ERIIN is bringing Asia Pacific designers to the rest of the world
October 30, 2012 by Joyce HUANG
Being a struggling fashion designer is hard. A lot of work goes into producing that single piece of garment. From conceptualizing a unique design, to sourcing for the perfect fabrics, to actual production, then photographing your artwork with the right model and getting distributors to put it on their store racks. You get the point.
You’ve spent a lot of time and money by the time you’re done, all you can do is hope and pray that someone hears about your designs and that you’re suddenly featured on Fashion Week. Okay, so I’m not sure if that’s how it happens, but unless there’s a local version of Project Runway in Singapore and the region, I’m sure it’s pretty rare that you hear about Singapore designers breaking into the international market and become successful, like local fashion label alldressedup.
Cue ERIIN.com, a Singapore-based e-commerce site that is bringing Asian Pacific designers to the rest of the world. The spirited duo behind ERIIN.com, Maisha Miranda and Kate Tan, started with a bang by organizing fashion show, Street Candy, with Lenovo Singapore. It was held just five months into ERIIN.com’s launch, showcasing fresh new fashion design labels from the region.
E-commerce is a tough battle. I chatted with the ERIIN girls and find out how they’ve been doing.
What are your main markets — you mentioned Aussie, Europe and so on.
Right now, most of our customers come from Australia, New Zealand and Europe. We are very lucky to have had exposure in these regions, and we are hoping to take it to the next level over the course of the coming year.
How do you compete with other online retailers like Zalora, especially when they have more resources to do online advertising?
Our niche is completely different from other online retailers – ERIIN is known for our contemporary, quality aesthetic, which is something that cannot be replicated. Rather than targeting the mass market, we know who our clientele is — the international woman who believes in investing in herself. She is confident, highly individualistic, and not afraid to experiment. Our pieces are wearable and versatile, but are matched to evoke the image of “street style with a turbo boost”.
Additionally, we steer clear of traditional marketing, and we try our best not to partner up with the branded, overly popular mediums and bloggers. ERIIN picks influencers and ambassadors who are fresh, natural and have a strong sense of personality and style. We love collaborating with young talent, and have the freedom to try anything new, which is hard for larger corporations to follow suit.
Could you give us 3 tips to share about growing an audience online, how to do effective blogging and pitching to media?
Always be sincere and transparent when meeting with people, online or offline — we say it like it is, and we keep it real. People can tell when you’re down to earth, and it also makes all our meetings more fun and enjoyable. It’s hard to keep up a facade.
Be humble, know your place and if you have to, start from the bottom. When we first started ERIIN, we emailed and got in touch with everyone. Even if someone says “No” to you now, it doesn’t mean they’ll say “No” to you again later, so never give up and always keep trying.
For effective blogging and sharing content with other people, it would be best to share quality content and things you’re passionate about. Rather than posting 5 entries with semi-interesting stuff, do 1 entry with something you really believe in. That not only creates quality content, but with something you’re passionate about, you are never unhappy if you have to take time to write about it.
Where do you see ERIIN going in the next couple of months? You mentioned a re-branding exercise.
Right now, ERIIN has branched out into consulting, which you can find out more about at http://www.eriin.com/thegirls. We are working with a couple of other small businesses, and are thoroughly enjoying it.
As for our retail arm, ERIIN will be bringing on board menswear and more lifestyle products, and will be looking to expand further in Europe. Can’t give all our secrets away, you’ll just have to wait for it to happen!
What’s the most challenging part about running ERIIN.com so far?
We can’t decide right now, but we think attitude is the most challenging and yet important thing to keep in mind all the time.
Your attitude dictates how you view every challenge that comes your way. It is what gets you through the toughest times, and it is what gets you out of bed in the morning. The both of us have nurtured each other to have the mindset that there is a solution to everything, and that as long as we have each other, we’ll get through anything.
It’s about not giving up, always asking for what you want or need, and riding the waves. Nothing is final, and you always have to know that there will be other opportunities and other moments.
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About The Author
Joyce HUANG - Resident Contributing Writer
Joyce is on the founding team of Singapore Geek Girls, a local initiative that serves as a platform for females to connect, share, contribute, mentor and learn from each other. She is currently learning how to code so that she can stop bugging developers. You are more than welcome to teach her.Read other posts by Joyce HUANG