The perfect blend of two designers sharing the same philosophy

Features

Today, the Sqetch team interviewed two brands that come together as Downtown Dress Up. Designers Sanne Gils and Daniela Larue share their studio at the Local Goods Store in Amsterdam.

Daniela is an artist and fashion designer. She gets inspiration from everything that surrounds her, especially street scenes that she draws and turns into wooden blocks that successively become her final patterns. From inspirational landscapes, she makes incredible prints that – together with the accurate selection of fabrics – give the final garment a unique personality.

On the other hand, Sanne is a bags and accessories designer. She works with leather and produces both plain and coloured pieces, all of which possess geometric shapes. She gets inspiration from architecture, nature, movies, and anything that triggers her emotions and then turns these into amazing designs.

Both of the designers produce limited-edition collections which makes every piece unique. All their products have a story to tell and the person looking for that one of a kind piece is mostly the perfect fit.

So, could you tell us a bit more about your alpha phase, how did you get started?

D: Sanne and I have always been cautious and humble; maybe that is why we have never made irrevocable mistakes. We have never made big moves but instead took well-thought baby steps. Indeed, both of us started off by doing what we like: we produced handcrafted garments and accessories that we distributed at local markets and fairs. Opening up our own store was way to expensive and therefore too risky.

S: We did whatever we could to sell our products offline, as none of us wanted to use the online channel. We believe our products need to be seen, touched and tried on, as they have many unique details. You can’t really understand the texture and how the product suits you from a picture, can you?

D: Exactly! We consider the shop journey and contact with our consumers as an integral part of the purchase process. It is important to really connect with your customers because they are not only buying your design, but also your service.

Is there any advice you would like to give to starting brands?

S&D: That’s a tricky question!

S: It really depends on what people are looking for and their definition of success.

D: If your goal is to make money, then I guess we have none. But, if what you do is your passion then we definitely recommend you to continue your journey step by step. This is our way to avoid big mistakes and keep moving forward.

S: It’s a beautiful way to grow your business slowly, but it doesn’t mean you will be instantly rich!

D&S: Let’s say that we are rich in life, but not moneywise!

D: That’s also the nice part of being your own boss, there is no better thing than waking up in the morning, looking in the mirror and being happy to do what you do. Being true to yourself everyday is one of the most gratifying things in life to me!

What is the most memorable moment since you first started your brands?

D&S: Meeting each other.

S: We met at a fair 8 years ago and it was “love at first sight”.

D: We both saw something special in each other’s work and decided to start creating projects together. The outcome was incredible and the more we worked side by side, the more the idea of having a brand and a common atelier to produce and sell our stuff became tangible.

S: We were on the same wavelength and this is something so rare to find that we would have been stupid to not join forces.

D: We started off with joint projects, which we still try to do twice a year, and after 2 years we decided to open our own atelier and store.

What surprising lessons did you learn along the way?

D: That there is a market for your product. I think that’s everyone’s concern when starting your own business. But you need to give it a go, there are people who do appreciate what you do and who you are. People really notice when something is honest!

S: Couldn’t agree more. That is why it is so important to stay true to yourself!

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