I have always been an avid supporter of nurturing our emerging Australian Design talent. More often than not their creative flair is stifled due to retail restrictions. Olive & Fin, however, conceived by Olivia Howard, is a style hub that gives Australian and New Zealand emerging designers the opportunity to showcase and sell their work. Combing creative elements from "exclusive photo-shoots, regular blog entries, guest posts and interviews from a community of designers, Olive & Finn is a fresh spin on the classic e-boutique." Introducing Olivia, the brains behind Olive & Finn…
Tell us about Olivia. Have you always been an avid fashion fan prior to launching your business?
I think my love affair started at a young age. My mother was a seamstress and designer and went on to create one of a kind wedding dresses – something that she was exceptionally talented at. I was taught to sew at a young age but more importantly I was taught to think outside the box when it came to what I wore. Mum was great at getting me to draw a picture or take her to see something I liked in a shop. We would then go and choose the fabric and mum would make a pattern and create this one of a kind piece for me. It was something I did from a young age right up until my late teens. I was always taught to buy what I liked not what was expensive or a popular brand.
How did you come up with the concept for Olive & Finn?
It all started as a purely selfish venture. I was getting tired of the same items in my wardrobe and tired of the same styles and looks. I knew of one or two places that I could go to find something that I wanted but that there was not an online boutique where I could find what I was after. It all started from there. The more research and investigating I did the more amazing designers I would find. I wanted to share what I knew and make these labels accessible.
The Olive & Finn customer is between 18 and 35 and wants to stand alone on the fashion stage. They don’t want to walk down the street and see someone else wearing their outfit. They want to take the latest styles and trends and wear pieces that acknowledge this but not to drown themselves in trends. They want labels and people that have a story behind them.
For the first season I made a very lengthy list of the designers I would like to feature on O&F. They were brands that I thoroughly researched and thought would very much capture the essence of what I was trying to accomplish with Olive & Finn. I now have the really fun job of still researching and discovering new brands but through different avenues. I am finding that small labels are now contacting me directly as well as some of the labels I already stock suggesting other labels that could potentially do well on Olive & Finn. It has been an eye opener to see how many labels there are out there, and ones that I would never of found unless they found me first. There is no selection criteria as such. Of course the pieces and fabric have to be of high quality but if I think it is something that people really want to see and will really want to buy than most likely they will be on O&F.
I hope you hear from O&F a lot more in the next coming months. For now I am concentrating on buying for the next season and really improving the logistical side of the business for me as an owner. In terms of future plans for O&F I have some great things up my sleeve. I have just had a really successful trip to Sydney where I have met with some great creative minds and some very influential media and bloggers. There were a million collaborative ideas brought to my attention and I can't wait to explore those ideas more. I suppose we will just have to wait and see…