The ninth episode of Mastering Mediocrity premiered on 16 November 2020 featuring textile designer and Revive Act Founder Joanne Kulamannage. Here are a few of our memorable moments with Joanne on this episode of Mastering Mediocrity.
- Building your own clothing brand: Milestones and obstacles
The textbook definition of an entrepreneur is “someone who sets up their own business or enterprise by taking on risks in the hope of making a profit”. Yet, it is widely known that not everyone can be a “successful entrepreneur” in today’s competitive world. To narrow it down, starting up your own clothing brand in Sri Lanka comes with a lot of risk and obstacles. It takes a lot of hard work, perseverance, and most importantly, the support from your family and friends.
For Joanne, it was vital that she gained the necessary work experience prior to establishing her brand. The connections she made with many other individuals at her previous work places, continues to be much supportive for her present-day activities. Before she resigned, Joanne made sure that she had a plan of what her next step should be and her vision on how her brand is going to grow.
Her main objective was to design clothing that would let people be themselves – designs that would help create their own identity. They also discussed the role brand stories play when it comes to marketing and standing out from the rest of the industry.
As attractive as the pros and benefits of starting up your own brand can seem from the outside, there are a lot of behind-the-stitches obstacles that we often do not hear about. In this episode, Joanne spoke about some of the major issues she had to face, especially during her initial days, where she noticed major inadequacies in terms of work ethic and the inability to deliver as promised by her suppliers and other people.
A hurdle that most growing brands face on a constant basis is that they only produce a limited number of clothing per design, making some customers dissatisfied when they do not receive what they demand. Nevertheless, Joanne enjoys curating, designing, and playing her role in this industry no matter the cons.
- The tropical shirts and flip-flops obsession
For many millennials and Gen Z, fashion is a high priority. They like to wear only the latest fashion and “trending” clothing. With social media increasing its users every day, fashion trends don’t even last a few months. Every now and then we see a celebrity or influencer wearing a certain type of shirt or blouse which eventually paves the way for all their fans to follow their footsteps.
In the early 2010s, the then youth of Sri Lanka had a certain obsession for tropical shirts and Arugam Bay flip-flops. Although this was a phase that lasted only a few months, the demand for both the shirt and slipper was so high that they automatically became high-priced goods. This alerted the other producers of the fashion industry to begin manufacturing their versions of the same product. Both Joanne and Zeeshan agreed that when other manufacturers begin to do so, these clothing lost its value entirely, and that in itself is one of the major drawbacks of the fashion industry.
Revive Act is one of the brands which was showcased at Colombo Fashion Week 2020, and is definitely one-of-a-kind. This episode was distinct from our previous ones, as the duo sprinkled insightful information on the state of the industry, its consumers, and much more.
Episode transcribed by Amani Najumudeen
Watch Episode 9 of Mastering Mediocrity in its entirety here: