Daphny Raes, one of our loyal customers, is a young bag and accessories designer based in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. She started out in 2011 but her fine craftsmanship and unique designs are already well known in the European fashion scene. Her leather bags are chic, casual and with an amazing eye for detail.
We’ve decided to have a chat with her about how she started her own brand and why she uses Sqetch.
1) You started your own brand a year after finishing fashion school, something you don’t see often in the fashion industry. How did you manage to do this?
Well it’s actually very simple, after AMFI (Amsterdam Fashion Institute) I immediately knew that clothing wasn’t my thing, but I’ve always had a profound love for handbags so I decided I wanted to do something with that. After a year of reflecting on what I wanted to do I came to the conclusion that I really didn’t want to work for a company because I knew I’d be miserable. So I bought all the materials and started making handbags. I had a full-time job at the time but the longer I was working on my collection the longer my own brand became my full-time job and eventually it did.
2) How did you enter the fashion market as starting designer?
As a new brand in the fashion industry, you really have to take it step by step. After I graduated I made a deal with a PR agency. I let them expose my final collection in their showroom and in return they gave me visibility in the European fashion scene. Also I went to loads of stores in Amsterdam to show them my collection and before I knew it almost 10 stores sold my bags! I also sold on markets and went to a lot of fashion fairs. From there it all started growing…
3) You are using Sqetch now. Was it difficult to find the right manufacturer before?
It was horrible. Really horrible. This summer we went to Spain to see a manufacturer who promised us everything we dreamed of but when we got there the samples were of awful quality. Then we went to China but dealing with manufacturers there is next to impossible. After that we decided to contact embassies to ask them for a contact list of manufacturers but without results. It’s unbelievable how much time goes into finding the right manufacturer.
4) Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?
Oh, well I hope my bags and accessories will be sold in all the best shops worldwide! We really want to grow, we’re not planning on staying a small brand that only sells in France, The Netherlands and Belgium. I’m selling a lot in the U.S. right now so we’re getting there!
We would also like to enter the really high-end market section. Which means we have to find a manufacturer that can provide superior quality.
Thank you for the interview and we wish you the best of luck on your journey!