0

Two of our Favourite Ethical Australian Designers

By 18th October 2021Fashion, Other Stuff

Interview of Mifufu and Carley Rose by Freya Bennett

MIFUFU

Tell us a little bit about yourself:

My name is Aggie, and I live on the Fleurieu Peninsula with my husband and our baby. I graduated from Flinders University in 2019 with a bachelor of fashion design, and I’m very passionate about fashion as art and not just fashion. My graduate collection was inspired by childhood doodling!

Tell us a little bit about your business:

Mifufu is an ethical recycled fashion label. I make everything at home in my spare room, and currently only use recycled fabrics which I source both locally and from online. I started doing coats about a year ago and I guess that is now my niche!

Where are you located?

On the Fleurieu Peninsula in South Australia

Where did the idea for your business come from?

Mifufu happened all on its own. In third year we had to make Instagram accounts for our final collections, and I kept going with mine afterwards. It turned into a fully fledged business!

How has it been going so far?

The amount of support I have received both as a designer before I started doing predominantly outerwear, and since I started has been unreal. I am so thankful for the love and interest of my follower base. I never thought I could turn this into a full time gig! I absolutely love making things and I love making them for people.

What’s the hardest thing about running your own business?

I would say time management, especially with a young baby. But he’s very chill and goes with the flow of everything so I’m incredibly lucky in that regard. My worst enemy is tiredness! But I’m so motivated  and I love how excited people get when I share new ideas/designs. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

What’s the best part of running your own business?

Every time I get a new order, my heart sings. My absolute favourite part is after I’ve just released a drop, and watching the live feed with my husband and just seeing it all unfold. Then I usually just go straight to bed and rest! I love all the messages I get from people and making connections with them. It’s amazing getting to know people in that way.

What’s the top tip you’d like to share with anyone keen to start a business?

Do your market research! Who is your target market? Literally invent that person and think about everything they do. This will help you target your product to them- with such an oversaturated market it can be hard to tap into so it’s important that the product you are offering has a demand. And whatever you do, do it mindfully and ethically!

CARLEY ROSE

Tell us a little bit about yourself:

My name is Carley, I’m a 29 year old fashion design graduate. I went to Raffles College of Design and Commerce, which has since closed down unfortunately! I grew up knowing I wanted to be a fashion designer, but I’ve always had a soft spot for the environment and sustainability too.

Tell us a little bit about your business:

Carley Rose The Label is my ethical and sustainable fashion brand. Right now it’s a one-woman show, I do everything from designing collections, to manufacturing (currently- I’m planning to work with a factory soon!) marketing, customer service, logistics, you name it! I create vibrant pieces for environmentally conscious women. My aim is to do better for our planet in the fashion space, and to make my customers feel gorgeous, unique, and comfortable in what they’re wearing. I add pockets wherever possible!

Where are you located?

Right now I’m in Melbourne! I work out of a spare bedroom in our apartment that my partner likes to call ‘the dream factory’. We share the space with a bunny and a kitten. It’s tight, but I make it work. The pets make great company when working from home!

Where did the idea for your business come from?

After spending most of my childhood wanting to be a fashion designer, only to grow up and realise how much this clashed with my passion for taking care of the environment and sustainability, creating my brand just seemed like the logical solution. I thought for a while that I could no longer pursue fashion at all because it didn’t seem right anymore. Then I decided I could use my creativity to make a difference and do better.

How has it been going so far?

Things have been slow but fairly steady. Fashion can be a stressful industry, but I’ve been able to build a group of loyal customers and followers who understand why I do things the way I do and who have the same passion for sustainability and a better future for the environment. Those people are the ones that make it all worthwhile!

Tell us why ethics were important to you in starting your business:

The fashion industry exploits too many workers around the world. We’ve seen what happened at Rana Plaza, where over 1000 workers were tragically killed because of unsafe working conditions which could have been avoided. I’ve heard too many stories of the awful conditions within unethically-run garment factories, from mothers who send their children to live with their grandparents because they are forced to work too many hours in the day and can’t care of them, to workers who have permanent and detrimental lung conditions from a career spent sand-blasting jeans because the distressed look is trending. There are so many areas the fashion industry needs to do better, so when I’m making design choices I am very thoughtful about them.

What’s the hardest thing about running your own business?

There’s always something that needs to be done! It can be hard to separate the creative side of my business, where I spend time gathering inspiration, designing and refining collections, from the ‘business’ side of things, which is the admin, accounting, marketing and so on. Usually I’m thinking about two collections at once, because while I’m currently selling one and talking about it on Instagram, I’m usually working on one that hasn’t seen the light of day yet in the background! It’s all a balancing act.

What’s the best part of running your own business?

I absolutely love it when a customer falls in love with a piece, when it really speaks to them. Something that fits them in a way they haven’t experienced, or the details and colours seem just right for them, and they reach out and let me know how much they love it. Then I feel like I’ve made a difference in someone’s life, however small, and that makes my entire week.

What’s the top tip you’d like to share with anyone keen to start a business?

Try not to get overwhelmed by all the things you need to learn. Focus one learning one thing each week if possible. Then you can start to automate things, like your marketing. Find the thing that is special about you and your brand, and really work that angle. Most of all, make sure you connect with your customers as more of a person than a brand. That is what will help you stand out.

Freya Bennett

Freya Bennett is the Co-Founder and Director of Ramona Magazine. She is a writer and illustrator from Naarm/Melbourne who loves dreary grey days, libraries and coffee. You can follow her on Instagram @freya___bennett

Leave a Reply