Getting Smashed with Smashing Darling

smashing-darling-linktrade.jpgOkay, okay, we didn’t really get smashed. That’s a little hard to do when you’re on opposite coasts. But I did have a smashing time interviewing Trish and Julie, founders of the fabulous indie fashion marketplace Smashing Darling. For the uninitiated, Smashing Darling is home base for a slew of indie apparel and accessories designers, who create virtual boutiques to sell their wares to indie fashion fans like yours truly. In addition to being an online fashion house, the site allows designers to post profiles and videos, hold online sample sales and get direct feedback from people who visit the site. Visit the site, and you’ll find Bay Area names like Funk Divine, Mzz Rzz, FiftySeven-ThirtyThree and The Urge to Adorn.

Read on as Smashing Darling fills us in on the feel-good nature of indie fashion, hot places to find indie fashion, the most important things to do when launching a new designer label and more.

There are so many things going on in the independent fashion world today. It can be exhausting to try to keep track of it all! Events and shows in cities around the country (and the world), magazines, blogs, new web sites are popping up all the time. How do you keep your finger on the pulse of what’s going on?

Smashing Darling: We are constantly searching for content to promote the indie fashion world. A lot of the content in our blog is fed to us by our community emailing us what they are up to or about cool indie events happening around the country. So please, if you know of an indie fashion event happening, email us. We would love to blog about it.

We’re pretty sure we could write the answer to this ourselves, but we’d like to know, from your perspective, how Smashing Darling differs from other online marketplaces, including etsy and ebay?

Smashing Darling: The biggest difference is that we are a niche market really catering to the specific needs of indie fashion designers and customers searching for fabulous indie fashion.

For new and emerging designers, which do you think is the better approach: to go full speed ahead promoting yourself and your line even if you aren’t quite sure whether you can sustain it over the long term or how you’re going to make ends meet – or to slowly release fewer items, even if that means less exposure and fewer sales, and grow organically bit by bit?

Smashing Darling: I would have to say which ever way feels most comfortable to them. When going into business, sometimes all you have is yourself, so do what best fits your life, personality, and resources. I will say, if you do decide to go full speed ahead, be smart. Make sure you know how to make ends meet. For more tips on starting out, check out Smashing Darling blogging at DIYthing.

How can the average indie fashion addict, like myself, justify spending more money to have clothing that’s one-of-a-kind, unique, handmade or otherwise indie? I’m often searching for that answer!

Smashing Darling: We believe in slow fashion. Think about the Slow Food movement. People are spending a lot more on organically grown produce and farm fresh products because they care, they want to know where and who their food is coming from, and because it positively contributes to their community. The same is true for indie fashion. Isn’t it great to know that every piece has a story and is helping a local economy? The fact that the pieces are one-of-a-kind, handmade, and/or unique is why they are special and worth every penny.

Do you think there’s any credence to the notion that becoming a mom often leads to becoming more focused on indie goods? I’ve noticed this shift among some of my peers, and I’m curious how and why this happens.

Smashing Darling: Becoming a mom definitely allows you to take a fresh look at everything in your life. That’s the nature of seeing things through a child’s eyes. There’s lots of re-evaluating your current ways of doing things. So, yes it has (for us) been a way to examine the choices we make in not only our clothing, but also our food and lifestyle. We realize that we want the best for our children, and what is best for them is also best for us. It’s a natural extension.

When you’re starting out as a designer, what are the top three things you should have in place before you launch your new business?

Smashing Darling: Assuming you know how you are producing your line (if not that is absolutely the most important), otherwise: labels to put in your garments, a venue to sell your product and the start of an email list to continually add to, so you can stay in direct contact with your customer.

Other than Smashing Darling, of course, what are some of your favorite organizations supporting independent designers, indie fashion and/or D.I.Y. culture?

Smashing Darling: GenArt, Refinery29, Fashion Replant, Nylon Magazine, Venuszine, DIY City Mag, Bust Magazine, N.E.E.T Magazine, IQONS, The Market NYC, The Edge*ny NOHO ,Catwalk Genius, Portland Fashion Week, Ultra, of course SFindiefashion…and every blogger out there talking about the world of indie fashion.

Lastly, tell us what we have to look forward to with Smashing Darling 2.0!

We are currently redesigning the site so it has a stronger indie fashion look and presence on the web. Designers will have mini blogs in their stores so customers can keep up with their favorite designers and what they are up to. We are going to offer personal shopping experiences to shoppers that will be like having their own personal stylist. There will also be more ways for a shopper to filter their shopping experience, so they find exactly what they are looking for.