Augustine designer Kelly Coe talks to Chelsey about her fashion label and being a woman in business with ambition to succeed in NZ & overseas
Tell us about the Augustine label, how it started and where you see thelabel going in the future.
Augustine is a NZ fashion label that celebrates the special occasions in every woman’s life. Our special occasion and luxe day wear pieces are colourful, unique, vibrant and full of personality. Augustine is a high-end fashion label at a very accessible price point which caters for woman from their 20s through to 50s.
I started the label along with my husband Nathan four years ago. I had worked in the fashion industry for four years and learnt the trade by doing and seeing. I saw a gap in the market for affordable yet unique special occasion wear and took the leap to start out on my own.
We begun by wholesaling to about 15 boutiques in NZ. Now, four years later have three of our own and wholesale to 30 retailers around NZ.
In the future I would like to look at expanding our wholesale business into the overseas market and also driving and growing our online presence to sit strongly alongside our bricks and mortar stores.
Who has impacted you most in your career and how?
My husband Nathan is the reason I went out on my own in the first place. He had run his own business for 10 years and without his push I would never have done it. He is the business knowledge behind the brand and pushes me to keep being innovative, proactive and creative.
What are you most proud of?
The fact that I am now designing collection number 14 amazes me whenI think how far we have come! Although I am proud of the brand, the thing that really makes me do a little skip is when I see woman wearingmy label. Whether that is at a wedding, a race event or just down thestreet, I still get the urge to run up to them and tell them how amazing they look and thank them for wearing my label so well!
What do you do in your spare time?
When I get some I will tell you! No really, I have two girls under 2 years old and a business so there isn’t a lot of ‘me’ time. But I love spendingtime with my family and taking them out to experience new things.Seeing the world through toddler eyes is very liberating. I also enjoy running, playing netball and of course being with friends and family,eating good food, drinking good wine…
If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you be? Oh that’s easy, somewhere sunny. Bali, Thailand, Barbados, I wouldn’tbe picky. A resort with amazing sunshine, beaches, pools and cocktails…Now I’m dreaming of a warm winter escape!
Who are your top three people (dead or alive) that you’d have at your dinner party?
Victoria Beckham - She is a one of my favourite style icons. I’d make her laugh, pick her brain on fashion and see if she would actually eat.
Princess Katherine - I am not even a fan of the royals. But she seems likea very lovely lady and from a completely selfish business perspective, if she would wear just one of my dresses
I could retire off the profits!!!
Myself at age 50 - Just so I can have a wee peak ahead to see how greatlife turns out! Either that, or me at age 16 so I can tell myself that there were a few things that were "great decisions" and some that I may want to rethink!
Who has been the biggest influence in your life to date?
Again it would be Nathan and my family. You can't achieve anything without a great support network and team behind you.
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