Friday, July 10, 2009

No place like Etsy, yet

One very lovely and helpful fashion business consultant gave me an advice- don’t go selling on, it will ruin your fashion label’s image and “proper” fashion boutiques will not want to sell your stuff if you are on Etsy.

Well, what do you do? If one makes things that one wants to sell- Etsy is great. Its democratic, it’s instant, you have the control and the best thing – you will be able to keep most of the money.

Selling through the boutiques is nice for exposure and representation, but everyone knows they multiply their prices manifold and for that reason designers are forced to make their wholesale prices as low as possible.

That might be one of the reasons why most of the designers do not make much profit selling clothes. In best cases they break even. Money comes in from other sources for the designers- teaching, selling design consultation services, perfume licences, accessories, designing collections for high street brands and so on.

The designers who make money from clothes are usually retailers themselves, owning several own label shops. Even all the successful high street brands like Mango, Zara, New Look etc. are clever, selling through their own shops only and doing so keeping all the money.

The problem is- not all the designers are able or even wish to become shopkeepers, or even have a budget to open their own online shops.

etsy shop

My shop on

So what choices are there for a young designer who actually wants to make a living with his/hers designs? Studio sales, sales through blogs, markets- not very high profile. Etsy? Or are there any similar sites to Etsy, but more high end designer, that let you set up your own shop under their wing and charge sellers reasonable percentage per sale? There might be some out there, but I personally do not know any. If anyone knows, please let me and the others know too.

To sell on Etsy and other unorthodox places I created a separate label from my own name label. I decided it will be sort of saboteur-label. I can do anything I want under it and sell anywhere I find suitable and nothing can harm it, because its saboteur-label. I called it a_s_proto and at the moment you can find it in my Etsy shop and in one small designer shop ( which I part own ) in Northern Europe. Under a_s_proto I can do one-offs and small editions and special releases, run riot and have lots of fun.

At the moment I’m only selling jewellery under a_s_proto but hopefully clothes will follow one day.

asproto label

My new label looks like that. I added my fingerprint to it- so it cannot be faked ;-)

Madeleine Vionnet used to use her fingerprint on her label- that’s where I got the idea from.

tribe jewellery

Here are some pieces from my a_s_proto jewellery collection called “Tribe”.

kratt heads

When I needed to make a display for my a_s_proto “Tribe” collection earrings in my shop, I designed some silly “masks”. The more I look at them the more I like them and I’m thinking of turning them into T-shirt prints in black and white. Might look quite good.

kratt display

This is what the display looks like.