re not sure how to work your new POS system or find out you ran our of data for your portable wifi.
- Business cards are a must! We easily handed out hundreds of business cards over the 3 days. Not all shoppers will purchase on the day, we met and talked to so many brand new customers that we directed to our website. Shoppers love to take away something and learn more about your brand in the comfort of their own home. If you have a mailing list, make sure you have a sign up sheet for your shoppers. Try and get as many new subscribers you can, let them know what benefits/sales your label has through the year to entice them to sign up.
- Make sure all your items are priced and your stall is signed well. The stalls get quite busy, you might not be able to talk to each and every person that make their way to your stall. Don’t loose a customer’s interest or a sale because your items not priced or there is no information about your products.
Tell us something exciting that you have planned for COLLECTIVE CLOSETS this year.
We’re in the processing of planning our next trip to Kenya, Nairobi to meet Julian a young girl that we sponsor as part our Mission of Hope 2.
14 year old Julian Atieno Remba who through our Mission of Hope and partnership with ANPCANN’s Child Education Sponsorship programme started high school earlier this year. Julian is a student that hails from the slum of Mathare in Nairobi County. Julian comes from a single parent family, who’s mother passed away 5 years ago. Julian is 1 of 3 siblings whose father did not have the financial means to send Julian to school.
She has dreams of becoming an agricultural engineer and through The Child Education Sponsorship programme and Collective Closets this dream can now become a reality.
For every garment purchased by you our customer you automatically donate 10% towards Julian’s schooling. Our mission is to see Julian thrive + achieve her dreams in becoming an agricultural engineer.
Name one resource that your label could not live without.
The internet/Social media (Cliché- but a huge life line). During the lead up we use social media to reach out to all our customers/ subscribes. We have special offers exclusive to them that we promote during the 3 days of the Finders Keepers. We use this time to do giveaways and offer customers that shop and come down during the market special offers. It’s a great way to show our customers all the behind the scenes action through snap chat and IG live.
Tell us about your favourite product from your collection.
Our favourite piece from our current Harmony Collection is the Ujamma Kimono in the Harmony Print.
Editors note: Be sure to check out the Collective Closets + Ovazania collaboration too!