Wren Designs is clothing inspired by the 70’s boho and beach culture, the designs are fresh daywear and floaty evening wear, with the amalgamation of comfort and glamour.
The passion: What inspired you to set up your business?
The inspiration was actually other women!
Once my daughter was born, I started sewing for her and I re-awakened my teenage passion for sewing and creating. There are only so many clothes a baby needs, especially at that time as we lived in Darwin, Australia, where it is just hot all the time. This led me to sew tropical dresses, skirts, shorts for myself. Whenever I wore my outfits, strangers would stop me in the streets to ask ‘where did I buy it from’ and friends would say ‘can you make me one’. Their compliments and support helped me with the startup.
The Launch: How did you start out in the beginning?
A friend of mine, her parents, have an amazing property full of tropical plants, pathways, it’s a real oasis. They, with the support of the Northern Territory tourism board, open their property one weekend a year to the public to showcase their property and for a garden show. They approached me to see if I would like a space to set up a stall. I bit the bullet, designed a cotton t-shirt, a pair of shorts and a maxi dress. With these three designs, I went. I ended up taking orders, selling some products and received really positive feedback.
Fortunately for me, Darwin has a fabulous market scene, so I continued with markets for a while before launching a website.
The innovation: What was the biggest breakthrough for you with your business?
Definitely being invited to showcase in the Northern Territory Fashion Week in 2014. I was given eight models to dress with a new collection and had a ‘shop’ to sell at the event. This fantastic opportunity exposed my brand to an incredible amount of people. After this, I still did my markets but also home boutiques. I think what made my brand stand out was the colour prints that I used plus most of my collections, still to date, is its everyday glamour. It’s something you can wear to school pickup or with added accessories, out to dinner.
Yin and Yang: How do you balance work and family?
I am lucky since I work from home for myself, I can set my own hours. Now my children are at school, I only work during school hours but can also take time off to help out at school events and excursions.
When the kids were younger, it was harder, I would sew while they had a day time sleep, or in the evenings once they went to bed. For my daughters 5th birthday we bought her a sewing machine and set it up next to my sewing machine, then if I needed to work, she and her little 4-year-old brother would cut, sew and make blankets, pillows and clothes for their soft toys. I kept a special box just for them full of fabrics, haberdashery, stuffing, for them it was a treasure trove! It kept us doing something together as a family.
The Drive: What challenges have you overcome?
The first challenge was my own mind. Can I really do this? Would women really want to buy from me? Am I good enough? Luckily my husband is super supportive (not to mention proud), and I had a fabulous network of friends.