What it takes to build a career in fashion
At VAMFF, I headed along to a talk presented by Alison Rice of Who What Wear (Group Publisher of Women’s Lifestyle, Allure Media) interviewing Co-Founder of The Daily Edited, Alyce Tran. I found this talk so interesting and it motivated me to work harder in my own life. Both of the women were so honest and I found the advice and knowledge they gave to be invaluable. I love The Daily Edited (as you can probably tell from my Instagram) and as a proud fellow Adelaidian, I want to share Alyce’s business story in the hopes that it inspires all of you.
The Daily Edited, co-founded by Alyce Tran and Tania Liu, is an Australian personalised leather brand that turns over an impressive 30 million dollars a year. But business was never a part of the plan for Alyce, who started her career as a lawyer. “I got a graduate job at one of Australia’s largest law firms,” she says. “I was quite unhappy but I didn’t know the difference from any other job – I just thought it was normal to hate your job.” But everything changed when she met another girl at her law firm. “She was really well dressed, I was well dressed. And we were like vibe…,” Alyce says. After chatting they found they shared quite a few interests, one being fashion, as well as a lack of enthusiasm for their jobs.
Alyce’s career tip: Don’t go on and on about how much you hate your job in front of your boss.
“That girl is Tania Liu, who is my cofounder of The Daily Edited,” Alyce says. “She’s actually based in China and manages our production and fulfilment centre over there.”
From chatting about their interests, the girls decided to launch a blog called The Daily Edited, which was a daily edit of the things that they were (and still are) into: fashion, lifestyle, food, etc. “We were constantly printing off things using the company printer (in colour) and pinning them up on walls making a whole moodboard, and then we were like why don’t we put this online? This was in 2011,” Alyce says.
Six months after that, Tania suggested that they launch a clothing line, “I was like, ‘that’s crazy’. But we did it anyway,” Alyce says. They launched a small clothing line as a side job, while still working full-time as lawyers. The girls found that it gave them something to look forward to and made their day job a little more bearable. For two years they kept at the clothing line and while they learnt a lot about running a business, it wasn’t making any money. “We never had huge financial goals for it, we didn’t have a business plan – we still don’t really have a business plan today. But it got to the point where it wasn’t fun.” The girls had grown a pretty reasonable Instagram following for the time so they decided to stop the clothing line and focus solely on the blog.
“In August 2014, I was promoted to senior associate at a law firm, I got a big pay rise – I was on a six figure salary – and I was like I made it! And I went into Louis Vuitton and I was like I actually can’t afford any of this stuff even though I’ve “made it”, which was really sad!” Alyce was set on getting a compendium and a pouch, “so I said to Tania, can you make me these things? And she was like the MOQ (minimum order quantity) for the factory for these items is 100 per unit…and so we decided to order three styles in three different colour ways,” Alyce says. “We had The Daily Edited as a platform already to sell them on and so I just took a dodgy photo of these accessories on a white piece of cardboard in my dining room, put it on Instagram and away we went, and we haven’t looked back….” Their first collection sold out in 10 days.
By establishing themselves online, and with the help of Instagram, they were able to reach a global market. “My third order was from Dubai,” Alyce says. “We have always been very international.” But like any start up, the beginning was rough. “The inventory was kept in the archive room of the law firm I was working at,” Alyce says. “Every night I would go through the orders that I got, take home those items, monogram them at home, pack them and then take them back to work and at lunch time walk down to the post office to lodge all the parcels myself.”
After a year of hustling this business on the side of their lawyer jobs, Tania and Alyce were finally able to give up their full-time jobs. “We realised we had a business when the business made more money than our salaries as lawyers,” Alyce says. “Our accountant said to us, ‘there’s no point working as lawyers because the money that you’re earning as a lawyer is just getting taxed way too much.”
Based in Sydney where their head office is, now every day is different for Alyce. She does the usual tasks expected of a Co-Founder, like emails and communicating with her team around the world but she also does customer service for an hour every day so she knows what the issues are. All of the creative output is also done by Alyce, in her words: “I am the social media team, mate”.
Alyce’s career tip: Always give 120%, it won’t go unnoticed even if you think it is.
The Daily Edited now has two stand alone stores and nine concessions in David Jones, which Alyce thinks is enough. The online store is still the majority of their business because of its reach, and Instagram and Facebook are still the biggest drivers of customers to their website.
The Daily Edited hit the personalisation trend at just the right time, before it had become commonplace in Australia. That with the combination of a very accessible price point has led to great success for the girls.
You can shop the entire collection at The Daily Edited website.
P.S. I bought this pink jewellery box, because how could I possibly resist?