Meet: Olivia Gow
MEET: OLIVIA GOW
ARTHUR APPAREL - OWNER/DESIGNER
A: Tell me about yourself!
O: After spending 2 years studying fashion and design, I went on to work in the fast fashion industry for another 2 years. I quickly realized that fast fashion and more so mass consumerism was not for me. I then went on to build my own brand and have never looked back.
A: Why did you start Arthur?
O: I started Arthur as a means to express creativity. As a young child I was cutting holes in fancy patterned pillow cases or sewing (not very well might I add) my own dresses from fabric found in my nonna’s cupboards. Starting a label was always something I had wanted to achieve.
A: I read that you named the line after you late father? Did he have an impact or an influence on your line?
O: Yes, that is correct. In a way, yes. He was a very simple man (in terms of the way he wanted to live) and desired quality over quantity. He held little value for material things, but the things he did have he either used or wore to death. It was most important to him to own possessions that were versatile and would last a lifetime. This has taught me to value products that are not just the seasonal trend - soon to be obsolete. This clearly translates into the brand as above all things, we value quality and versatility.
A: How did you grow your line, did you have a plan or did you just start and how long did it take for you to build Arthur?
O: To be completely honest, I had no plan at all. I had a hobby that grew into something that became a very real part of my life and means of income. Arthur is still in the very early stages of growth - we still have a long way to go but with the great helps of social media, it has grown a lot quicker than expected.
A: Where you scared that the line wasn’t going to work out or did you know it was going to be successful?
O: Ahaha, I don’t think you ever really “know”. I still have the regular freak out every other month. It keeps me alive ;)
A: How were you able to keep up with the cost of producing your line at your age?
O: It was difficult at first, but I started small and gradually built up each collection. I had a good amount of savings to kick off the first couple of ranges and after the ball was rolling each collection began to pay for itself.
A: Are you a one woman team or do you have a team?
O: I was a one-woman team for the most part of my journey, however in the past 4 months I have picked up an assistant who does a wide spectrum of jobs day to day.
A: How do you balance work/life?
O: I absolutely don’t. I am getting better at it, but when you are running your own business, the job definitely isn’t 9-5. I make sure that I have weekends completely free of work (most of the time), but I leave weekdays to Arthur.
A: Tips on how to start your line?
O: Errm, Make sure you create some kind of hype prior to launching, whether that be an Instagram page (highly recommend) or Facebook - some kind of advertising. You want to create an audience before having product available, so that when it does become available, you have some keen customers waiting.
A: Tell me a oh crap moment? Or has things been running smooth?
O: Ahah, I have “oh crap” moments very often. Usually it is to do with production mistakes.
A: Do you have a mentor?
O: I don’t have a mentor per se, but I do have a few people I speak with who give good advice. This includes a business/financial advisor as well as a few friends with business management experience.
A: What is the most rewarding part about having your own line and what is the most challenging?
O: The most rewarding aspect of owning this business is seeing a concept that has been created from absolutely nothing. It is so rewarding to see an idea grow into something that now involves thousands of people. This in itself is a huge challenge. When you are constantly working with or are in contact with so many people, there are going to be challenges. Whether that be customers, manufacturers or contractors - whenever there is more than one person involved, there will be a challenge at some point. But just be sure to remember that challenge means growth.