Hey Sendler, Ep 8: Spinning sustainable yarns with knitwear brand SSKEIN
For our last episode of 2020, Jenn had on Elisa Yip of the knitwear brand SSKEIN. Utilizing the sustainable fur of the noble alpaca, she has been able to create a longer lasting and more eco-friendly collection of knits. Also, they are very warm.
In this episode, Elisa talks about her long history in the fashion industry, her experience of pivoting to start a business during a pandemic, and all the special deets on lovely alpaca fur.
You can watch the whole thing or read the full transcript below.
- Website: SSKEIN.co
- SSKEIN Instagram: @sskein.co
- Elisa's Instagram: @e_for_elisa
- Facebook: @sskein.co
Spinning sustainable yarns with knitwear brand SSKEIN, a chat with Elisa Yip (full transcript)
Jenn: Hi, everyone. Welcome to our last Hey Sendler of 2020. I'm Jenn, Community Manager for Sendle.
Very excited to be chatting today with Elisa Yip, the founder and creative director of drum roll... Please, do you mind pronouncing it for us so that we all know how to say it correctly.
Elisa: It's pronounced skān.
Thank you. Which is the luxury sustainable line based here out of Seattle.
Before I get started, I would like to acknowledge that we're on the traditional land of the first people here in Seattle. We recognize the for their continuing connection to land waters and culture. We pay our respects to elders past, present and emerging.
With that, hi Elisa, thank you so much for joining us. Welcome to Hey Sendler, happy launch week, happy, kind of shipping out first presale orders week.
I want to kind of jump right in, but I'd love for you to take a second to just tell everyone a little bit about yourself and then, we'll kind of hop right into questions.
Elisa: Hi everybody. Nice to see you guys. it's my first webinar, so I'm a little nervous. I have a really big personality, so I want to get fun.
So I'm from New York originally, born and raised.
I went to school at fashion Institute of technology many years ago. I started my career in New York city for a wholesaler, Liz Clayborne, a brand that still exists.
I basically started my career in knitwear and I never really had thought that there was a career for that category. But I kind of fell into it.
And let me just tell you, I, I just fell in love and I was an assistant designer and I've kind of worked my way through.
And so I was a designer and then they sent me over to Hong Kong for 18 months as an ex-pat. I was working there and that doesn't really happen in the industry.
No one has that, you know, a budget to send. It was me and two other, two other people over to Hong Kong for 18 months and lived there and, and, basically work with the factory really closely and, and help advocate the brand.
And then after 18 months I moved back and I was like, 'Oh, I don't want my job'. And then like, Oh, you can look for a husband, so I met Peter, my husband in New York. And I didn't quit my job to look for him just saying, you know, it fell into my lap and then we dated for a, and then we got married and he is from Seattle originally.
Jenn: Okay. Yeah.
Elisa: And he's like, it was 2008 and economy because remember it was awful and everyone's yeah. So we're like, you know what, we're going to hop in our car, drive cross country and land in Seattle. And that was for 12 years.
Jenn: Yeah. Right. Yeah.
Elisa: And here I've been, my first job in Seattle was Nordstrom and that was the only place I wanted to work at.
And because they're like the only place that don't sell anorexic raincoats and they actually have fashion.
So I was really excited to, you know, land my first job as an, cold weather accessories designer, which actually helped a lot. I was like, Oh no, no, that's not really my, my, my niche. My niche was more women's wear, but they wanted someone with a knitwear background.
Right. So I had it and it was kind of my way to get into Nordstrom. And then two years in that role, I moved into women's wear. And it was, I think it was the epitome of all knitwear designers.
I was designing cashmere for their private label brand. And I had the opportunity to work with Italian mills. I went to Italy also to, visit, a lot of the, yarn shows and stuff. It was like the best, best experience I had.
So that was 11 years at Nordstrom. Wow. That's a long, long, long, work experience, long career.
Jenn: That's so exciting. I love that.
Yeah, and it really helps kind of tell the story of sort of how you got to where you are right now.
So I guess that sounds like sort of where you sort of found this love for it, but can you tell us where the inspiration for your line came from and when you sort of took it from idea to, like concept like to a line you were ready to launch.
I was introduced to alpaca a while ago and, as I did more research about it, it, it kind of like made sense to me of how sustainable it was.
And this was probably like nine years ago where I don't think that conversation even started in fashion. I guess it was, it was, I saw the tip, like it was just starting to, but I didn't think the Americans weren't ready for it.
They knew that there was like issue of climates and stuff like that, but no one really took the, took the initiative to start working with eco-friendly materials. and as I, again, do more research, I was like, wow, this yarn is, incredible.
This animal is incredible. So I was like, you know, I, I wanted to ask, I said to myself, one day I would like to start an alpaca line.
That's been for a long time. And then, you know, pandemic hit and I lost my job.
And I was like, okay, what I'm gonna do now, it's really hard to find a job, but I do because it's very specialized.
So I'm like, you know what I think it might be a good start to start this brand, especially with, you know, we're talking about global warming, we talk about climate change and this and that.
I'm like, if I'm going to put out more stuff on a planet, it needs to be responsible. It needs to be intentional. It needs to be most importantly sustainable.
So that is the brand and mission that is not as the key to everything we do. I mean, we're not a hundred percent there where I want to be. Right.
It's just going to take time. And obviously working with Sendle is part of it.
So yeah. So I get there eventually where we want to be. And, it's going to take some time. So one step at a time.
Jenn: Yeah but being intentional about kind of wanting to take those steps is really exciting.
And I think really shows kind of what your mission and mission and vision is for the company. So when you were like, okay, did you always want to start with sort of sweaters where you, the jumpsuit is phenomenal.
And so I'm wondering if you could just tell us, you know, like what, what was the first thing that you thought were you like, this has to be in the line or, you know, maybe this is something that we think would be cool, but we don't know if we can do it yet or kind of what was like aspirational and what was like, must have we're starting it with this.
Elisa: Okay. So because of an new brand and, you know, it's very costly to start a brand, but you know, there are ways around it, especially nowadays.
So I knew I wanted to start knitwear for sure. Cause that was my specialty. And I know it like the back of my hand and I know the ins and outs of the business.
Now knitwear is naturally, it's sustainable already. Just no one calls it out. Right. You know, we were talking about sustainable is kind of like, you know, you can say people are using it as a marketing play, but you do have to point it out because it matters.
And it, I mean, these wares exist for a long time for a hundred centuries, thousands of years. So I'm just pointing it out that, so basically knitwear, I'm not talking about taking needles and like knitting with a skein and I'm talking about like, there's actually machines and machines.
What happens is you lay the yarn untold over the needles and it starts knitting. Right.
And it knits to the shape of the garments. Right. Versus if you had a jacket or a pair of pants, which is made out of woven fabric and it comes in a roll, lay it out, put the pattern on top and you cut around it.
And then what happens to the scrap of fabric scrap. Yeah. Right.
It goes in the garbage in a landfill. So it has less waste almost to creating the garment. Yeah. Yeah. That's why I chose one of the reasons why I chose a knitwear was also because its sustainability.
Jenn: And so when you started were like, where did the jumpsuit idea come from No, no, no.
Elisa: I can build a collection as big as I want or small as I want because we're in, we're just starting out.
I wanted to make sure I had four to five key items are, must have an a woman's closet with the mind of working at home, right.
Now, it's not loungewear it's, it's it's stuff I want to wear when I'm working from home, because our lifestyle changed the way we dress changed because of COVID. Now when COVID lifts, style is going to start, you know, changing, you know, maybe more structured pieces.
Yeah. Well, it really depends, what a life is going to be like, cause you want to be versatile. We want to be something that, you know, a woman wants to wear now.
So the jumpsuit, okay. Here's the jumpsuit. Everyone's really excited about that because it's not something you really see in a sweater necessarily, there are some out there, but mine is the one I have is built with a shawl neck here.
You guys have browser open, go to sskein.co and look for jumpsuit. Okay. Now the jumpsuit is designed where there's a tall, standup collar. It's a wrap, right.
And then obviously there's a jogger pant leg. Now there's cuffs on the, there's a toe rib on a cuff and on the ankle. So that if you're a shorter, taller, if it'll fit you because, sweaters are, you can't hem a sweater, right.
As you can, hem a pant right. Woven, excuse me. And then jumpsuits are, you know, really it's kind of hard to fit. So then the reason why I put the cuffs on the rib cuffs on there, so that it goes to a lot more, women to wear different sizes, different shapes.
And, and then what's so awesome about the, piece is also, you can pull it down and make it more of like, go to a dinner party. when you pull it down, you see your clavicle which is the most sexiest part of a woman because you never gain weight.
It's true. Everyone's clavicle. You can see. And do you see the bone and never gets fat, but yes, that is the most versatile piece, most exciting piece.
I think a lot of people, you know, obviously thirties, forties, love that piece and you can wear it. I call it from desk to dinner because desk you wear it like clothes and then you just pull it open. Yes.
Jenn: Very chic. I love it.
Can you tell us a little bit about sort of, sourcing suppliers and what that process looked like for you, especially kind of launching in COVID during the pandemic I think a lot of people had issues with their supply chain in the beginning, or, you know, they were just kind of, struggling with sort of getting things, in the timelines that they were used to.
So if you... thanks, Kathy. Nice to see you... So if you're, you know, starting aligning COVID, your baseline is different. So what did that look like, for you or what was your experience kind of starting, with your suppliers in the middle of a pandemic .
Elisa: Right. Oh, there's so many. I felt like at that time there was so many things against me, you know, from finance to, you know, sourcing and yeah, just basically starting a company, but I took it one step at a time.
The biggest problem with a fashion brand is, especially when you're just starting is the minimum, right. Now, you know, some factories can quote 300, 100, whatever you want.
It could be as low as you can because you don't want to own up all this inventory and not be able to sell it. Right. So when I look for a factory, I knew I wanted to work with alpaca and alpaca naturally is from South America.
And Peru was one of the, you know, supplier of, alpaca. And I was sourcing for some factories and I found one and I start, you know, inquiring about minimums and all stuff, all that stuff.
So then right before pandemic, they, had said 300 pieces and I'm like, Oh my God, there's no way in hell. I would do 300 pieces per style. That's a lot. Especially when you're starting out.
Jenn: Yeah. Right.
Elisa: And then, and then being in the industry, I know that after COVID a lot of ... a lot of customers, their customers had to cancel orders. Right. So I went back and asked again,
Elisa: Blessing in disguise, you know, for some people it's good for some others, I'm talking about the pandemic.
And, so it kind of worked out for me and took that advantage and, worked out, to them and say, Hey, I promised X amount. If you can do this. Yeah. Let's, let's, let's do this.
So then, I knew I wanted to work with them, but I asked a lot of questions, you know, cause I knew what I was getting into and I never used alpaca professionally.
Like I touched it. I've never worn it. I've, I've seen it in a garment, but I've never like, do you know how it performs So it's and I was like, because of pandemic, maybe there was like, you know, factories were shut down, but they were still communicating.
They couldn't start until May. And, and that, and you know, I didn't have any yarns in front of me.
Like it was all like, I'm going to take the bet on myself. And I have good faith in them. And then, and then once I started, you know, inquiring more about materials and I was like, okay, this is pretty legit. Right.
They, they, they have a parent company that, does source the yarn. I mean, it's, excuse me, they source the fiber from herders and they spin it. Right. And then they have a factory for sweater factory for a scarves and a factory for coats.
So the materials, they all go buy from the same comp... from their parents, a yarn company. So that, you know, it's more seamless when you, when you, when you have a small company, you want to be... work with the minimum.
So then I have to use stock service. So because they are the same company, the yarn and the factory, you know, we can grow seamlessly together.
And if I have to go, you know, get a little more yarn, cause I ran out of to, they can just go over and get it versus having to, you know, work with another company. It's, it's, it's kind of vertical, but not really because they don't spin the yarn in the same facility. All right. But they're the same company.
Jenn: Yeah. Ensure like kind of, consistency across the board. Right. So you can sort of make sure that the jumpsuit is the same as the sweater, as the hat, as the scarf.
Elisa: If you're sourcing five ones from different farm mills closing with the same. Yeah. So we wanted to make sure like, Oh, we call it a capsule collection.
There's a sweater top a body suit, which I'm wearing , no clavicle, but there is a jumpsuit and a cardigan, there was a pant but the pant dropped. They kind of went by, by so you know, you just have to, and then they all have to seamlessly go together because you can actually wear all of them. All of them at once . Yes.
Everything. Yes. That was the idea capsule. You can actually have all these pieces, you already have your wardrobe or you can break them apart.
And we're in with all the other pieces you already have in the closet. That was, that was the idea behind the concept.
Jenn: Did you drop the pant Because you had the jumpsuit?
Elisa: I dropped the pant because it didn't turn out the way I wanted to.
And I was like, instead of putting, you know, like all that effort into it and then pants are hard to sell. I was like, I felt more, the jumpsuit was more special.
Jenn: That totally makes sense. It's a little bit like picking a favorite child to pick a favorite piece from the collection.
Elisa: Yeah, I was kind of heartbroken, but you know what, it's okay. I'm going to, I, to be honest, like I want SSKEIN to be high quality, timeless, modern knitwear that women feel comfortable wearing and can wear it for a long time and have it in a closet, kind of like a collectible.
And the other part of that sustainability is sustainability message is that we want to make better garments.
So, you know, you buy better and you can wear it longer. That was part of our other message about sustainability is to make better garments. We don't want to make something that will fall apart.
So if I don't believe in the pant and the quality is not good, I'm going to nix it out until I get it perfect. Get it where you want it. So everything we have is, you know, I put my heart and soul in it.
It's, it's, all the finishing and all the quality is excellent. And like the faculty that we use work with designers in Europe and, you know, I have to brag about them. They work with Prada and ... . So they're small.
Right. They're much smaller. So then they are refined in detail and the quality is impeccable. Like when I first got my first sample after sketching, I literally opened, I was like, I don't know what to expect. I'm like, you know, I remember I was like, you know, a risk it's either this or not.
So the sample will tell me it actually have a business or a product.
I didn't even have a name of the company yet. I didn't have nothing, no website. I just like, I have to have a product as it, I opened a box and I was crying because I was so happy.
It came out better than I expected . That's amazing. You know, I might look at some detail this way, but the, the, the part development there, the factory, merchandiser was like, I can do it better.
I can improve this quality by doing it this way. So have you, for instance, like, this turtleneck, right There's a center backseam. Okay.
And usually when you seam something together, you have extra fabric called seam allowance. For sweater, just the same, right. You have a little bit seam allowance, but what it did in a set of back is that the hand graft, right. And that's an expensive finish.
What they do is they take a needle with the yarn and it take two fabrics and sit next to each other. Right. And it took the edge and the use your tip, the needle and yarn. And so it sealed up.
So then when you flip it up, there's no seam allowance showing . So it doesn't look like you're wearing it incorrectly. Right. So it's seamless. And I think that people don't notice, but yeah.
Jenn: That's amazing, all these cool details. But it makes it feel special. And I think, speaks to sort of, it, I feel like it's a big deal to kind of call yourself a luxury line and to recognize that you have a luxury product.
And so what was sort of your, I feel like some of it's kind of wanting to be sustainable and, making sure that you're making products to last, but where was the thought process for that and sort of finding the sweet spot between like,
'yes, I know people are going to want this, do we want to make it super affordable? Do we want to make it, kind of more of a luxury product?'
Like how did you, find that happy medium, where you were like, I believe in this product, this is something that I want to put out there and, you know, say is mine, and like explain to people why it is worth what it is.
Elisa: Okay. So, initially, yes, I wanted a luxury brand.
Luxury doesn't, it sounds expensive. I don't want to be inaccessible, but you know, you know, you have to understand what you pay for. It was like, what you get is what you pay for. Right.
So this is, you know, and I want to tell people that it's an investment piece and then there's an investment math. There's math that you can actually figure that out.
So let's say if you buy something that's $500, you know, you wore it once, okay, shame on you. You spent $500 on that one garment.
But if you find a timeless piece that you can wear for a long time, you'll wear the cost of wear is much lower. So you wear a hundred times, it's $5 a wear—nothing. Right.
But if you go buy a $50 sweater, you might wear 10 times. That's $5 too, but then it might fall apart. It might, it might pill. It might get ratty.
So, the reason why I wanted to put some of the most beautiful things out there was, you know, make sure that it's, high-end, it's finished in high quality and then you're going to have to pay for it and I can make something cheap and really well-made or inexpensive.
And now, you know, I don't have a business.
Jenn: Right. That's not sustainable either. Right.
Elisa: At all. You can't sustain a business like that. Right. Okay. and then I lost my train of thought.
Oh right I want to make sure I was an, I want it to be an online business. Right. wasn't looking to a brick and mortar, you know, maybe some wholesale, right.
Because if I was true wholesale, my retail would be even higher. Right. I'm using why I want to do online is that I can maintain my prices comparable to the brands I want to sit with. Right. Right. So it is because I'm not, you know, someone that, a brand that people know yet.
So the pricing is a bit under, from other brands that I compare myself kind of aspirational brands. Right.
So, and I want to make it, accessible to a, to a point where, you know, the fashion savvy person would understand yep, you're getting quality for the price you're paying. Right.
So now let me explain. Also, there is a presale model, also a, is it, you know, cause I feel like sustainability is not just about sourcing the materials.
It's sustaining that business as well. Now a traditional fashion brand would put in their own money for design production and so forth and hoping someone from hosting, somebody's going to buy it.
Well, we're doing the reverse, right. We're doing a presale model. And what happens is we launched the brand and we launched a collection. We give, customers two weeks to purchase the collection.
And with that we know on, on demand, how many pieces, we would basically have a calculated number of how many to produce. Right.
And they also get a 20% discount kind of like, and getting some kind of incentives to kind of buy it early. Right.
Because like, if I don't have a calculated number, the amount of, items I produce will go in a landfill that doesn't sell. So this is all calculated . Right. And I know why I'm getting into. And yeah.
So it really helps sustain a business and sustain being sustainable, and being good to the earth, you know.
Jenn: Yeah. I feel like it's a lot of putting your money where your mouth is kind of like, especially in this sort of society that we live in, where we want things so quickly and we need, you know, like instant gratification,
Elisa: So slow down.
Jenn: Exactly. But like, okay, yes. I'm going to treat myself, I'm going to buy this thing.
That's beautiful. That's like an investment, but as accessible, but also like I'm going to have to wait for it. Like, yeah, I'm going to cherish it when it comes. But I really had to like wait for this moment, and so...
Elisa: So we have our hats and scarves that production came, and I started delivering them like Santa Claus. Right.
Christmas came early and it's to see the reaction, we got customers, how excited they were to get his hat, even like, you know, and you're like, Oh my God, it's the perfect time for this, this hat or scarf because it's been so cold. So...
Jenn: And it's waterproof, right Like the outside. Yes.
Elisa: So, alpaca the animal is indigenous to Peru and these relatives, most of them. Right. And, it gets really harsh weather. So they, have to live in that climate.
So what did it do? Like their fur their coat sheds water and because each fiber is also hollow and so traps heat and wicks the water.
It's silkier. It is warmer and finer than cashmere.
Now, if you wear a cashmere, now I know cashmere, cause I've done cashmere all the time. You wear cashmere, you walk out a city in Seattle, just like Seattle or wherever you are. It rains.
It's a soggy mess right now. And it was raining hard. The last few days I took my beanie. I went out and I was like, test it.
You just shake it off. And it's fine. It's fine. I don't know why everyone was not using alpaca. Everyone should start using alpaca.
Jenn: What did it feel like when you got your first order from someone who you didn't know at all?
Elisa: Wow. Which one do you remember It was at a trunk show.
It was a lot fun, but website wasn't even ready yet. I was doing like manually entering everything. what I didn't know was a lady at the trunk show and she bought a hat. Yes. It was amazing.
There was a lot going on. I really appreciate that sale. But I was, it was so much going on because I didn't know what to expect. I was one man show. I was trying to talk to my friend.
And so I did remember the first sale for my friend. Yes. Her name is Carol. I, I bawled. I said, you know, that you're the first, because you're about to become the first customer.
She goes, Really? And then we were just both sitting there crying because we both worked at Nordstrom together. Okay. She knows, you know what It was like all the brands.
So she was like feeling it for me, for sure.
Jenn: Okay. So I don't know if everyone knows, but Elisa is not just the founder and creative director of her line, but she's also an influencer.
Elisa: Oh my God.
Jenn: This is how I found Elisa is that, because of Sendle Zero Zero campaign where we're doing zero surcharges and zero emissions for the holidays, which is really exciting.
But for my role as our community manager, I was reaching out to some influencers kind of locally and nationally to see if there were folks who are interested in helping us promote the campaign.
And I found Elisa cause she's local. And I was like, Oh my gosh, I love her style. She's so chic. This is amazing. but then also, Oh my gosh, she's launching this like line, right now.
And so it felt like the perfect opportunity to reach out. and so that's kind of how we started talking, but I'm curious to know sort of how you married sort of being an influencer with launching a line.
Has it helped, do you feel like there's a difference sort of the work that you're doing or, kind of how are you doing both or do they not impact one another at all?
Elisa: Oh my god, they totally do. It's like a full circle.
Like I never though I would be in a fashion blogger or I used to make fun of them, you know, I was at Nordstrom and I'm like, I need something more challenging, something like creative and ... yeah, I need something creative to do that, that it was in my own terms.
So I started a blog four years ago. I, you know, I have a small but mighty following and, and and I learned how to do a lot of, learned a lot of skills that I apply to my business right now.
Such as creating your website. I didn't want to do that. You know, I still don't know how to do that, but I was playing with, I knew how to play with templates and like what, all the words, SEO and all that stuff.
And, and then I apply that when I use Shopify as a platform for my eCommerce and I built a site in 48 hours.
And if I didn't have that experience, I would say, yeah, I, and the photography art direction is me all me. Girl, you know, you got a bootstrap, you first start is like, you don't get money.
So I was, I was being really scrappy, whatever. I knew how to do, I did it myself, like art direction with the photography, the photographer I found on Instagram when I was a blogger, she followed me.
That's how that kind of came full circle. Like, when, when the collection launch, I got all my Seattle blogger friends, we, we rented a studio for four hours. We shot like crazy to get content.
Cause you know, when you and I had to like build that, you know, energy and feel that excitement.
Oh, absolutely. And like, you know, blogging helped me find you. Yeah. And then like married SSKEIN and blogging together. And I'm like working on two it accounts constantly.
And it's, it's really helped a lot. And I would say, yeah, I have more of a head start having a small following, starting from scratch. You know, people are already like, Oh my God, what is Elisa doing the last few months Let's check it out.
And then kind of, kind of built a following for SSKEIN as well. So, it's been nothing but positive.
Jenn: That's awesome. So like a good experience to marry both. I want to leave some time for questions if people have them.
And I think we got some from, some people who registered as well, but I have one more question and, just wanted to see if you can tell us kind of what we can expect to see next from SSKEIN?
And like, when's the next collection or, you know, what, what do you have in the works?
Elisa: Well, geez, so much I get so excited. Okay.
So the capsule collection is we designed it so that you can build on it. Right. They're going to be some pieces that are best sellers that are probably going to carry forward to next year with refresh of colors.
Okay. Because you know, they're, they're, they're, they're still a ways that you can still, it will still be, I don't want to say on trend, but still be relevant.
And then we're going to start layering pieces, maybe some chunkier sweaters that we don't have yet.
Peru is known for ponchos. We're not doing quite a poncho, but we're doing a modern version of it. And, probably, some fine gauge, more transitional pieces so that you can wear it between summer and fall.
We might throw in some home accessories, like a throw that probably would be all collection on there as replenishment.
Cause you know, people like to buy them for like gifts, a house warming gifts. we also, we talked about menswear. We're not sure yet, we'll see how the season goes, but we are, we're gonna definitely just work with fall and winter.
Okay. So as a seasonal business, like spring and summer, I think the last thing you want to do is put on a sweater. Right. Right. There is sweaters out there.
If that means I have to switch the yarn probably to more like a cotton or linen, which is, you know, it's, you know, Peru has beautiful cotton as well, but you know, I'd rather put all my energy in the sweater season and then we might have, we've talked about, a giveaway, like a charity campaign.
That's in the talks, but it takes more people to work on that. So that's coming probably sometime in the winter next year. So I know we're still in winter now. I'm like, have to think ahead that far.
Jenn: Yeah. You have to plan, you know, at least six months out for things.
And especially if you're trying to do capsule collections and pre-sales, so are you hoping to continue the presale model, as the line continues?
Elisa: Yes. And I feel like, that has been working really well for us. and we're going to definitely going to continue every time we launch a collection, we will, do pre-sell first. Okay. And, yeah, so, so it's, it's proof of concept and it's been working.
Jenn: That's awesome. Okay.
Everyone who's here. If you have questions, feel free to pop them in the chat. We did get one question, from someone who registered.
And so their question was, how do you adjust personally and prepare for the mental state for launching a brand in a pandemic with so much volatility?
Elisa: I think is so hard to plan anything like a week or two weeks out.
So, it's, it's, I've been just taking it each day at a time. And I have a really, really, my support group. My, my husband, he's been really supportive the entire time. Like, you know, he's very visionary and strategic.
So a lot of the, a lot of the ideas of bigger picture thing came from him. And, funny enough, we were like, you never want to work with your significant other cause they make it or break it, but no, this has made us stronger.
And having him as a soundboard, like really helped me get through the day to day because, you know, I have someone to talk to and ask and like someone that's very smart and intelligent and opinionated it's really helped a lot.
And I'd have to say like, people called me crazy, like starting being luxury when everyone's losing their jobs, like 40 million, including, including myself. Right.
And pandemic, you know, I was trying to like, see how I can pivot to something that comes out positive for me and hopefully for everybody with SSKEIN in the closet. So, yes, effing scary.
But, so I, I felt like, you know, if I can make it through pandemic while this stuff is over, can you imagine how great it will be Right. So, so far we've had success. So you take out the COVID,
I think we'll be fine. We'll be great. And I can't wait to see it work.
Jenn: That's awesome. All right. If anyone who's here has any questions. You're welcome to pop it in the chat, or if you're feeling saucy and you want to say hello, feel free to hop on your camera and...
Elisa: Ask me anything. I'm an open book.
Jenn: I love it. can you tell us, Oh, let me see. No, go for it. Okay.
I'm just going to keep talking, but like I said, if anyone has questions, feel free to pop them in the chat. Let me make sure I didn't miss anything else from folks.
Elisa: 'What are some of your favorite other favorite brands?' Oh, yeah. Trang.
Jenn: Okay. Yeah. Hi Trang.
Elisa: My other favorite brands are Lauren Manoogian and I hope I'm saying her name right. And she, she does something similar like I do. And wow. She does it more of like, her aesthetic is incredible.
She's a Brooklyn designer. She's had this business for a long time, longer than me, of course. And then, her aesthetic is beautiful if you ever go to her website.
And I kind of like aspire to be like her, but, well, our my aesthetic is definitely more, I say I have a little more color in my collections though.
Yeah, that's, that's definitely one of the designers, one of the brands I like, personally, I like to mix, you know, high-end and more accessible brands and mix them together, for example, like, where, something like Uniclo, some of, you know, very, basic brands and then I'll wear it with, I don't know, pair of denim and, and then like a blazer or something like that.
So I mix like a high-end and you know, more affordable pieces together. what else do I like I do also like, Vanessa Bruno, Sonia Rykiel, those guys are great. And Missoni for knitwear.
Jenn: I noticed the other day that you had a bunch of, kind of your favorite small businesses, posted on Instagram.
And so I'm wondering if you can talk a little bit about ways that you're planning to support small businesses this holiday season, especially with the pandemic.
Elisa: Yes. It's just sad to see how many small businesses have to close down, whether it's a restaurant or, you know, the lady who does my nails, you know, or, or just, you know, little shops, you know, just seeing them because I've been talking to retailers a lot and I see how nervous they are into investing into a new brand, because they're not going to know what their budget's going to be like the next week or next month.
Right. So I've been kind of keeping in touch with them and kind of listening to what's going on.
And it's scary. It's, you know, whether they survive or not really depends on this holiday, cause holiday shopping is their Superbowl, right It's like it's make or break.
And especially you throw a COVID pandemic into it. It's really tough. And they had some, like, you know, can't open new doors and a lot of them have to pivot into online, online, they have to create a site to shop and they didn't have that before.
So, so being a small business owner myself, I'm like, you know what, I'm going to make a preference to try to, to shop small and shop local that I can and give back to the community so we can thrive together. Yeah.
And, you know, those big box and Amazon, those guys can... So please shop local shops for when you can, and it really helps. Even a gift card, you know .
Jenn: So we have a special discount for folks who registered for the webinar and who are here.
So if you are interested in picking up something from Elisa's collection, you can use the code SENDLE for 10% off through the rest of the month, which is very exciting. say it again...
Elisa: All caps, SENDLE, all caps.
Jenn: Can you tell everyone where they can find you... oh look, can you show us what you're holding?
Elisa: These are really readily available when you make a purchase for a hat.
This is our ribbed beanie. Okay. So, you can find at sskein.co. If you want the, ribbed beanie, it is currently available. It comes in four colors, oatmeal, green envy, which everyone loves.
Cause it reminds of Marni. Who's also my other favorite designer.
Like this is really dark green. That's almost... there's a gray, right. And of course, black, black always sells.
Now these are gender neutral. My husband approved of these. He loves them. It's so warm, probably sweating if you actually were in the indoors.
It's great because the rib actually gives it, it gives back, right. It bounces back. So then you always feel like it's snug, right It's like an alpaca giving you a kiss on the forehead.
And there's a little bit of extra room here, so you can actually pull it down farther or fold a fold higher to adjust your fit. And, it's great. It's $95.
The Sendle discount is only for clothing, not... okay, good. Sorry. My bad.
Jenn: Everyone get the jumpsuit.
Elisa: And then there's scarves. The matching scarves. Beautiful hat. Yes.
These are great for Christmas and gift giving. And, you can get them as soon as you place an order. Oh, I want to give you a little bit like Sendle surprise for our viewers. Okay.
So now I haven't posted this online yet, but hold on. It's like a magic show. Okay. So there's these three scarfs that aren't going to be on sale next week, but I'll give you a little preview cause no one knows about it yet.
So it's a big giant, one of those like shawls. Oh yes. They're great for like, you know, when you go on a plane, when it gets cold or big and wide, you can cover yourself where you can like, you know, wrap it around a few times to stay warm all a hundred percent baby alpaca. This is eco.
Why is it eco?
Because it's all natural color fibers from the alpaca. Alpaca comes in 20 to 25 shades. Once they shave them, right, they sort them out in colors and there's no harmful dyes in them.
Wow. Again, being sustainable part of our brand mission to make sure we have those type of products.
So going forward, we're going to try to use natural colors when it comes in this like Toki gray comes in like camel color.
And this is my favorite what I call a statement scarf is the pattern, big, giant macro plaid. Right. And yeah, it's gorgeous. Yeah. You want to be fancy. You can layer too. Yeah.
Elisa: So is this is coming soon. So say stay tuned for that. The Sendle discount is good for another month. Okay. Perfect. This comes out and you guys can purchase it. Yeah.
Jenn: And what, where can everyone find you?
Elisa: Oh yes. Okay. So for Instagram, for the brand is, @sskein.co like our website. And then you can find my blogger self at... so embarrassing...
Jenn: Not embarrassing. You will feel very inspired to put on lipstick and make yourself look like you aren't wearing sweatpants.
Elisa: So, if you find me funny and cute, you can follow me @e_for_elisa. Should find some more followers.
It's a personal blogger account. I mean, I guess it's a blogger account. You can find all my design process. I talk about my work every day. You don't get bored of it, but if you're not entrepreneurial or you're wondering what the hell I'm doing, you can follow and watch my stories.
I promise it will be fun. And then the brand is more like, you know, the day to day product.
Jenn: Thank you so much for joining us today. This was lovely. You did your first webinar. It was fun. It was great. I love it.
Elisa: On the worldwide web and it can track anything I say.
Jenn: So this is our last Hey Sendler for the year. We will be back next year. We hope everyone has a lovely, safe, holiday season.
And we can't wait to see what everyone's doing. we'll pop all of Elisa's information, in the, on the Hey Sendler page.
And, when we upload everything to the blog, again, you can use the code SENDLE all caps for 10% off the clothing and if you have questions, feel free to reach out to Elisa on Instagram, through her businesses line, or through her influencer account.
Thank you. If you have any last words or anything, feel free, but otherwise this was a delight. Thank you. No problem.
All right, everyone have a good day. Thank you so much. We will see you next time. Happy holidays.