With the 2018 Spring Racing Carnival upon us, She Does This sat down (and got in front of the camera for!) with Emily Winter, founder and designer of Derby & Power Headpieces.
SDT: Derby & Power has just recently become your full time gig. What were you doing work wise up to this point?
Emily: I worked in buying for 5 years before taking Derby & Power full time – first for a menswear label, and then for a kitchenware wholesaler. So much of what I learnt in these roles has been invaluable to what I do now – communicating with suppliers, managing a product life cycle, working to a seasonal timeline, analysing sales performance, and coordinating photography, just to name a few!
SDT: What made you want to make the move from a pretty comfortable job into self-employment?
Emily: In a broad sense, self-employment is probably in my blood, with my parents and grandparents all having worked for themselves. The concept of self- employment has always excited me, even from a young age (I used to set up little businesses in my classrooms in primary school!) Having said that, taking Derby & Power full time ended up being a lifestyle choice just as much as it was a business one. I found myself in a position where I was in a job that I loved, working with people that I adored, but for
some reason I wasn’t happy.
The 2017 Spring Carnival was approaching, and I was offered a pop-up store in a brilliant location at the South Melbourne Market. I had been running Derby & Power as a side hustle for a couple of years, knew the revenue it brought in during spring racing, and felt confident that I could at least double that figure if I worked on the business in a full time capacity. I also knew that I had savings in the bank, and that I wanted a
lifestyle change. I decided that the pop-up opportunity was too good to turn down, and left my job with the plan to work full time on Derby & Power for 12 months, and to re-evaluate at the end of that period. I ticked over the 12 month mark in August of this year, and can’t see myself giving up self-employment any time soon!
SDT: What were some of the biggest challenges you faced starting up your own online store?
Emily: I think building up initial traction was probably my biggest challenge. We’re so lucky to be living in a time where it’s fairly easy and low cost to set up a business, but having said that, building up a profile on social media is nowhere near as easy as it was a couple of years ago. I’m not a big personal user of social media, so it was a huge learning curve for me to be able to start driving traffic to my website using Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest. It took me a while to realise that simply posting quality content on a consistent basis wasn’t going to be enough – it takes a lot of hours of engaging and forming
relationships with your audience, as well as sharing your own personality, before you really start to see results.
SDT: What would your biggest piece of advice be for a woman wanting to start a brand in the fashion industry?
Emily: If you’re considering starting a fashion brand, it’s probably a given that you love design and product development – this is super important, you have to love what you do! But it is also incredibly important to realise that running your own business involves so much more than the products that you sell. You may love fashion, but (unless you are in a position to outsource) you also need to love coming up with marketing strategy, budgeting, forecasting sales, analysing performance, website maintenance, managing your own time, communicating with suppliers and customers, and so many more aspects of self employment.
If all of these aspects of business do excite you, then my number one piece of advice would be to continue developing your skills in all of these areas – listen to podcasts, read books and blogs, attend webinars and sign up for online courses. There is so much free content available that will keep you on your toes!
SDT: People often associate headpieces and fascinators with Spring Racing Carnival. How do you stay relevant throughout the rest of the year?
Emily: The Spring Carnival is definitely my peak sales period. Since taking the business full time, I’ve been able to offer the collection at wholesale, which means that I can start driving race wear revenue from June when the first wholesale orders are placed. I also offer international shipping, which means I can target racing seasons overseas throughout the year.
Aside from the race wear collection, I also do a lot of work with bridal designs. Bridal millinery is becoming more and more popular in Australia – not only are brides and their bridal parties choosing to include a headpiece in their look, but lots of my customers are also wedding guests who want to wear something special for the occasion.
SDT: What are some of the key trends for the 2018 Spring Racing Carnival?
Emily: Lilac will be the colour of the season. Clashing red and pink will also be a key trend. A touch of gold is always popular, and is a great way to sneak a little colour into a Derby Day look.
In terms of headwear, I’m sure many people will be happy to hear that simplicity is the popular choice this season! Embellished headbands are a dominant trend, while halo crowns are a great way to add some height to you look without going too over-the-top. Fedoras and hair scarves are also super easy ways to finish off your outfit.
SDT: So where can we find (AND PURCHASE!) Derby & Power?
Emily: I’m very excited to announce that I have an Albert Park pop-up store opening on Monday 1 st October! I’ll be there 7 days a week, so stop by and say hi! For pop-up trading hours, stockist information, or to shop the full collection online, head to www.derbyandpower.com
To request a custom order, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
And of course, to check D&P out on Instagram, follow @derbyandpower