Exactly one year ago, I was getting ready to hit the “live” button on augustsociety.com. We had just gotten our first shipment of swimsuits in from Bali and pre-orders had begun. I can’t believe how much difference a year makes, so on our first birthday, I figured it’s a great time to think about how far we have come, share where we are going next and reflect on what I’ve learned in the process.
A year ago I was unpacking boxes of swimsuits in my living room (I have a very understanding husband!) and juggling sales, marketing, logistics, design and production on my own. We mainly existed online, with the occasional pop-up event and customers coming by to try in swimsuits in our guest bedroom!
Today, though we are still a small team, I’m grateful to have Wieteke, my excellent marketing manager, on board, along with a team of freelancers who are experts in their fields to help bring the August Society brand to life. We’ve moved into new digs on Haji Lane; our showroom allows customers to touch and feel our swimsuits and try them on to ensure the perfect fit. We’re also stocked at various shops in Singapore, such as Isetan Scotts, and can be found at our first overseas location at the Sanchaya, Bintan.
It’s important for us to strive to be an ethical brand that commits to sweatshop-free manufacturing and using sustainable fabrics. Did you know that approximately 10–20 million tons of plastic end up in the oceans each year? For the past two collections we’ve introduced recycled polyester as our fabric of choice, which contains PET as the raw material (the same material that is used in single-use plastic water bottles). It gets melted down to create fibres that are then used to make brand new fabric. Containing Xtra-Life Lycra to help retain its shape, the Italian-made fabric is also ultra chlorine resistant, sun creams & oil resistant and has excellent UV protection.
It’s an exciting time for us as we are looking beyond Singapore’s shores to evaluate new markets. As well as stretching geographically, we are assessing the potential of new categories such as accessories, men’s swimwear or children’s swimwear - do let us know if any of these sound exciting to you! Keep an eye out for us at new stocklists and events around the little red dot as well.
Starting up a business and brand from scratch is hard. It’s really hard. And it gets incredibly personal, as it is very difficult to separate yourself from your business. Below are some things I’ve learned along the way, and hopefully are still relevant to those of you who are not entrepreneurs:
Be kind to yourself. It’s easy to fall into the trap of staying busy all the time and constantly thinking about what’s next and what can be done better (at least I do!) We often spend energy fixating on our mistakes rather than celebrating the successes. We are each our own harshest critic, so give yourself a break every once in a while.
Enjoy the ride. It’s so easy to rush through the day, going from one task to the next without pausing to think about what it is you are doing. I’m terribly guilty of being impatient; everything needs to be done faster, better and more efficiently. I need to tell myself to take a second to remember why I’m doing what I do and be grateful that I have the opportunity to create something I truly enjoy.
It takes a village. They usually say this about raising a child, but as a business is pretty much your baby, I’d say it’s still fitting. Whenever you are starting something new, it’s important to seek out those who have been there before. You don’t know what you don’t know, and tapping onto as many experts and resources as you can will make your life that much easier. It’s also important to remember this in your personal life and make sure that you have a partner, family or friends who support you one hundred percent.
Lastly, thanks to all of you who have supported us along the way. Our customers and partners are what make us great, so we are extremely appreciative to have you as part of our society!
Stay tuned for some birthday treats via our Instagram page!