Elizabeth Babinski

37d16685adf5-EIP_Hensa_003.jpg

Elizabeth Babinski

liz@hensaco.com

@hensaclothing

http://www.hensaco.com

Country

United States

State / Region

Minnesota

Fashion Label

ABOUT

I think something that is unique about me is my background! I worked for a long time in sports, which gave me an incredible work ethic and determination to have the ability to do anything I set my mind to. I'm completely devoted to everything I work on.

Elizabeth, what are your passion and aspiration in life? How did you start as a Fashion Label?

My biggest driving motivation in life is to make an impact on the world. Since I was young, I would keep a journal of ways I could change the world, and everything I do always ties back to this. The wedding business was my first start at making a change by providing services catered towards the LGBTQ community, and I hope the clothing label does this as well.

Who is your inspiration in life Elizabeth? How do you keep inspired?

My inspiration in life is the people I met! I'm really lucky that I get to work with amazing friends, clients, random strangers that push me to keep moving forward. I love to hear the stories of others and let that influence the work I do.

We all make mistakes Elizabeth; we wish we could take back. Please tell us about time being a Fashion Label; you wish you’d handled a situation differently with a colleague.

It's not necessarily a colleague, but a manufacturer. Manufacturing clothing is incredibly challenging, especially as a small business, because a manufacturer won't want to take you seriously until you start bringing in large orders. For one of our very first products, we worked with a manufacturer that was so difficult to negotiate with. I'm pretty fluffy when writing emails, but towards the end of the relationship with the manufacturer, my emails became overly blunt and not well thought out, as I was sending them around 3-4am. It caused many months of the product getting pushed back and overall didn't allow us to get to another manufacturer easy because they withheld our materials from us. I learned a good lesson about being blunt but also being direct in a way that provokes action, not retraction.

Elizabeth, when you’re working with a large number of clients, it’s tricky to deliver excellent service to them all. As a Fashion Label, how do you go about prioritising your clients’ needs?

We always tie back to what our main focus is. For example, if we think that we would like to design a product, but it isn't going to look great in unisex sizing, then we have to scrap the idea, no matter how much we want to do it. We have a list of core ideas that we have to stay close to for everything, whether that be the colors we choose, the product we make, where we advertise, or even the models we choose. We've turned down opportunities and partners because it wasn't true to what we were trying to accomplish with our brand.

Please tell us Elizabeth, about a time you had to be very strategic in order to meet all your top priorities as a Fashion Label?

I always have to be strategic! Starting a clothing line is insanely competitive because the market is completely overcrowded, so every move needs to be well thought out and well organised. I have about ten calendars and tons of planning applications to help us stay on track and watch our metrics to make informed choices.

Elizabeth, please give us an example of a time when you were able to persuade someone to see things your way at work successfully.

Having a startup, almost every day feels like I need to persuade someone as to why I'm doing what I'm doing and why we are worth it. I receive a LOT of opinions, some good and some not-so-good. I don't have one situation in particular, but a lot of situations revolve around money. For example, I think a lot of people believe that just because I have started a business, I must have this endless supply of cash, which is completely untrue. When ideas are given to me that aren't in a lean format, meaning that we aren't using the scrappiest version that will have the most impact, I always have to persuade the opinion holder as to why it may not be the best time to implement the idea.

Elizabeth, please tell us about your proudest professional accomplishment as a Fashion Label. There might be many, but there is always this proudest moment that you want to share with everyone. What is it and why?

My biggest accomplishment so far has been having so many supportive people in the community. There are a lot of brands people can choose from, and there are a lot of brands people can support. I feel grateful for anyone that supports us because it's not easy to support someone small!

Elizabeth, please give us an example of a time you were able to be creative with your work. What was exciting or difficult about it?

Every day is creative! Because we are making unisex clothing, it takes such a different level of creativity to be like, "Ok, will this item work for any gender or identity?" Additionally, having to stand out in fashion is hard, which takes creativity to figure out to get people and media to find us and be interested. This is the best part of having a business! No day is dull, and at the end of the day, and the return we get is a direct result of the work we put in. I don't think any feeling in the world can top that.

What advice would you give to the people who want to be successful as a Fashion Label?

So much advice!!! First, have cash flow or cash. Don't start the business thinking it will be cheap, like in the thousands. 

Second, be willing to sacrifice your life. If you want to have any business, especially a clothing line, you have to be willing to give up your nights, weekends, sleep, etc. If you're not willing to do this, you will fail. 

Third, always stay learning and always seek feedback. Find people who will tell you your product sucks. It's easy to find people who love your product, but those people won't help you succeed. You've got to be willing to learn how to do everything in the business, like marketing, website building, sales, etc., in order to run a successful business.

Are you looking for collaboration with fashion talents, brands and creatives? If yes, please state below what type of collaboration you are looking for?

Yes! We would love to work with new models, other brands and creatives! We are always open to any partnerships. :)

Photo Credits:

Emily Isakson @ohhelloem
Ryan Terry @joystudios