Friday, June 19, 2009

The Genesis of Graey - Part 2

By early spring, I had five samples of tanks and tees and I decided to go to the Henri Bendel Open See. Here they are, reshot by my friend Ferris Vanderveer, hair by Summer Brown, makeup by Liz Marz (initially I was using very grainy photos that I had taken myself):

I got there pretty early but there were still many people in line in front of me. Eventually I got to meet a couple of the buyers but they were clearly not interested in my pieces. I knew it would be tough to get my pieces into stores so I decided to set up my own website with a store. I taught myself web design (and now I make websites for other people) and set up an online boutique.

Meanwhile, I had been compiling a short list of blogs that I thought would be interested in covering the line when I launched my site, and I e-mailed them. SusieBubble was one of the first people I talked to and as a champion of emerging designers, she quickly agreed to cover the line. I also got in touch with DailyCandy, who said they'd do a story in their Everywhere edition.

I launched the site in late June and SusieBubble covered it. I started getting a few inquiries from stylists and editors. Then DailyCandy covered it. That day, July 10, 2007, I got over 40,000 hits and many many orders. The hits and orders continued at a steady pace for about a month before slowing down. Boutique and department store buyers started contacting me, along with some other smaller blogs and magazines. I had appointments with Neiman Marcus and buyers from Japan. I thought that I had made it and decided to quit my job to focus on my line full-time.

I had worked for other fashion companies but I had never really been directly involved with the sales/PR side of things, so I was in for some surprises. I gradually learned that buyers like to vet the collection for a couple of seasons before making a buy. I also learned that when you're starting out, buyers will find every which reason for passing over your collection, even if there are customers out there who would be interested in buying the merchandise. I did find a few buyers who picked up the small collection of tees, and I set forward on expanding the collection for Spring 2008, which was showing in September.

Monday, June 8, 2009


I came back yesterday evening from my fifth year college reunion. It, like the past five years, went by very quickly. I felt a sense of nostalgia and a tinge of sadness. It didn't feel like five years had really gone by -- somehow I thought I would have more of my life figured out by five years after college.

It was great to see and party with old friends -- it's been a while since I let loose like that. I also met some new friends. The reunion reminded me that Harvard's greatest asset is its students. I miss them already.