Label meets MLM Label founder Julia to discuss the brand’s evolution, winter collection and her advice for emerging designers
What educational path did you follow in preparation for establishing MLM Label?
I actually began my journey in Fine Arts with a Bachelor Degree, I knew I wanted to be a creative but was unsure of the industry. With an open mind, internships and more than my fair share of job seeking, I entered the business side of the fashion industry. I never really ended my studies and persistence, but that one small decision to re-locate from my country home and charge the work life like a bull led me to where I am now.
How has MLM Label evolved since its inception?
Wow, this year it would have been 10 years since the beginning of MLM LABEL. I created the original brand alongside Fashion Agency at the time. It was originally a creative outlet and new challenge (I even coded the first website myself) with no career expectations. To this day, the brand has expanded to 150 Australians stockists, rolled out to the USA, Japan and Asia including numerous major department stores worldwide. Most importantly countless Media followers and loyal customers to the label.
Who is the MLM Label woman?
She is feminine, relaxed, enjoyable, sophisticated and savvy.
Which fashion icons have inspired your designs?
I have had many over the years, high-end feminine designers such as Chloe, Stella McCartney, Ulla Johnston to name a few. These days I love to see what is being worn on the streets; I love seeing what the style influencers creatively have to offer.
Tell us about your plans for our winter wardrobes. What inspired your collection and what can we expect to see trending this season?
I wanted to create a winter wardrobe, which was transparent to not only our winter season but also the northern hemispheres summer… Items, which can be layered, of natural fabrics to be thrown into a suitcase for those European breakaways but then styling over an affordable wool coat over the top in the Australian winter months.
Tell us about expanding into bridal.
The #MLMBRIDAL was created for the no fuss bride who can have a beautiful handmade gown at arms reach for a price no more than $500. The #mlmbride is a true reflection of MLM label and her followers.
What has been your biggest challenge as a businesswoman in retail and how have you overcome it?
Aside for having to wear several hats as business owner, creative director, a boss, a mentor, a full-time mother, the biggest challenge is listening out to our customer and providing the best suited design, concept or even colour. Providing the best possible service to each and every customer is not a challenge but a priority. I do work best under pressure but most importantly am lucky to not only have a great team behind the brand. Most of my decisions are made fast and can be spontaneous but I always make sure it feels right from the gut.
How do you rate the overall health of the industry and how can consumers better support Australian designers?
The industry is tough and always has been. I give my regard to anyone who has succeeded within the industry. I personally love supporting Australian designers myself; I understand the highs and lows it can take to push through the challenges business. A lot is said when you decide to buy from a small local and ethical business opposed to a money hungry monster.
What piece of advice do you deem most relevant to fledgling designers?
You need to be in it for the love, wear many different hats and understand all aspects of your business, includes the mundane things, which can matter the most!
Where do you go to recharge your design drive?
Time out is the most important thing for me, when I do get the chance to recharge, I either embrace some personal downtime or do something special with my beautiful little family
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