How Three British Siblings Turned Their Love of Festival Fashion Into a Million Dollar Business
August 8th, 2019 by Candis Hall
Unless you’ve been hiding in a cave for the last couple of years, and deleted Instagram off your phone, it’s clear to see that festival fashion has become kind of a big deal. Everyone is now referring to Coachella as the ‘Influencer Olympics’, which is frankly, both hilarious and true. Many other countries are now jumping on the American-style bandwagon at festivals, trying looking as glam as possible in what can sometimes be, one of the messiest situations you can be in.
Three siblings who have cashed in on the trend are UK based fashion designers and soon to be millionaires Leanne, Natalie, and Ryan Haynes; founders of the celebrity-loved brand; Elsie and Fred. Basing their style around bright colors (a popular summer trend this year), sequins, and bold prints. They’ve taken the festival world by storm.
This year, the brand is said to hit £1 million in turnover (about $1.3 million). Let’s take a look at how they did it.
Back in the early days, the company took advantage of Asos Marketplace to help them sell vintage pieces, one-offs, and small quantities of their own designs. They used this as an opportunity to learn about what their customers liked and grew the brand from there. They used location shoots to showcase their brand in action where they could.
All of their items were kept in a storage unit in Brixton and the designer, Natalie, would use the space to play around with fabrics from time to time; kind of like a workshop. It’s actually where the famous La Bamba short was born.
They’ve now been trading on Asos Marketplace for over four years. They’re a staple brand on the main website now they have deals in place with manufacturers to keep up with demand. They also have their own website and have even been one of the featured brands in retail giant Topshop.
How They Achieved Success
“Fashion is a hugely saturated market, especially in the UK. Hundreds of boutiques have graced the internet over the last few years and very few actually manage to make the cut when it comes to large scale success” said Lauren Brown, a journalist at glamourpilot.co.uk. “The fact the Elsie & Fred team has achieved such a milestone is a credit to their hard work”.
So what did the Coventry-born siblings do to A. Stand out from the crowd, and B. Make a million bucks from it?
They’ve been working hard since 2014 to get the business where it’s at today and thanks to some popular designs that caught the eye of celebrities, like the La Bamba shorts, which at one point they struggled to sell, they’ve managed to capitalize on their success.
In 2018, the famous shorts were worn by Dua Lipa’s entire dance squad during both their performances at the Champions League Final and the American Billboard Awards. They’ve also been spotted on Brazilian born Victoria’s Secret model, Alessandra Ambrosio. Natalie said when she first designed the shorts, she couldn’t give them away and they were far from popular, yet to date, they’ve now sold more than 24,000 pairs. Festival-goers love them.
The Instagram Effect
Whenever interviewed, the three siblings often thank Instagram for their major successes too. Ryan, who deals with the company’s online marketing efforts says it’s a great tool for cross-marketing alongside their other platforms and using influencers to promote their brand has proven to be hugely beneficial to them.
They were lucky in that at the time they founded the company, Instagram had a fraction of the users it has today; around 200million so saturation in the market was limited.