Female Founder Ana tells all about Studio Twenty Eight - from where the idea came from to how she feel about Dignity.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background?
I am the Founder and Creative Director of Studio Twenty Eight, a start-up business that was launched last year. I don't want to bore you with my life story but I’ve been born and raised in Wellington, I'm 20 years old and working towards my degree, majoring in Marketing and Event Management. I have a huge love for fashion and coffee, and love trying to make a difference in whatever I do.
What is Studio Twenty Eight and why did you start your business?
I have always wanted a career in the fashion industry. I grew up wanting to be a fashion designer but I saw so many set backs with start-up costs for designers. Once all the machinery and supplies are purchased and a workspace has been sorted, there’s still a ton of costs with websites, marketing, branding and promoting yourself. I started looking at ways around these pricey start-up costs and instead of just using the findings for myself, I decided to help out all the other struggling designers. That sparked the idea of Studio Twenty Eight.
Studio Twenty Eight is a digital marketing company working within the fashion and beauty industry. We work towards merging fashion designers/brands with the rapidly changing technological world and provide affordable solutions for web design, social media strategies, branding and anything digital.
We refer to our company as “a world of fashion close to home” as we are about more than just providing the digital marketing services. We have a mission to build up New Zealand's fashion industry to make its mark internationally. We also work on projects such as our up-and-coming workshop series for start-up fashion and beauty companies. Through this we provide them with all the knowledge and resources to get ahead. To top if off we run a fashion blog called 'Caffeine' to give New Zealanders their fashion fix and to expose new emerging designers too, as well as affordable fashion for students. It's called Caffeine as it's the fuel for your fashion addiction – See what we did there ;) Lame I know, you’ll get used to my humour after a while.
Who inspires you?
Within the fashion industry, definitely Danielle Bernstein, the Founder of We Wore What. She's such a business woman at heart with a bad-ass personality (I'd like to think she's a little like me). A New Zealander I really look up to is Donielle Brooke, the Founder of Designer Wardrobe. Her story is beyond amazing and it’s so great to see kiwi's thriving and being able to take their businesses international – Here's hoping I'll get there too one day!
What's been your favourite/hardest moment of your business journey?
I think confidence has been the hardest hurdle for me to overcome. When you are putting all your efforts into something that you are so passionate about and people can easily come along and criticise you, it's a pretty scary feeling. I struggled (especially in the beginning) to feel comfortable posting things on my business accounts because I never felt it was good enough. I could see all the flaws, but in reality if I wait for there to be no flaws I'd never get anything done.
What advice would you give to others wanting to starting a business?
Ask for help!! I have been so surprised at the amount of people who go out of their way to help me when they hear about my new business ventures. You've got to accept that you can't do everything yourself and there's a lot you won't know, so without asking you'll never find out.
And I’ll just put it out there, if anyone does want help or even just someone to talk to about starting a business I am more than happy to. I’m no expert but the more you talk about your idea, the more confident you will become and those kind of conversations are what spark new ideas for your company. Seriously if anyone wants, just give me a Facebook message on the Studio Twenty Eight page.
What's the best part about working for yourself?
Working in my pyjamas for sure! And there's no limitations. if I have a crazy idea like buying a truck for The Princess Project then I can do it and no one can tell me no *laughs*
What is the Princess Project and why is it important to you? I also have two dresses sitting at home how can I donate them?
The Princess Project is something so special to me, I'm still working on getting it up and running, but the concept behind it is to let less fortunate kids experience their school ball without money holding them back. The princess Project works off donations, so anyone with old ball dresses, suits, shoes and accessories they don’t want can donate them. We are in the process of getting funding for a small truck which we are planning to fit out with mirrors, a fitting room and clothing racks for all our dresses. This truck will make its way round low decile schools throughout the ball season and lend the children on outfit for the night so they can feel super special.
I have set up donation stations at Wellington Library in the past for people to drop the dresses off, but once we have a bit of funding behind us there will be a PO Box they can all be sent to. For now though, if you give the Studio Twenty Eight facebook page a message we can arrange the donations through there.
How do you manage your time between the business and your other commitments?
I'm probably not the best person to answer this question because I’m still working on the whole balance thing. I study full time, work in retail, and have my business, I run charity work like the Princess Project and coordinate our business events so things get pretty crazy sometimes!
I am so passionate about my business that sometimes I'll be up at 3am working on my website with an 8am lecture the next morning and an assignment due the next day. It all somehow ends up getting done though! But I do understand the importance of balance and I make sure amongst all the craziness I take time out for myself. I'm a big fan of walks and exploring our gorgeous country, as well as a good Netflix series so they really help balance it all out. At the end of the day though, nothing gets me as excited as working on Studio Twenty Eight so sometimes it takes priority when it shouldn't... Oops.
How can we encourage more women to start their own businesses?
I honestly think we need to share more success stories and I love what you girls at Dignity are doing with these blog interviews – It’s a really good start!
Not trying to do a sneaky promotion for myself here, but Studio Twenty Eight have a focus on supporting women start up their own businesses too and after talking with a lot of young women a lot of them are just unsure where to start!
We are starting to run workshops for any women (and men of course) within the fashion and beauty industries that would like to start up their own businesses but don't know how. There are so many resources out there but they are sometimes really hard to find, so we are bringing that all together over a course of 8 sessions. We are teaching everything from setting up websites and social media accounts, branding and logo creation, to learning how to connect with suppliers and learning about all the laws and regulations we have here in NZ. With wine and food too of course.
Hopefully through these workshops we will be encouraging more women to start their own businesses too. - They launch in February and registrations will start November/December so keep an eye out.
What are your next steps from here?
Oh my god where do I start? I have so much planned within the next 12 months for Studio Twenty Eight and The Princess Project, the list is endless. We are about to get Studio Twenty Eight's new website launched within the next few weeks so definitely keep an eye out for that! It's a huge transformation from the old website and we're incorporating a donation feature so people can donate to The Princess Project through the website too!.
Our workshops are starting in February so there's still a lot to organise for that! It's coming along nicely though, and there will be a sneak peek of some of our booklets that are free with the workshops on our social media accounts soon. In terms of the Princess Project, we are currently trying to source funding and donations, both for the dresses themselves and for the truck and getting all the legal stuff sorted.
But aside from that I need to hurry up and graduate! I finish my degree in June next year so once that is out of the way I'll be full force into Studio Twenty Eight and you'll see heaps more coming!
What do you love about Dignity?
It's such a selfless concept I am absolutely in love with it. At the same time though, I feel like this should have been normalised many many years ago. It's such a shame that we are still having to try and start initiatives like this but I am glad you girls are working on it now.
In the business world I often feel that you have to put your femininity aside to feel professional and respected (especially in male dominated industries) so it's great to see the stigma starting to be broken.
Once Studio Twenty Eight has a few more employees we will definitely jump on board!!!