It was a case of out of the pot and into the fire for designer Binny Watson who left cooking to start her own business in the fiery fashion industry. The Investment Stylist caught up with the founder ofthe Binny label to ask her how she did it.
Can you give us a little background on your career to date?
It’s a little crazy! I started off in a completely different field (cooking) fell into a fashion sales, got promoted to designer. I then started a brand from scratch for another company. I had a break for two years in another field (marketing for an international horse stud). I came to the realisation I did really love the industry, and started my own business. Starting off in sales, is a massive advantage, as that is the driving force of any business, and I also think the most difficult part. I hated it but it taught me a lot.
Tell us about how Binny Wear came to be.
Having the break and working elsewhere in something completely different really gave me the insight that I was extremely lucky to work in this industry. It is fiercely competitive and runs at a cut throat pace, especially right now but that’s what keeps it exciting. Having a break gave me the head space to plan and fine tune my approach.
Can you talk us through any obstacles that you have faced in building your brand?
Production. It’s a endless battle. Small quantities means it’s very expensive. Endless problems with late deliveries, not following quality control and fit comments. I am constantly trialling new manufacturers, and trying to perfect my back of house process. A lot of trips to China and India which is fun, but on the other hand can be very isolating. Making a lot of big decisions solo is confronting.
What have been some of the highlights of your work with Binny Wear?
I absolutely love doing my photo-shoots and researching and developing the story behind each range. I try to give everything a meaning rather than just a random item of clothing. I am really enjoying working on my marketing and pr ideas and luckily have a very clever partner who helps me put it all together.
What are your long-term goals for the brand?
I am aiming for the mighty U S of A. Australia is the flavour of the month over there and is doing so well in many fields. Our small population makes production runs very difficult, so if I can even get a tiny slice of the American pie it will be alot bigger than here already.
What advice would you give to our readers who dream of starting their own business but don’t know where to begin?
Make sure you have a thorough understanding of not just one role in your potential business. You have to be prepared to do everything and be able to make decisions quickly. There is no one to call or delegate too. In hindsight I wish I had taken a far bigger interest in all aspects of production. Not just running around the office been a designer, making coffees and talking!
What has been the most important thing you have leant to date in your career?
I always take the time to listen to anyone who has an idea, or a proposal. It’s amazing how many interesting things I have come across by talking to people (a cab driver put me onto a amazing textile resource in India once). I used to be impatient and get extremely stressed out. I have realised it doesn’t help and you can only do what you can. Getting into a complete state doesn’t change the status of anything. Life goes on.
How would you best describe your investment style in three words?
It’s better to die knowing you tried, than wondering what if.