I moved back home to Adelaide from Sydney almost 4 years ago! While in Sydney, living in Surry Hills, I was studying fashion design, working in retail & interning with labels Manning Cartell & Willow. Interning was a valuable experience, however it became apparent that job opportunities were difficult to come by. I was one of 20 odd interns, all of us wanting opportunities and paid employment.
I was feeling somewhat uninspired, I decided to save and travel. This meant moving back to Adelaide. I was lucky enough to be get back my old job at George Gross Harry Who, where I worked in both retail and the factory, I gained a broad range of experience. I did manage to travel to Europe for a few weeks but I have a habit of working multiple jobs & taking on every opportunity I could with Namoi.
I was working two maybe three jobs, taking part in fashion shows, markets, trying to build an online presence and always scouting for a pop up shop. I looked at a shop on Magill Rd with a friend. Initially being too overwhelmed by the responsibility of taking on a lease, I backed out. Instead I moved into a unit that also homed my design studio.
As Christmas approached I again attempted to open a pop-up shop. This time I was successful in negotiating a short term lease of 6 weeks at the shop on Magill Rd. This was the most exciting and overwhelming experience, my enthusiasm & anxiety levels where through the roof, excited and petrified by the experience of balancing the shop and two casual jobs. Luckily I had the support of my good friend, Waratah of Yogini Street Wear who ran the shop with me.
I decided to move out of the unit I was living in and put the word out that was looking for a studio and or shop space. A friend offered me a sublease on a shop front, it was a bigger financial responsibility, and a huge commitment of time. I was lucky, it was a month by month sublease. Despite being nervous & trying not to listen to the cynical voices from myself & people around me, I was determined to give it a go. My gorgeous friend Liah helped in the shop while I worked at George Gross Harry Who, cautious to quite my job incase my shop didn't work out.
Working weddings Saturday night, retail Sunday's & sewing until midnight. I worked my butt off. I loved it through, I couldn't get enough, intoxicating sense of achievement every time I opened the shop door, had a lovely customer, or had a good market. Trying to squeeze in every single opportunity. The Adelaide Fashion Festival, Bowerbird Design Market to name a few.
My beautiful father & friends took phone call after phone call, helping me make decisions about whether or not to buy some fabric or to take an opportunity, just listening to me and often saying "Kalila we don't know, this is your business & your decision". Often I would disregard their advice entirely.
After about a year I phased out my casual jobs, I signed a lease on the shop, I hired a seamstress, and I slowly started to slow down, taking a Sunday off every couple of weeks. With coaching from my friends I finally realised that if my business was viable I would be able to take days off, I shouldn't have to work until midnight.
Exercise helped, going to regular yoga classes helped me manage my stress and leave the shop at a reasonable hour. I wrote lists about how much I should charge for my time and work (I think most creatives struggle with this). I kept reassuring myself, "if my business is viable, people will pay x$ for my clothing". My customers have been so supportive and encouraging, I feel so lucky to have dressed so many amazing women (THANK YOU).
It is important to realise that if you love something, fashion for example, it is not necessarily the best career choice, because the process of making money out of it can ruin your love for it. Last year I actually reapplied for university, I thought being an accountant would be a better career. I went to one lecture! I was exhausted by the relentlessness of the business.
I'm not sure what changed, perhaps the recent renovations in the shop, but this year I am feeling more committed & confident with the business. I have visions & plans for the future of Namoi so keep checking back in for the next chapter.
Thank you for reading & for your support.