Transcript of Sushi Fridays EP006: Andrea Pascual From Time Capsule Collection - Three Reflections One Year Later

[00:00:00] Hello, hello. Welcome to Sushi Fridays. I am your host Andrea Pascual, thank you for listening. In today's episode, I'll be sharing three reflections regarding my capsule collection launch From Time that I dropped exactly one year ago. If you aren't familiar with my brand, Andrea Pascual is a unisex fashion brand HQ'd in Toronto, Canada.

We tell stories from a multicultural lens that values diversity, disruption, community, and collaboration. I care about all these things and my customers do too. And if you haven't seen it, From Time is a capsule collection featuring my Kiss [00:01:00] Teeth wool varsity jacket, three silk scarves made in Italy, custom designed by me, and my Melly handbag, sewn and designed by me, now made in Italy.

Now, I'm approaching this episode as... Three main reflections regarding my From Time capsule collection launch versus a list of lessons I've learned because that list can be 50 items long and I want to approach this episode as an open conversation that we can continue in real life or off podcast. So here we go.

Three reflections regarding my capsule collection launch From Time that I dropped exactly one year ago from the recording of this episode. Reflection number one e-commerce is hard; e-comm is freaking hard. I can read all [00:02:00] the business books all the content, join all the free Facebook groups for e-comm biz owners and after doing so realize that other people's best methods to make sales as an e-comm brand may not be for me.

A common strategy I've learned that drives sales for e-comm brands is through ads, for example, Meta aka Facebook and IG aka paid digital marketing. But I'm gonna be straight up, they are expensive. I don't know if I even want to play that game because to love my brand and my product, you also have to get close to my product.

And I understand that at my price point, you do want to see it in person first before buying, and I get that. Another way that e-comm brands make sales is by pushing products through discounts. However, some of my fave brands like Hermes or [00:03:00] Aime Leon Dore don't do discounts. How do they crack that code? I still need to find out. Knowing that e-comm is hard as a brand with lux price points and quality product, I've reflected on changing my strategies to build brand awareness so that more people can reach my site and find out about me. Now, what does that look like? That looks like interviewing other creatives and entrepreneurs on Sushi Fridays The Podcast, finding commonality and learning from them. That looks like going to in real life panels, conferences and events. For example, I went to Ecomx, a networking event for e-comm brands yesterday and I also went to the Toronto small business forum earlier this week. Funny enough at the small business forum I met a Filipino designer.

I know who actually sat in to listen on the same panel I attended about building [00:04:00] a sustainable fashion brand and I met her 12 years ago, and she's still doing it up. Getting back to what changing my strategies to build brand awareness looks like it also looks like making my list of cafes and bars I want to hit up to do holiday happy hours and pop ups in Toronto this holiday season so I can actually meet my customers face to face and that looks like community building where I actually host the events instead of attending. I recently went to a panel hosted by Mo of  Kickin’ it with Mo at Makeway, a women's sneaker store in Toronto. And it made me realize how important real life community building is for brand connection and brand awareness.

Speaking on that further, one brand whose community building I've admired from time is The Hundreds. I don't [00:05:00] even live in LA, but I know Bobby Hundreds has an annual food festival. It's called Family Style, and I'd love to attend that one day. I've admired the way The Hundreds have been building community from the very start.

So, before I freak out anymore about how hard e-comm is, I'm trying all the different ways to deal with that challenge, and that's reflection number one. Now that brings us to number two of three reflections regarding my capsule collection launch From Time that I dropped exactly one year ago. Number two, my second reflection is longevity.

And that reflection is twofold. The first, longevity as a brand. So I mentioned this before, growing my brand takes time, building brand trust takes time, and getting people [00:06:00] to understand my brand message takes time. Even when I started sewing in my apartment in Vancouver, my goal was never to simply pop up, drop some dope handbags, and bounce.

I mean, of course I want to sell, that's what a business is. At the same time, I care about bringing people together, having conversations, growing and inspiring people, helping them build. And I know for a fact that doesn't happen after dropping some cool items and saying peace out. I truly believe that takes longevity.

My second reflection on my reflection of longevity relates to the way I develop and produce product. A few months ago, actually several months ago now, I created a reel on Instagram saying I can't keep up with the fashion calendar so I won't. I don't even know what the fashion calendar is these days, I just know that on the extreme end of the spectrum, there's Shein or [00:07:00] Shein, however you pronounce it, an ultra fast fashion company who makes thousands of styles.

Per day or per week. I don't know. They just do a lot and I'm not about that. I care about dropping quality edited limited capsules with lasting silhouettes and I think that has a lot to do with my background in leatherwork and craftsmanship. I care about materials and how something is made and how long it lasts.

And I also think it's why I admire Hermes so much. The Birkin bag, which is an almost 40 year old silhouette, or the LV Noé bucket bag, which I actually have, and that silhouette is 90 years old. Longevity, why can't my Melly bucket bag be long lasting? My first clutch, called the Hornchurch, friends and family still reference it to this day.[00:08:00] 

She is tough to produce, but when I figure out how to produce her, she is gonna still exist. She's a classic Andrea Pascual silhouette. So, I see nothing wrong with building with longevity in mind. It's always in the back of my head, and I still think about it. Longevity is my second reflection, and I reflect on longevity as a brand, and as a brand who has longevity in their products. 

That brings us to number three of three reflections regarding my capsule collection launch From Time that I dropped exactly one year ago. And that is, it helps to have a why. And I say this because I know there are business owners who don't have deep whys, which is fine, cool, do you, but personally for me, why is important.

Because as a brand designer,  I'm going on [00:09:00] the other side of things on the other side of things that I do. I do brand design and I care about helping underrepresented founders with brand consistency and confidence. That's why I create their brand identity designs because I care about them doing well and sharing my passion for design to help them grow.

My why is so strong in that mission and as a fashion brand owner slash designer of my own brand I care about not only sharing my story but doing so to inspire people to build community to build together, and yes community may sound like a buzzword that's played out but I honestly truly believe in it and I realize that even more so as I go through challenges with my own brand because it does help to have a why.

Further, what would my brand story be based on without it? I do not see a foundation there [00:10:00] without it. For example, my Kiss Teeth Varsity Jacket. I'm not selling it to you because it's a damn good jacket, and it is. Shout out to Golden Bear in San Francisco, quality heritage outerwear maker. I'm selling you this jacket because it symbolizes what I stand for.

Santa Maria is the emblem that sits on the back. Right under the neck. Kiss Teeth is my mom's expression in her photos that inspired me to make her part of my brand and my family's journey is a story of resilience from next to nothing in the Philippines to decades later today. I even remember when I got samples in from my embellishments of my Santa Maria logo, I showed my mom and she cried because she was so happy.

For me, my why keeps me grounded and in regards to my fashion brand [00:11:00] not only am I sharing my values and my story I'm also sharing the belief I have in myself that I can build regardless of the challenges. And I'm gonna pull stats from Stats Canada now, in 2021, 91 percent of all employer businesses in Canada were small businesses.

I am a Canadian based in Canada and from that stat I get that most people were employed by a business started by an entrepreneur. Further, the combined contribution of small and medium sized businesses to Canada's GDP is over 50 percent. So as I build on my why, I think if these people can build, why can't I?

To recap, this Sushi Fridays episode was about three reflections regarding my capsule collection launch From Time [00:12:00] that I dropped exactly one year ago. Reflection number one, e-comm is freaking hard. I can't rely on e-comm alone. That's why I'm gonna do all the things that I listed. Reflection number two, longevity, which is twofold.

The first, I see longevity as a brand that lasts. And the second, I see longevity as a brand who sells products that last. I'm not Zara or H& M. I don't have to move like that. I can take time building my next capsule. And number three. Knowing my why and I know my why because it absolutely helps to keep me grounded through the challenges as an entrepreneur.

I want to end this episode with a quick story that has to do with our why with my why that was so relatable for me as a creative [00:13:00] entrepreneur. Several weeks ago, I met a successful woman business owner and I asked her as a creative, as a mom, as a business owner of, I think she's been in business 15 years, if I'm not mistaken, how do you do it all?

How do you stay committed to your business, to your creativity and to your family? And she pointed it out that being a creative is who we are. I relate. Yes, that exactly it's ingrained in me. And she said if we choose to express our creativity, in this case, if we choose to create a creative business, knowing that it does take time, commitment, long hours, lots of work, resilience, tenacity, it still doesn't have to exist as a choice between creative business and family.

[00:14:00] They can coexist. And I asked her why? Why can they coexist? She told me that she wants to be that example for her kids and her family that she's actually going for it and they themselves don't have to give up their creativity or any part of themselves or their dreams for anyone. She wants to be the example for them to pursue and express whatever they choose to do.

And I truly love that story because I feel like it so closely relates to her why and why she keeps going and I resonate with that. Because as I said, it helps to have a why, why do you do what you do, especially as a creative or as an entrepreneur. And on that note, thank you, thank you for [00:15:00] listening to this episode of Sushi Fridays.

I am your host, Andrea Pascual. I am a brand slash graphic designer for underrepresented founders. I'm also a fashion brand owner slash designer of my namesake brand, Andrea Pascual. Please subscribe to Sushi Fridays on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music, or iHeart Radio. Follow along at @sushifridayspod on Instagram, and to get a complimentary one on one brand consult from me, rate and review my episode and send me a screenshot of it to my contact info in the show notes and I'll hook you up.

Until next time, I will see you next Sushi Friday.