Glasgow based fashion designer Rebecca Torres is renowned for her use of shape and colour, creating pieces that give an instantly polished and sleek look. Rebecca is constantly referred to as the “one to watch”, with compliments from Vogue to name a few. Rebecca has already had a sell-out collection on ASOS with her highly wearable pieces and a signature style to match.
Rebecca has designed ranges for many high street retailers and has commissioned pieces for some of the top stylists and artists in the UK. Increasingly receiving attention from the fashion world – having been nominated as one of Vice magazines ‘Creative 30’, short-listing 30 of the most creative talents under 30 in the UK, as well as being a nominee at The Scottish Fashion Awards 2012 “Young Designer Of The Year”. Rebecca has also been winning awards for her business, such as Winner of “Best E-commerce Site 2013” at The BT Young Entrepreneur Awards with Youth Business Trust.
Easyspace recently caught up with Rebecca for a chat:
Q1. Rebecca, tell us a little bit about your background and what led to you to setting up your own business
I studied my HND in Fashion Design and manufacturing at Cardonald College and when I graduated in 2008 I started creating garments for myself and friends which then lead me to making made to measure garments for clients. Once the brand started to pick up momentum that’s when I was noticed by ASOS.com and they bought my first collection.
Q2. The fashion industry is very competitive, yet you have designed ranges for many high street retailers e.g. ASOS, and received commissions from some of the top stylists and artists in the UK. When you first started, how difficult was it generating sales and convincing retailers, etc to stock your clothes?
When I first started it was the major retailer who approached my brand as they saw potential in my product. Now its all about building relationships with the buyers and continually showing updates on your products and keeping your brand on there radar. Even if they decided not to buy for a season, they always ask to be updated as they will buy in the next season.
Q3. Last year you showcased your designs in China, Latvia and New York. What did you learn from this experience – exposing your designs to an international audience – and what opportunities resulted from this or how have you been inspired from it?
Showcasing in these countries was an amazing experience and we have learned so much in how to trade internationally. We have gained good relationships with stockiest and it is a continual process.
Q4. What makes ‘Rebecca Torres’ clothes different from other fashion designers?
I feel we have created a distinct signature style with our products, which makes us different from other retail brands.
Q5. Explain how you manufacture your designs – do you outsource it?
Every garment is designed in house, along with all of our pattern pieces and first samples, once we have these made they are then taken to our factory for production in London.
Q6. How did you fund your business?
With our first order we got help from Princes Trust in Scotland who helped us finance getting the business up and running.
Q7. How do you market your business?
Our entire PR is done in house, we have a database of press we have built up and we keep them up-to-date with what the brand is up to.
Q8. Do you use Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, etc, to promote your business? How successful has it been for you? Any advice on how businesses can use social media to promote themselves?
Social media has been a great source for us to communicate directly to our customers, customers always like to see behind the brand so for us it’s important to not only promote your products on social media, but also to show who’s behind the brand as it’s more relatable for the customer.
Q9. You and your label REBECCA TORRES have been featured in a selection of publications, including Vogue, Grazia, Look, Vice, Company, Cosmopolitan, Wallpaper and also a variety of popular fashion blogs such as Kingdom Of Style. All providing great publicity no doubt. What did you do to get noticed by these magazines and what benefits resulted from it?
We have our in-house database of press and bloggers that we target with updates on the brand, if they like the products we are presenting them or any news we have that’s important, it’s then picked up by the press. Every piece of press is important for us, no matter the size of the publication as it’s getting the brand out there in a positive way.
Q10. Being an fashion designer can often be portrayed as being glamorous. However, when you were just starting your business on your own, creating your designs, trying to make sales, trying to contact potential new clients/partnerships, etc – how did you motivate yourself during this time?
My motivation has always been my customers, every time we get a tweet or tagged in a picture with our customers wearing our products, that is enough motivation to keep myself and the brand going.
Q11. Where does that drive to be your own boss come from? You could have worked as an in-house designer with another fashion label, etc, rather than starting your own. Why did you decide the life of a 9-5 employee was not for you?
Being my own boss was not something that I set out from the get-go, it just made sense when I started to create clothing for myself and others that I could take this seriously as a business. As much as I may not have the typical 9-5, I do feel it is important to take time out, not only for myself, but for the business too.
Q12. From your experience running a growing business, what lessons have you learned along the way i.e. employing staff, cash flow, customer support, etc?
To always try and be on top on cash flow, support your customers and making sure you get the right staff will develop your business at the early stages.
Q13. What’s it like running your own business? Describe your typical day.
Being a designer and running the brand, everyday is different, but that’s why I love what I do. I go from designing the range to researching new ideas, meeting the manufacturers and potential working clients. It’s hectic at times but it makes life more interesting.
Q14. Which entrepreneur/person has inspired you the most & why?
For me it’s my customers that inspire me the most, as they believe in my product and my business. Without them I wouldn’t have a business.
Q15. What advice would you give to somebody thinking of starting their own business?
To go for it, it makes you the creator of your own career path and is very satisfying.
Q16. What are your future plans for your business?
We are currently developing new products and expanding our range this year. Also we are working on a few collaborations along with launching with a major UK retailer. So it’s going to be a busy year ahead.
Thanks Rebecca, from everyone at Easyspace
If you want to find out more about Rebecca and her designs, then click on the link below for more info:
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