I thought I’d write a bit about what I do – or what I’d ultimately love to do… which is, to start my own clothing label called Vélorous. So, during my final year of uni, instead of doing a typical research dissertation I took a business start up module run by the Accelerator business incubator that is part of our university. I chose the module as it sounded more exciting to me than academic writing and researching, and I thought I may enjoy the project of coming up with my own business idea.
The first step was to figure out what kind of business I’d want to set up. Studying fashion, it obviously had to be something to do with the fashion industry, clothing or style, but our lecturers also pointed out that if in doubt about the idea, we should try to think about all things we are passionate about. So then it all started to come together: apart from loving style, prints and fun clothing, I’ve always been a keen cyclist, having cycled around as my main mode of transport since I was 5. Around two years ago I started cycling in London, after a year of struggling to keep my calm in crowded, sweaty tubes. I guess that was sort of a changing point in my life, the re-discovery of a bicycle and realizing how practical and fun it was on the streets of London. I figured I’d try to somehow combine my passions, design, prints and cycling.
And so the idea about Vélorous was born. I realised I’d like to create something new and cool, something that would be perfect for my own lifestyle and probably for many others too. Thus I started working on an idea of my own fashion brand that would be catering for female cyclists – especially for women that have an outgoing lifestyle and love for style, and who commute by bicycle and thus need some functional clothing. These women wouldn’t be afraid of making a statement – hence the name Vélorous (which was born after three days of brainstorming): combination of words valorous, synonym for adventurous & bold, and vélo that’s ‘bicycle’ in French.
That’s how it all started. In the business start-up module we worked towards writing a business plan, practiced pitching and covered anything from legal considerations to social media strategy. In my creative modules I set Vélorous as my final major project, working for the aesthetics, prints and designs of the brand in our studio. I also took part to the pattern cutting sessions with a fashion designer and started slowly but surely working towards actually being able to start the brand.
In the end I managed to make a few simple garment prototypes of entry-lever products. I also did a little photoshoot, having a friend of mine modelling for me and another assisting with the photoshoot while I was snapping photos with my little DSLR! It was quite fun actually, although I would have loved to have a proper camera (and some more photo skills too, but camera is a good one to blame haha). Here’s some of my favourite images of the little photoshoot:
So what’s up with the venture now? I’m done with university and the business module is wrapped up, but the desire to make Vélorous reality hasn’t gone anywhere, but gotten stronger. However due to a few reasons I’m not about to launch the brand just yet, but working slowly towards that. The biggest surprise for me has been that now I actually dream of becoming self-employed and entrepreneur one day, whereas when starting the project I wasn’t really realistically thinking about starting my own business. Hopefully one day in the near-ish future I will – in the meantime, if interested, you can follow my twitter @velorous, where I’ll definitely tweet about any new developments or progress…