The long-awaited day has arrived! AVANTGARDRESS has opened its doors and we finally get to see their beautifully curated selection. Just in time for the launch, I sat down with the founders, Lisa and Lena, who have put a lot of time and effort into this unique project. We chatted about their journey so far, their values and why their concept stands out from the crowd. I am excited to share their answers with you here today and simply can’t wait for your response. I truly believe that Lisa and Lena’s project is a success story, and I very much hope that by reading what they had to say you will agree. So, lean back, relax and find out why AVANTGARDRESS is so very special.
KATHARINA: Hi Lisa & Lena, thanks so much for taking the time to talk to me today! I feel quite honored to be the one who gets to write the first interview for your blog. What makes it even more special is having the chance to introduce you and your newly launched ecommerce site AVANTGARDRESS. I bet everyone is excited to find out what your new venture is all about so let’s jump right in. How would you define AVANTGARDRESS?
LISA: AVANTGARDRESS is a bit like that friend that keeps you up to date about new brands she discovers on Instagram or magazines. She stands out for her unique style. To be more specific, she manages to dress in a way that’s contemporary, at times eccentric but also timeless. Her pieces don’t just look great, they are well cut, made from finest materials and you can tell she feels wonderful in them.
KATHARINA: I know you guys have been preparing the AVANTGARDRESS launch for several months now but when did the actual idea of having your own business arise? What was your motivation?
LENA: We’re both passionate online shoppers and realised a while ago that the huge amount of fashion pieces on offer could be very overwhelming at times. It often resulted in us spending hours researching (in order to find the right pieces). Until now we found it hard to discover unique styles that look good, are well made and affordable. We believe that many women feel the same: They want quality and a sense of uniqueness but don’t want to invest a lot of time in looking for both.
LISA: Our motivation stemmed from our desire to create something new that made the world a little better. For us, that means trying to reduce packaging materials, showing our customers how to shop & consume consciously and working with designers that re-use fabrics for instance. It is very important to us to keep our footprint as small as possible, and to tread lightly. Brands we work with are pioneers when it comes to producing fashion fairly and sustainably. We want to follow their lead and make sure that our processes are in line with their ‘Less is More’ philosophy. This is visible in our own packaging, for instance, and our ‘No Return Bonus’ concept (whenever AVANTGARDRESS customers don’t return their orders they receive a 10% off voucher on their account and can use it for their next purchase).
KATHARINA: Why is AVANTGARDRESS different to other ecommerce sites?
LENA: AVANTGARDRESS is the address for new labels and outfit inspiration – you can discover them without having to go through endless product pages. AVANTGARDRESS is the first choice when it comes to finding a new favourite piece. Our customer love coming back to us. They know that they can rely on our selection: Each brand and collection are selected with attention to detail and care.
KATHARINA: Talking about your customers, who is the ‘AVANTGARDRESS Woman’?
LENA: A woman who enjoys fashion, a woman who is in search of new, small brands. She enjoys life and represents cheerfulness, freedom, femininity, elegance and coolness. Her buying decisions are conscious and sustainable, her style is eccentric but classic.
KATHARINA: What are your core values?
LISA: To summarise our values I would say the following:
Curation - Handpicked Outfits – 100% Unique
Quality – Attention to Detail – 100% Passion
Sustainability – Small Footprint - 100% Conscious
KATHARINA: How do you select your items?
LENA: Our designers and outfits are handpicked. Whenever we select items we make sure that we chose them from designers whose philosophy and design process are in line with what we believe in. We only buy products that convince us. On our buying trips we also try each piece on so we can be sure it’s perfect.
KATHARINA: I love that you try on each piece and make sure it goes with your values. Apart from that, is there anything all your pieces have in common?
LISA: We believe that every item on AVANTGARDRESS has the potential to become someone’s favourite item.
KATHARINA: Which brands do you work with and why?
LISA: As you know, we value highly qualitative materials and sustainable production processes as well as the perfect cut and fit. Those things play a huge part in deciding on the brands we work with. Madeleine Thompson, for instance, uses only the finest cashmere from Piedmont, BLANCHE and Pieszak’s pieces are made from organic cotton grown on small farms. Underprotection creates swimwear from recycled plastic and Gaimo’s shoes are carefully handcrafted in Spain. We also work with ATP Atelier who use naturally dyed leathers from Tuscany and Sunny whose bamboo bags are handmade in Bali.
KATHARINA: What do you enjoy most about running AVANTGARDRESS?
LENA: That there is a story behind each label we represent. For some it’s the story of a strong woman, for others the production process and craftsmanship. Over the past few months, we have met so many interesting people.
KATHARINA: Talking about meeting people, how did the two of you meet?
LISA: We both worked for a big online retailer and had the chance to master several projects together.
KATHARINA: What do you enjoy about working with each other?
LENA: We share similar taste, interests and values. When it comes to our skills we complement each other perfectly. That and our sense of humour make our everyday lives much more enjoyable, no matter whether we are going through good times or bad.
KATHARINA: What does a typical workday look like for you?
LISA: No day is the same. At the moment it is just the two of us. One day we could be carefully buying our items, the next day producing images and then replying to customer queries, the list goes on. We try to master every task by ourselves but our aim is to expand our team very soon.
KATHARINA: What are your ‘everyday’ challenges?
LISA (laughing): Well, we try to juggle and hope that we don’t drop the ball!
KATHARINA: What are your plans for the next couple of months?
LENA: The coming months are going to be very exciting! As mentioned, we’re looking into expanding our team but also our brand portfolio. We can’t wait to share all of those moments with you!
KATHARINA: That all sounds very exciting indeed! Before we finish, what are your favourite AVANTGARDRESS outfits?
LISA: Ooh, that’s a tough one but if I had to pick I would say a cashmere jumper by Madeleine Thompson paired with a blazer by Graumann and white cropped jeans by BLANCHE. I would finish the outfit off with the Alloro mules by ATP Atelier and the Little Lady by Little Liffner.
LENA: I would go for a sweatshirt by Designers Remix worn over a dress by BLANCHE. Accessory-wise I would decide on cowboy boots by Ivylee and the small shoulder bag by ATP Atelier.
KATHARINA: Sounds good to me. Thank you so much for your time! It was lovely to find out more about AVANTGARDRESS and I am excited to see what adventures lie ahead of you and your beautiful project.
Wonderful news! I’m so happy for you! Excellent Team! Wish you the best! 👏👏👏
Eine neue Generation von Leaderinnen!
Wir sind mächtig stolz auf Euch und gratulieren von Herzen 💓
Liebe Lena und Lisa
Gratulation zu Eurem großartigen Werk, das so viel Schöpferkraft dahinter zeigt ….und soooo viel Arbeit👍😀Das Interview bringt rüber, dass Ihr ein Herzensprojekt umgesetzt habt.
Gutes Gelingen, viel Freude 💜und Mega viele Klicks auf Euren Bestellbuttons
Good luck :-)