TALK BRANDS #3: CLEE CLOTHING
It's week 3 and the brands are still coming! If you've only just tuned in to this collective of posts, then I will get you up to speed real quick. The intention of this Talk Brands collective, is to give you a chance to get to know some of our UK home grown brands a little better. You're going to be able to find out how they got to where they are, what they've enjoyed about it, and also where their brand is going next. As well as getting up close and personal, this collective is helping any budding brand designers or individuals who may want to start their own brand in the future, get a little bit of advice from people who are actually doing it!
This week we're talking to Cleo Forstater, 20, from Clee Clothing based in London. Clee Clothing was originally brought to life in North West London back in 2009, so lets see what has been going in with the brand since then....
Where did Clee Clothing all begin and what made you want to run your own brand?
It started by accident in the sense that there was no planning that went into it.. I just started making t-shirts for myself, people started asking for them, so I started selling them... Then the name came when the 1 real decision was made, when my friend convinced me to make it into a real thing, so we came up with a name and the next day he made a facebook page for me, and a logo, and Clee Clothing was born.
I was 16 at the time, and I didn't have any real business experience. I have always had a love for design but the tshirts I was making didn't really reflect that anyway.
I had no idea what it meant to run a brand, or even what a brand was to be honest, so there was no real decision in that sense, I just learnt as I went along.
How would you describe Clee Clothing?
Clee Clothing – since ‘The Rebirth’ in February 2012 – reflects my honest and personal journey. The way a musician uses their music, the way an artist uses their art; this is my expression. All the designs, either explicitly or inexplicitly, echo a feeling or thought that I have held.
What is your favourite piece from your collection?
I really love the Heart Pocket design, but I would have to say the Aztec Bikini Top is my favourite. It is so versatile, I'm still discovering new ways of wearing it!
If you could sum up your brand in 3 words, what would they be?
For me personally: Honest, challenging, versatile
But I found this difficult, so I turned to twitter, and some results I got were: Creative, Passion, growth
What for you has been the highlight of running Clee Clothing to date?
The Rebirth event we put on to Relaunch the brand. The buzz, turnout and feedback was amazing, I didn't fully appreciate it at the time, but looking back at it makes me very happy.
What do you do outside Clee Clothing?
I do some part time work, but other than that I really try to focus on my health & happiness, because for a while Clee Clothing was my whole life, and it drained all the life out of me!
I will be starting Uni in September too, but I will keep on working on Clee Clothing.
What is your favourite clothing brand, other than your own?
Hmm, difficult question, there are so many inspirational ones. Probably For Love & Money!
Favourite brand of footwear?
I don't think I have a favourite, it might sound weird but I'm not that into fashion & labels.
What, in your opinion, is the best thing about running your own brand?
The people I get to meet through it, and also the space to express creativity. Actually, maybe the best thing for me is that it challenges me every single day, and forces me to grow in so many ways that I doubt I would have otherwise. It teaches me so much about myself and gives me a way to really document my development. Because I am running it, and I don't owe anything to anyone.. it's all on me, I'm the only one making myself do it.. I learn so much dedication, and how to push through even when things get hard and I really could just give up.
What advice would you give to someone who may want to start their own brand?
Probably learn a bit about what it takes rather than just jumping straight in like me! Planning really can make a huge difference, I've seen that through other brands. Don't be afraid to ask for help. A solid team is so valuable, I've also seen that through other brands.
Don't expect money straight away, as with anything you have to put in work before you can expect anything out of it. It is difficult, and it's definitely not for everyone, but there are can also be big rewards too.
Anything else you'd like to add?
You can pick something up from Clee Clothing at the online store here. Don't forget to head over to the Clee Clothing Facebook Page and get liking and follow them on Twitter @CleeClothing! If you havent already make sure you head over and like the Talk Casuals Facebook page for regular updates on posts and for info on the giveaway that will be released soon!