Fash­ion start-up ‘for women, by women’

The Myanmar Times - - The Pulse - RJ VOGT rj.vogt@mm­times.com

THEY wear their sweaters off the shoul­der, but there’s noth­ing too ca­sual about Jes­sica Dada and Nida Tay­lor’s new busi­ness.

The en­trepreneurs founded Her Alchemy, an on­line fash­ion com­mu­nity, on Au­gust 3, and two weeks into the busi­ness they’ve al­ready sold out of four de­signs as well as their ex­clu­sive col­lec­tion. Along with Thai busi­ness­woman Som Kritta, the trio of women have en­deav­oured to bring an af­ford­able, mod­ern chic to women in Myanmar.

“I’m glad peo­ple are con­nect­ing to our style,” Tay­lor told The Myanmar Times. “We wanted to start some­thing for women, by women.”

With a web­site launch date set for Septem­ber 1, Her Alchemy cur­rently runs through Face­book and In­sta­gram alone. Shop­pers browse im­ages of Dada and Tay­lor mod­el­ling var­i­ous pieces, such as the “9 to 5” (K21,000) work-ap­pro­pri­ate dress, or the bolder “All Eyes on Me” (K15,000) for a night out. Cus­tomers mes­sage the team with their or­der, and Tay­lor said de­liv­er­ies go out once a week.

“We lit­er­ally pick up money on de­liv­ery. It’s like take­out, but with clothes,” she laughed.

Her Alchemy aims to fit a gap in Myanmar’s fash­ion scene, pro­vid­ing the new and grow­ing mid­dle class with at­trac­tive de­signs that don’t break the bank. Women ea­ger to leave the htamein longyi be­hind might find their niche in the start-up, which com­bines Tay­lor’s Amer­i­can­ised fash­ion sense with Dada’s bor­nand-raised-in-Myanmar sen­si­bil­ity. Host­ing the op­er­a­tion on­line helps cut down on costs and en­able more fine-tuned an­a­lyt­ics: They can tell, by sales or­ders and Face­book shares, which styles to pro­duce more of in their next pro­duc­tion run, con­ducted in Bangkok fac­to­ries run by Kritta.

The busi­ness is one of many for Tay­lor, a for­mer Miss Myanmar who has modelled for mag­a­zines and pho­tog­ra­phers the world over. Since fo­cus­ing on busi­ness in early 2015, Tay­lor quickly made a name for her­self by build­ing out the Ves­tige brand, a part­ner­ship project be­tween her Ceiba Hold­ings and busi­ness­man Jay Thet’s Link 64, which owns Bal­ance Fit­ness and Bal­ance mag­a­zine.

Ves­tige has opened 11 stores around town, as well as a cafe and restau­rant. Be­tween that and her other com­pa­nies – which in­clude a graphic de­sign firm, a hos­tel restau­rant and a cus­tom uni­form store – you’d think Tay­lor might be too busy to launch an on­line start up.

That’s where co-founder Jes­sica Dada, a pro­fes­sional book trans­la­tor, em­cee and singer, comes in. Hav­ing trans­lated more than 100 books from English to Myanmar – us­ing the pen name Nat Thamee, mean­ing an­gel – Dada has an eye for qual­ity con­tent. She said Her Alchemy will post ar­ti­cles on busi­ness, lifestyle, fash­ion and re­la­tion­ships as the com­mu­nity grows. Some posts will be orig­i­nal, writ­ten by her and Tay­lor, while others might be re-posted from other blog­gers or out­lets. She even men­tioned an in­ter­est in trans­lat­ing her fa­ther’s books and shar­ing them on the site.

“I wanted to start this ... be­cause I had some time on my hands,” she said, can­didly. “I like fash­ion and have al­ways wanted to have my own cloth­ing line. There are thou­sands of on­line shops here [in Myanmar] but we haven’t seen any that ac­tu­ally has con­tent.”

Dada, too, has mod­el­ling ex­pe­ri­ence, and the pho­tos on the Her Alchemy pro­file show both founders loung­ing around Yan­gon in their own de­signs. To find out more, visit the page and check out their styles.

Pho­tos: Sup­plied

Jes­sica Dada, a book trans­la­tor, em­cee and singer, has paired with busi­ness­woman Nida Tay­lor to launch Her Alchemy.

Tay­lor, a for­mer Miss Myanmar, mod­els some of their ready-wear essen­tials.

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