At So Catchy! we dig innovation, creativity, and of course, courage and hard work.
For the last few months we’ve been on the trail of a woman and her idea: Ana García (Madrid, 1979) and her online store Única by Anna Lozabai.
Last year, Ana and her team got the great news that their project had been chosen for development by the startup incubator Lanzadera by Juan Roig. For those who haven’t heard about it, it’s a project that’s designed to help entrepreneurs to develop their business ideas, not only economically but also through training and specialized guidance.
Única by Anna Lozabai is based on creating personalized clothes. Imagine if you could tailor your clothes to your own desires, in your size, original and made by you and for you, without out having to draw your own patterns and sew it yourself. Like having your own personal fashion designer, from home and all through your laptop or iPad.
Adverse circumstances forced Ana García to drastically change her career path awhile back. After many years at the family business and after suffering full on the effects of the economic crisis, she decided to head out on her own with the support of her mother. Ana decided to choose a field that had nothing to do with anything she’d done up till then: Fashion.
The end result is an online platform with a fresh new idea, to create personalized clothes, without getting sucked in to the world of fashion for the masses, all made to order, where the client chooses exactly what they want. The process is simple: in only 5 simple steps a customer can have their clothing. All they have to do is wait for it to arrive.
Last March 14th, using Instagram Direct, Ana released the site. It’s a daring gamble, which brings together the old world of dressmaking and the new world of technology.
SO CATCHY!: How and when did you get the idea for Única by Anna Lozabai?
ANA GARCÍA: Única came from a series of coincidences. My family has always kept up a tradition of sewing. When I was young, my mother would make clothes just like her mother before. She also tailored dresses for friends and family since it was hard to find things that were well made and looked good. So I thought, why don’t I offer this service online so that everyone can get in on it? That’s where Anna Lozabai came from, our family fashion house that makes unique (Únicas) clothing.
SC!: What training did you need to get it off the ground?
AG: Three years ago I presented the idea to Emprende Madrid, a platform for entrepreneurs, and I was selected as one of the YoDona 2011 winners. During that time, I was able to develop my business plan with the help of advisors working in the world of textiles. The next year, the project was chosen by Inciativa Madrid, another incubator, where I received more specialized training in e-commerce. And finally, in 2013, Lanzadera, the project led by Juan Roig, it was selected along with 14 others for support and thanks to their financing as well as advising from some incredible people in the world of finance, marketing, communications, etc, we’ve been able to get the project going.
SC!: Tell us a bit about the Única’s business idea.
AG: Única is the first fashion brand which does not make two of the same articles. Women are unique in their tastes, personality and shape, and since we’re all different, why should we dress the same? Única has a solution now for your everyday needs.
SC!: How would you describe your project, in only a few words to someone who doesn’t know much about online technology?
AG: Única brings the world of traditional dressmaking to the world of new technologies.
SC!: Who is Única for?
AG: Women who look for individuality in fashion, and who like to take the reins in life. Women who don’t accept limitations that are imposed on them, who seek a balance between their personal and working lives. Women who show their femininity without falling into any predetermined moulds.
SC!: Have you seen any other initiative like yours around the world?
AG: No, this idea came from a traditional offline model adapted to the online world. There are websites for men’s suits but they only ‘customize’ the clothing.
SC!: Tell us how the platform works.
AG: The user chooses a blank pattern, selects the fabric she likes most (they’re all of the highest quality) and modifies the pattern. For example: with one dress, you can change the neck, the sleeves, the length, etc. And once you’ve designed the clothing, we ask you to send us your measurements and adapt the clothing to your body. They’re all unique patterns, that are then sent out to a workshop to be tailored by hand. In less than 21 days, the client will have their order, either in their home or at any post office they want.
SC!: What are your objectives?
AG: To be the point of reference for a new way of looking at fashion. Fashion that is made for women and by them.
I’d love to be able to dedicate all my time to Única. It’s a business model that allows us to reinvent ourselves and to bring many ideas to life that we have knocking around. I hope that in 10 years we can still be providing women with solutions and emotions.
SC!: Tell us about your experience with Lanzadera, How much financial help and guidance did you get?
AG: Única has been made possible with the financial support of Lanzadera. However, they didn’t only give financial support, they also provided training and real time advising with professionals in all the different areas involved in any business. We started last June and we inaugurated the project last March 14th.
SC!: Despite the fact that everyone can choose their own clothing and design to fulfil their own desires, could you define the style you want ot project?
AG: The patterns are all basic cuts inspired by the latest trends. We offer three collection lines and the fabrics vary from the most basic to whatever happens to be in vogue at the moment. We want women to be able to find things on our website that don’t exist in the big chain stores.
SC!: You started with the launch of the Flagship Store 2.0 using Instagram Direct as your main mode of online communication. How did people react to this idea?
AG: It’s been absolutely crazy!
SC!: A designer you look up to…
AG: There are many, Elie Saab.
SC!: Are there any publications or websites that you follow?
AG: Honestly, like most Única women, I’m not a steadfast follower of fashion publications. When the fashion weeks come around, I buy the magazines that are dedicated to them and I look at websites like yours that talk about art and fashion in a different way.
Translated by Michael Padilla