In this instalment of Fashion Equipped’s Q&A interview series, we caught up with Tash Sefton – a Sydney based mother-of-2, whose professional career has centred around the fashion industry for over 20 years. Tash’s extensive experience has seen her hold senior buying and product development roles for some of Australia’s most successful fashion retailers. Her unique perspective on style has been influenced by years of dissecting global trends for the mass market.
After deciding to take the leap from the corporate fashion space 10 years ago, Tash developed and launched a unique first-to-market global retail destination with her friend Elle Ferguson. Revolutionary at the time, They All Hate Us soon became a benchmark for how online retailing would leverage social media in the years to come.
Tash has become known as one of Australia’s most stylish women, and her social media channels are followed and admired by women all over the world.
With the launch of her latest venture, consulting business Where Did Your Style Go?, Tash’s vision is to share knowledge gathered throughout her career. The business is aimed at assisting women and men look and feel their best.
1. Share a little bit about YOU, the ‘serial entrepreneur’ – your background, your passion.
I’ve become somewhat known as a ‘serial entrepreneur’, but I don’t see myself as one! Because I was a Head Buyer for so long, I got very good at researching and predicting change. I would spend 3 months of the year travelling around the world looking everywhere for inspiration and would need to be ahead of the curve of change. So this is how I just view everything now – I see opportunities ahead of time, and act on them.
2. How hard was it to take the leap from the corporate fashion space to starting your own venture, They All Hate Us with Elle Ferguson?
It was really terrifying! Mainly because I had my dream job and was doing everything I had worked so hard to build. Then our business idea was just very good timing – and it went viral globally overnight, so leaving my ‘real job’ was a big decision. I knew I had the skills because I had worked in the business of fashion for over 14 years – so I just needed to believe in myself and do it.
3. What’s your definition of ‘Fashion Entrepreneurship’?
I don’t think there is a difference between ‘fashion’ or any type of entrepreneur – in fact this word gets used a lot and even I know people that say they are ‘an entrepreneur’ and really aren’t! I knew one guy that would write it on his customs card when travelling and would spell it wrong! I think being an ‘entrepreneur’ just describes when you have an idea that’s not the norm, but the trick is making it into a business and getting it out there. It’s a very ‘cool’ word to describe starting a business.
“I think being an ‘entrepreneur’ just describes when you have an idea that’s not the norm, but the trick is making it into a business and getting it out there. It’s a very ‘cool’ word to describe starting a business.”
4. What are the common challenges you see that hold women back when it comes to style, confidence and entrepreneurship?
I really don’t see challenges due to being a women other than the fact I have the juggle my kids while I’m working. I usually drag my kids to work during the school holidays and my clients haven’t minded! Being a women has never stopped me doing my job or making my career goals a reality.
“Being a women has never stopped me doing my job or making my career goals a reality.”
5. While being in business for yourself, what challenges have you faced and how did you overcome them?
It’s mostly a ‘me’ problem! I’m now so used to having everything done in realtime with phones and being able to work anywhere, that I expect the same instant results from others! I also like to do everything, when instead I should let others help me. I’ve always been like this…it’s a work in progress!
6. What brands, influencers or bloggers do you see doing an amazing job in the Australian Fashion Industry?
I like seeing people pushing the boundaries and not just following the same-same. I really don’t like how content is created to gain followers or likes – it’s becoming very boring and obvious. I think we all need to have a conscious aspect of our business, and make changes for a better healthier world. This is what excites me – not another photoshoot of someone in a bikini trying to sell a lifestyle that isn’t real.
“I think we all need to have a conscious aspect of our business, and make changes for a better healthier world. This is what excites me – not another photoshoot of someone in a bikini trying to sell a lifestyle that isn’t real.”
8. As a stylist and fashion entrepreneur, what are 3 tips you could give to emerging fashion brands?
1) Think of your social and environmental footprint
2) Be true to your brand and believe in your message.
3) Less is more, be yourself and be honest!
9. What do you think has been the key to your success?
Working from the very bottom to where I am now. I’ve been so grateful for my family and friends who have always kept it real, and I try to be grateful for the opportunities that come my way.
10. What’s next from Tash?
So many things! But the most exciting is my work with Taronga Conservation Foundation. I’m about to go to India on a research trip for endangered animals and increasing public awareness around the work they do, which is having a major impact globally.
Also, my website Where Did Your Style Go? has really resonated with people so I’m madly writing content to share weekly as the need for fashion education is very important.
There are lots of big changes for me and it’s all very exciting! But there are a few things I can’t share just yet (so stay tuned!).