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Lavanya Bahuguna

Blogger-in-Chief

Brand Olio’s Founders On How Their Friendship Weaved Them A Successful Fashion Business

  • IWB Post
  •  July 4, 2018

It’s safe to say that I’m a little obsessed with The Olio Stories, which suggests the real reason behind interviewing the founders of the brand, Aashna Singh and Sneha Saksena.

Three years ago, two girlfriends launched a clothing label with minimalistic tendencies. Their designs (the laid-back statement separates) caught people’s attention, soon becoming everyone’s perfect cure to dragging afternoons.

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I, for one, have got nine OLIO styles in my wardrobe that I often show-off in my #ootd Insta-stories. From work to club, I have taken these playful prints and colourful designs pretty much everywhere. My favourites are their signature patterns – the cactus and the egg yolk motifs.

Scroll down to read the excerpts from candid interview IWB had with Aashna and Sneha:

Talk about the bond both of you share that led to the birth to OLIO.

The two of us met at our previous job! We found we worked really well together; it was a unique synergy with complementary skill sets. There were many versions of OLIO, and we’d meet at coffee shops on the weekends, with our diaries and laptops in tow to “brainstorm.” During one such session, we wrote words we liked independently and OLIO was the last word Sneha read out. It just clicked.

What’s been your individual working experience in the fashion industry prior to OLIO?

The two of us worked at bhane. While Sneha was in the design team, Aashna was a brand manager. Our greatest lessons come from bhane, especially learning about the importance of building a community and the responsibility that comes hand in hand with that. Prior to that, Sneha was studying at NIFT and Aashna’s background was in PR + Communication.

What kinds of challenges did you prepare yourself for while drafting the plan?

None. We were very naive when we started out, literally putting one foot in front of the other. However, our mantra was optimism.

Was managing the finances an issue? Did you seek help from outside?

Since neither of us is from a business background, finances and its management still remain one of our biggest challenges. We’re homegrown and haven’t taken any kind investment from outside yet.

Who was your first client?

Our families and friends were our first buyers. Also, we remember how almost every person who came to our preview bought a little something. It was so sweet.

OLIO is soon turning three. Share a beautiful memory from this journey.

Yay, yes we are! The best memories are mostly shaped after our shoots which are extremely stressful and exhausting. Last time, we were all sunburnt and could barely walk. But when all of us, as a team, sat down together to discuss our creations coming together and shared the story playing out in front of our eyes, we felt so creatively satisfied.

Whenever you sketch the new collection, how do you zero in on the ideas as a team filled with diverse individuals?

Broadly, Sneha handles design and Aashna handles communication, but we work on every aspect together. One of the key pillars of OLIO is our friendship and partnership. Usually, we work on mood boards together and Sneha presents the samples to the team for their feedback.

A few years ago, the fad of loose fits and androgynous costumes took over the Indian fashion circuit. How long is this craze going to stay, according to you?

What we love is that comfort is in style. Even though boxy silhouettes may not last, we’re thrilled bandage dresses are behind us. At OLIO, one of our bestsellers is a wrap dress because we find women love how it hugs them in the right places. They’re still comfortable, easy pieces.

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What’s so magical about the geometric motifs?

The simplicity!

Which OLIO design is the most sellable one?

The Fried Egg has been our best-selling style to date. Interestingly, it was launched it in 2016. We’re doing some new versions of our most loved styles in our latest story: Olio Essentials. Keep an eye!

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What’s your favourite collection so far?

Oh wow, that’s a tough one. It has to be our latest SPACE as it’s the most evolved one.

Polkas, colour blocking, or checks – what’s your personal go-to style like?

All three! Actually, our individual styles are quite different from what we design for OLIO. However, we think that’s what works — it’s an amalgamation of our personalities.

Talking about the OLIO blog, how do you identify women whose vision resonates with OLIO’s aesthetics? Also, what’s the real reason behind sharing these stories as a fashion brand?

Our blog has been around since the beginning. We’re cognizant of the influencing power and resulting responsibility that ensues from building a community. We use our platform to discuss ideas and issues close to our heart such as feminism, body positivity, sustainability, and inclusiveness. Our blog is chock-full of stories of amazing girls from India.

(cover image source)

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