Fashion start-up ‘for women, by women’
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.
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.