Founders interview with Anna and Sebastian - the year behind us and the road ahead
Towards the end of the year we want to offer you our view on what went well this past year, what could have gone better, and what our plans are for next year. We hope you enjoy this interview format, we had a lot of fun interviewing each other!
How do you think the first year of Capsule Studio went?
Sebastian: We had a lot of fun, that’s what’s most important to me! And we didn’t go bankrupt, so that’s a big success too! Jokes aside, I think the year went really well, and it taught us so much.
Anna: Looking back I am very proud of what we have achieved. 3 stores, over 100 customers and more than 2600 followers on Instagram - we are beyond grateful for such support. We managed to create a sustainable financial structure that allowed us to produce new collections and hopefully even create employment opportunities next year.
What was the biggest lesson you learned?
Sebastian: We learned so much, especially me since the fashion industry is all new to me, I have a background in the software industry! I think the biggest individual lesson was how hard it is to grow a following on social media, and how much time goes into that.
Anna: For me it was quite a big surprise to find out that offline communications and experiences matter so much. Despite the fact we were under tight restrictions this year and the whole world shifted towards online, our customers still enjoyed trying on our clothing, seeing it in real life and of course meeting us.
What would you do differently if you could go back in time this year?
Sebastian: We would launch the cosy collection sooner, especially with the COVID crisis, launching stay at home wear earlier would have been great.
Anna: I honestly wouldn’t change a thing! We have made some mistakes but it helped us to learn and improve. For example we received a lot of feedback on the sizing which helped us to correct the patterns and introduce more diverse grading.
Biggest challenge of the year?
Sebastian: Definitely launching a line of suits in the middle of a global crisis where a lot of people stayed home instead of going to the office or out to eat! Looking back I’m so amazed that we still managed to reach so many people that loved our clothes and wanted to buy them.
Anna: It was very difficult to create a product without having much knowledge and expertise in the area. I had a clear vision of how I want the collection to look and what is the level of quality that we want to deliver but it turned out to be pretty challenging to bring it to life given small volumes and limited investment.
What about the happiest moment?
Sebastian: When we got our first large order from a retailer! That order gave us so much energy and really pushed us to launch the second collection, and without it the summer period would have been a real struggle.
Anna: I feel the happiest when we receive positive feedback from the customers and when we see our clients coming back again and again. I think it is the most important thing for any business - to realize that you are adding value to the customers.
Proudest moment you experienced?
Sebastian: Our first event, seeing so many people there spending their evening together with us, in such a beautiful environment, with champagne, flowers, everything - it was really an indescribable moment.
Anna: Definitely our first publication in the Fair Magazine that was distributed with Elle NL and &C in December. It means so much to us to have voice and representation because as a small brand with no connections we struggle to get visibility. Huge shout our to When Sara Smiles for putting it together. I bought a spare copy of the magazine for me and my mum:)
About the brand, what was the biggest success?
Sebastian: Managing to launch three whole collections in the span of 6 months, all without needing any additional investment than what we first put into the business. It shows we are learning (slowly) how to do this thing, and that our clothing resonates with people.
Anna: I agree, the fact that we managed to launch so many products with just a team of 2 and very small starting capital is surely a success.
What is your favorite item of everything that was produced this year?
Sebastian: I have to pick the Dark Chocolate cosy suit, since it is by far our fastest selling item yet. It is completely sold out, so we are looking at how we could bring back more of it soon.
Anna: I love our hoodie sets, my personal favorite is Almond Latte. It turned out to be really how I imagined it: stylish, high quality organic fabric, durable, sustainable and produced in fair conditions.
What are your ideas for the coming year?
Sebastian: We want to start reaching out to fans internationally! So far our followers and sales results are mostly in the Netherlands, but we always saw Capsule Studio as an international brand, and this is something I want to achieve in 2021.
Anna: We dream big - we would expand our collection, continue building brand awareness, hopefully get into more stores and… maybe we will have our own office and a showroom. I also have many ideas for the photoshoots, we will continue making our campaigns diverse and inclusive.
How will you become more sustainable?
Sebastian: This is something we are constantly working on, finding ways to improve our sustainability and reduce our footprint. In 2021 a big focus area will be the materials we use, and how we can be more efficient in using them, and being better at sourcing sustainable options. We are also doing 100% bike deliveries in Amsterdam and are looking at bringing this to other cities too.
Anna: I am focusing a lot on sourcing the right materials for the SS21 Capsule collection. There will be very nice and sustainable fabrics - linen, cotton, tencel and more. We of course continue supporting our partner factories and working closely with them. Maintaining the local supply chain is at the core of our brand.
What are you looking forward to the most?
Sebastian: A big dream would be our own store, but something more realistic would be to find our clothes in more stores around Europe! It is an amazing feeling walking into a store and seeing something you helped create on a mannequin.
Anna: At the moment we are in the middle of sampling for SS21 so I can’t wait to see the first prototypes. On a larger scale I am excited to reach more people next year and tell them our story. And on a personal note, I am looking forward to going back home to Russia to see my family as it has been a year since I saw them.
And is there anything you worry about?
Sebastian: I mean 2020 was probably the worst year in recent history to start a business, so I’m not sure how much worse it can get! I think my biggest worry is ordering too much stock, and then not being able to sell it all.
Anna: For me, the production period is the most stressful as I need to think about so many details to make sure that the final product is up to the highest standards - how the buttons are tightened, how the seams are closed, how will the fabric change after washing etc. I am always stressing out until the last moment when we receive the collection so that’s my biggest worry at the moment.
Any final words?
Sebastian: Thank you for joining us on this journey! A fashion brand really is nothing without people following it, and wearing the clothes, so without our fans and customers we wouldn’t be anywhere - you all are what makes the brand what it is! Thank you!
Anna: I would just reiterate - thank you so much for your trust and support. Thanks to everyone who has purchased from us, who has shared our posts, who has spread the word among friends and network - it means so much to us. Have a fantastic holiday period and see you all next year!