It’s our second anniversary next month, so here we chat to guest blogger Alyson Walsh from That’s Not My Age about two years of Allium B and what’s new for the brand this year.
A: We tried to do too much to start with. So, now we have fewer colours and simpler, more unstructured styles with belts that are easier to wear. We’ve found that simpler shapes are best and though we still have some styles with elasticated waists and the fitted Liberty print sundress is one of our bestsellers, we’ve fine tuned the collection and so now it’s a much tighter edit.
Allium B is turning into more of a lifestyle brand. We’re keen to work with other small designers and have a couple of lovely jewellery brands Jana Reinhardt and Alice Eden coming on the website. Also, due to popular demand, we’ve designed a top for spring/summer – which is a new thing. We know when our customers aren’t wearing dresses, they live in jeans and a pretty blouse or top.
Q: What are your tips to anyone starting a new business?
· One of the biggest things for us is the marketing side of the business. You can have a great idea and a great product but it’s a very competitive market place and you have to be prepared for that. Social media is fantastic but you need to give time to it rather than just dipping in and out.
· Have a robust business plan and your finances in place.
· Really know who your customer is. Don’t be afraid to target a niche customer – we have quite an understated collection that evolves from one season to the next but we don’t chase trends. We prefer to focus on good quality and beautiful fabrics - we do what’s right for our customer.
· We love being our own bosses and can make decisions quickly but it’s potentially a 24/7 job so it’s important to do something you’re really passionate about.
Q: And finally, what's your favourite dress style and how would you wear it?
My favourite dress is Eliza. We added Eliza to our collection last spring to celebrate our first birthday and I live in mine – I took it to Marrakesh and Italy and wore it whenever the sun shined in Brighton. Last year’s version sold out and so it's back by popular demand in three gorgeous new Liberty prints. It really is the perfect sundress. I wear mine with Swedish Hasbeens and my Alice Eden Star necklace when the sun shines. Roll on summer...
Mine is Catherine in midnight. I glam it up with metallic heels and a big, vintage Chanel bracelet or wear it dressed-down for a day in the office or to run-around in with colour pop shoes.
Q: What's the best thing that's happened to you / Allium B?
A: It’s hard to pin down one thing, there have been so many: we were nominated for a best new fashion business award and have had some lovely press coverage in Grazia, Stella magazine, Red online and You magazine this week, which is really exciting. Seeing our dresses on the Atterley Road website alongside brands like Whistles & Day Birger et Mikkelsen was a real boost – even better when we sold out!
Q: Have there been any surprises along the way?
A: One thing that never ceases to amaze us is how heart-warming the feedback from our regular customers is. We just didn’t expect this. One woman works abroad and travels to lots of different countries, she’ll often drop us an email to tell us her whereabouts and place another order. It always feels like she’s spreading the word about Allium B around the world.
And finally - what will I be wearing this season from Allium B?
I think the Luella dress is really chic, the printed silk fabric is beautiful and navy and grey are my two favourite colours. I'd go for a more relaxed vibe and wear it with navy opaque tights, a pair of New Balance trainers and a denim jacket.
To read more and for an exclusive discount, head over to Alyson's blog - That's not my age