So, you think you know what you want to do for the rest of your working life? Well, what happens if you waste all your time, energy, and money to land that “dream” job just to realize you can’t stand it? One of the best ways to combat this is to speak with professionals and learn more about day-to-day activities. As a fashion enthusiast who would love to be a CEO one day, I spoke to Alyssa Goodman, co-founder of Chez Bippy. Alyssa and her partner Jason became fed up with the fast-fashion industry and decided to create her own brand built on ethical, affordable, and sustainable principles. The fashion industry is notoriously harmful both environmentally and toward labour conditions. Workers are consistently taken advantage of in order to produce low quality, low-cost clothing in stores such as Zara and H&M. To learn more about the impact of fast fashion I highly suggest watching “The True Cost” on Netflix. Chez Bippy was born out of a protest against fast fashion and to promote an ethical lifestyle.
What Inspired Chez Bippy and how did you bring the brand to life?
Alyssa told me that she had previously worked in high-end retail and grew very irritated by the fast fashion industry. Month after month pounds of clothes were tossed because they weren’t sold. This frustration drove Alyssa to create her own fashion brand that would focus on quality, sustainability, and ethical sourcing. Many of the brand’s products are composed of simple and classic designs. This way, people will be more likely to continue to wear the pieces for a long time rather than throw it away when the trend changes. Essentially, Chez Bippy was born out of a protest against fast fashion and to promote an ethical lifestyle.
Are there any essential qualifications to start your own business?
According to Alyssa, education is not completely necessary to create a brand. But, it does help. Alyssa went to university for fine art and she believes that this provided her with a tasteful eye to create beautiful designs. Her partner attended George Brown College for Fashion Design. Alyssa says that this program was a huge asset for her partner and Chez Bippy. Jason and their employees do all of the labor and she could not run this business without them. So, is education a must to be an entrepreneur? Well, No. But, education is always an asset worth investing in!
How to bring your brand to life
For Alyssa, the name selection was by far the most difficult part (I can relate, naming this blog was painful). Committing to a name means commitment toward a certain brand image and it should positively reflect your business. Also, you and any partners should sit down and create a detailed business plan. This should include your beliefs, values, goals, and risk analysis. If you’re looking to break into the fashion industry, you should forecast upcoming trends to stay relevant in the market. For example, later in the day, Alyssa had to call her suppliers to order materials for next year’s fall lines. It is critical that you continue to assess your actions to ensure they align with your business values.
An Average Day at Chez Bippy
Alyssa wakes up early in the morning to send and respond to emails. This includes messaging suppliers, media and students looking to inquire about her career. Then, she will plan out the Chez Bippy Instagram page and ensure the photos work together and plan the best time of upload. She will also look to plan other forms of marketing content. Jason will wake up early and travel straight to the studio for a long day of sewing. I further inquired on the hours she dedicates to Chez Bippy. She explains that she does her best to work within the traditional 9 am to 5 pm. However, she often finds herself working until the moment she goes to bed as social media and the online store never closes.
Pros and Cons of Running Your Own Business
Alyssa is consistently excited by Chez Bippy’s growth potential and passionate about what the brand represents as it provides her with a platform to facilitate a conversation on ethical fashion. On the flip side, there is a lot of time and money dedicated to the business and the uncertainty of the pay-off can be stress-inducing . Like a true entrepreneur, Alyssa explains that this fear is also very motivational and focuses on all the opportunities for the brand. It’s important to be aware of the realities of compensation. As an entrepreneur, you may be dreaming about your business making millions, but growth is normally slow. For example, Chez Bippy earned approximately $30,000 in their first fiscal year. But, all of this money was put back into the business. This is typical of new business and Chez Bippy is projected to grow in the years to come.
Final Words of Wisdom for Fashion Entrepreneurs
First, research, research, research! Learn about the market, competitive environment, operations and all other business aspects to best prepare your business. Alyssa says to “be annoying.” Network and speak with similar business owners to gain inside information and better understand what you’re getting into. The more you put your name out there, the more memorable you will become. You’re gonna have to hustle to see progress. In the end, it’ll all be worth it when you have a successful business to be proud of.
As I said goodbye and thanked Alyssa for the interview, I felt hopeful for my future. I was inspired by her story. She built a brand based on pure passion. Alyssa became so frustrated by the fashion industry, she felt compelled to do something about it. Along with her partner, they funded Chez Bippy all on their own. They are an example to other entrepreneurs that their dream is completely possible regardless of connections or wealth, all you need is a little hard work. I’m grateful that Alyssa took the time out of her busy schedule to connect with me. Her story reaffirmed my own career goals and I highly recommend you sit down with a professional in a career you desire to better understand and prepare for it. Feel free to leave a comment and share your own career goals or favourite ethical business!
Talk to you all later,
**I do not own any of the photos featured, all are from chezbippy.com