With her avant garde spirit, luxury womenswear designer, Christina Exie is one of the most electric new talents to emerge in Australian fashion.
“Directional yet wearable with a crisp modern edge, Exie’s creations are thoughtfully constructed for the wardrobe of the sophisticated and young at heart woman with an appreciation for the avant-garde.”
With such a distinct aesthetic, defining a clear brand message was crucial to identifying the role Christina Exie would play in the Australian market.
“Identifying the market for your product is the number one priority before you start your brand,” she said. “After all if you don’t have a market that will buy your product, then you definitely don’t have a business.
“It took me about four collections before I got a crystal clear understanding of who my market is, which was very much shaped by the people who responded to my product initially.”
Christina Exie will join Bronx & Banco and IXIAH in an Australian designer line-up for the Fashion Exposed Business Breakfast chaired by Ragtrader editor, Assia Benmedjdoub where they’ll share their their experiences in the world of fashion and retail.
In this interview she shares some key learnings since her label launch.
Once you have identified this, what’s the first step start-ups need to take when launching a business? How important is a business plan?
Once your market has been clearly identified, you need to then understand what your product will be, the price of it and its placement. The three P’s opens up a plethora of questions, therefore you will need to construct a business plan. A business plan is an essential tool that maps out the nuts and bolts of your business, and helps to communicate your vision and plans to other people who will be working with/for you and potential investors.
Looking back from when you first started, what are some key learnings you can share with us? What would you do differently? Why/why not?
When I first started my brand everything happened all at once and very quickly. I wasn’t equipped with a business plan and hadn’t yet clarified my market therefore I had a lot of unanswered questions that had to be learned on the job. If I could start again I would begin with a very clear and concise business plan, and surround myself with smart and experienced business minded people to bounce ideas off on a regular basis.
As a Melbourne designer, did you feel that there was support around you when you first started? If yes, what was available? If no, what support do you think is needed?
When launching my brand I felt a lot of support from everyone in the Melbourne Fashion Industry. It seemed however the support was coming from more of a PR perspective rather than business. It was a lot of hard work at the beginning to understand the nuts and bolts of fashion business, thus I believe their needs to be more support in this area.
The Australian Fashion Chamber was launched recently with founding members Vogue editor-in-chief Edwina McCann, Malcolm Carfrae executive vice president communications at Calvin Klein, and Woolmark fashion communications manager Melissa Grace – how do you think this will help the local design community? Why/why not?
The Australian Fashion Chamber is a fantastic organization that gives Australian fashion designers the opportunity to gain experience overseas, and provides them with a platform to reach international markets where they can show and sell their product. Our nation is now identified as a leader in fashion design because of this organization.
It’s a tough market out there for fashion designers/retailers, many emerging businesses will be in the audience at the Fashion Exposed Business Breakfast, what is your one piece of advice?
If you really want to succeed, don’t let anything get in your way. Don’t be afraid of failing and always believe in yourself no matter how hard the journey gets.
Limited tickets are still available for the Fashion Exposed Business Breakfast, visit fashionexposed.com/sydney