Entries Tagged as 'Business'

The Rise of The Temporary Fashion Brand



I’ve just left my local brunch spot 3 Course, which used to be my morning coffee stop, until recently when the owner decided to take a more practical approach to the business and only open the restaurant during peak times, Thursday-Sunday evening. As I walked home to write this I stopped to pick up the Sunday papers and witnessed all three people in the queue in front of me buy a Cadbury’s Creme Egg at the till. The signature Cadbury creation is only available from January-April but manages to contribute over £200m in sales in 4 short months, almost half of what it’s best selling Cadbury’s Dairy Milk bar contributes in an entire year (According to information by market analyst Information Resources (IRI), Cadbury’s Dairy Milk is the bestselling chocolate bar in the UK with annual sales of £483.1m.)

So I got to thinking about the value of consistently temporary brands and experiences. Why is it that so many fashion brands are available all year round? Particularly fashion brands that are so defined by a seasonal aesthetic. Why should sales suffer for half of the year, when in reality their strength and relevance is the S/S season? In the age of uber-convenience where information, products, cars and TV shows, are all available on demand, the opportunity for brands to counter the culture and draw on the continued success of limited editions and pop up shops  to create a new type of fashion business is presenting itself.


Miu Miu sort of tested this theory with their 3 day private member’s club pop up. Located in the opulent Hotel Cafe Royal on Regent street, the women’s only club, offered lunch and afternoon tea alongside film screenings, talks and discussions and of course a shop. The only place to be in London for those 3 days in 2012, it was in my opinion the most memorable brand experience I have ever had. One that truly exposed the personality of the brand in an atmosphere that was exclusive, but once inside playful and welcoming. Will there be another Miu Miu London? If a new brand took inspiration from this model, shunning a 360 day a year retail store presence with instead a seasonal elaborate pop up, would they not be able to operate more efficiently, with a greater chance at viral marketing success and a better sell through? Certainly Supreme does this well, with frequent shipments of small runs of stock that see die hard fans camp over night, and queues forming every time the word gets out of a new drop.


How much more as humans and consumers do we crave the security of permanence versus the thrill of the transient? The challenge brands face, particularly new brands,  is how to offer that timeless security and financial stability alongside an everlasting hype.

What are your thoughts? Tweet me @amberatherton

Why Entrepreneurs Should Prepare to Fail


I think it’s safe to say I pretty much failed at running this blog in 2014. Between running my own start up MY FLASH TRASH, < (and it’s blog) my Harper’s BAZAAR column and my other social media channels I’ve woefully neglected the visitors to my own website. Je suis désolé! So in the spirit of New Year’s resolutions I’ve decided to update the blog with one really good (hopefully) post a month on the things that really matter to me most; Startups, Enterprise, Motivation and Business & Trend insights. Fashion, food and other frivolities of my 23 year old life may still be found on my instagram should it please you to know what Im eating, wearing or what my new puppy #misssuziewong is doing.
On the realisation of this failure I wanted to start 2015 off with just that. So many young people I meet want to start their own business and that’s fantastic, but there is a severe lack of failure education and if you don’t have the right mental strategy to deal with it, it can be crushing. Preparing to fail should be a key part of your business plan. 2 friends and very successful entrepreneurs Michael Acton-Smith and Leo Seigal kindly offered me their thoughts on the inevitable failure most start ups face. Whether it’s huge catastrophic this is the end kind of failure (Ben Horowitz’s The Hard Thing About Hard Things also addresses this well) or just a small little hiccup kind of fail, the way we deal with these moments is hugely important for your own state of mind not to mention your team.
Michael and I met via a conversation on twitter and we went on to create one of the first product lines for Moshi Monsters a cute range of silver charms a couple of years ago- he shares his thoughts below..

‘ ‘Fail fast’ is one of my favourite mantras.  There’s nothing wrong with failing as long as you do it fast and don’t repeat the same mistakes.  Building ground breaking businesses is risky and you’ve got to be prepared to screw up many, many times before you finally crack it.’

  [Louis Theroux, Amber Atherton & Michael Acton-Smith] 
Incubated by Y-Combinator and with over a $1million in venture capital funding, Prizeo is a platform for celebrities to raise funds for charitable causes by offering rewards and exciting experiences to donors, started by Leo Seigal , his co-founder Bryan and CTO Andrej. From party discussions at SXSW to juices in West Hollywood and numerous brunches in Islington, I’ve been lucky to spend a lot of global brainstorming time with Leo and his thoughts below on the topic are well worth a read…
‘As an entrepreneur I have been lucky enough not to have a failed company, but rather have had to deal (like pretty much any entrepreneur) with an array of smaller, almost daily failures. When your product is your baby, and you work as closely to it as we do, it’s impossible not to take every inevitable hiccup to heart and feel it at your core. When you are constantly pushing so hard to achieve your goal, you can find yourself getting lost in a negative situation and losing all sense of perspective, as well as at times feeling like you want to just give up at that very moment.

Fortunately, I normally bounce back pretty quickly, dust myself off, and keep going. Having put so much sweat and blood into my company to date I don’t think there has ever been a specific moment that I’ve considered actually throwing in the towel, but there have certainly been times that I sit down and wonder why the hell I chose [what feels at the time to be] such a traumatic and thankless path.I think my coping mechanism has been to try and take a step back and remind myself that as frustrating or disappointing as a situation may be, I have still come so far and achieved so much that I would be silly to beat myself up too much, or indeed give up. So I keep going and striving to reach that ever-elusive goal.’

sxsw [Amber Atherton, Casey Zhang & Leo Seigal]
Bouncing back quickly is a habit Leo and I share, I recently told Virgin Pioneers about my own pivot and what small failures can provide in way of clarity to catalyse you to focus. I hope in the face of failure this year you too can see it as priceless lesson that will ultimately lay another brick in the foundations to your own success.



Share your thoughts with me on failure or what articles you’d like to see next on twitter! @AMBERATHERTON

5 Great Reads to Inspire You This 2014


I’ve always believed that Christmas is the only time of year you can really switch off. People all over the world are genuinely not at work, that red Blackberry light isn’t flashing and you’re not rushing to and from meetings. Whilst I’ll be watching myflashtrash.com like a hawk, this is one of the few times in the year that, wherever you are in your career, you’re free of the micro day to day tasks giving you the time to really think macro. Where is your business going in 2014? What are you own personal goals? Write down your plans and let the sky be the limit. With determination and a to-do list nothing is impossible. So in between the turkey and the wrapping paper, why not use the holidays as a time to get off your laptop and into a thought provoking book? Here’s my top eight reads to get you inspired for 2014.
1. The Everything Store – Winner of the 2013 FT & Goldman Sachs Business Book Of The Year Award- this definitive biography by Brad Stone charts the birth and rise of Amazon.com 
2. The Greatness Guide – Robin Sharma of The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari fame, packs another powerful motivational punch with this clever little hand book. Split into short chapters (lessons) you’ll be revved up with inspiration before you know it.  
3. Nassim Nicholas Taleb – an author, trader and mathematics professor examines what randomness means in business and life and the role of dumb luck in most human success.   
4. Man’s Search For Meaning – A physcatricst’s account of surviving the Holocaust. Deeply moving and insightful, a powerful book that sheds light on a human’s true strength of character and ability to survive through the most challenging of struggles. One to sense check the reality of your issues and drive you forward.   
5. Thinking Fast & Slow – This cult book will challenge you to disrupt the way you think. Giving you practical techniques to make better decisions, full of self-help value and intellectual surprises. A must read.  
6. The Happiness Hypothesis – What will really make you happy in 2014? Love, money, success? Psychologist Jonathan Haidt challenges the norms.  
7. The Meaning of Things – I’m always challenging my team to be more observational because the unconsidered life, as Socrates put it, is not worth living. AC Grayling’s books are always enlightening and this one, in particular, is an invaluable lesson about what’s truly important in life.  
8. The Social Animal –  I believe deeply in the will power of the unconscious mind and this best-seller delves into the curious power of the mind and our ability to dictate our own success.

What if brands made their slogans honest?


Transparency and honesty  have emerged as trends in brand building in the last year, with company’s like Everlanewho are creating greater traceability throughout the supply chain, gaining considerable traction. Instagram has provided a great platform for brands to convey that transparency through images of sketches, workshops and the offices and studios where the people behind the product work. Video uploads in tandem with this are consistently more apparent on my feed from brands, like DollMemories (a Russian apparel company), that uses the feature to show beautiful clips of their illustrator creating incredible drawings.  
As supply chains become more accessible to consumers, Instagram lead businesses are thriving as enterprising individuals capitalize on the network’s unprecedented commerce function.  I’ve seen overwhelming growth in individual jewellery brands who are curating product from wholesalers and branding it (If only I had that marketing tool back when I started My Flash Trash from my dorm room at school! Armed only with wordpress and facebook as a marketing platform) The creative process and manufacturing is getting honest, but what if brand’s slogans became honest too? My top picks from new site honestslogans

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