Effie Kats first founded Zachary The Label in 2013, which she operated for 5 years. After exiting Zachary, Effie launched her namesake label in 2018, which focuses on made-to-measure garments with a view to create perfectly tailored, sustainable pieces that last in your wardrobe for years to come. Effie also owns online and wholesale label, Bayse Brand.

We wanted to find out the ins and outs of Effie’s custom-made business model, the pros and cons of local and offshore production, and, becoming an influencer for her own brand.

Custom Made Model

Due to the COVID-19 restrictions, the Effie Kats custom-made model has undergone some slight changes. Prior to the pandemic, Effie was meeting face-to-face with clients in a half-hour time slot. Now, she’s decided to split clients per hour, which allows enough time for them to come in and out so that they feel comfortable. This also means Effie sees a more limited number of clients per day. She also works with two seamstresses, a tailor and a patternmaker on the custom-side of her business.

“The custom model is something that I have been really assessing for some time. I think initially it was a really great way to enter the market and having that flexibility to be able to create whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted, and work with stylists and celebrities. But in terms of profitability and feasibility, I’ve always known long-term that that’s not really something that I wanted to focus on.”

However, while Effie is still doing custom-made services, their primary focus has shifted to online retailing.

Local Production VS Offshore Production

While there’s a real push for Australian made in the industry, Effie says it can be a struggle to find local makers who have the capacity to service their needs.

‘Internationally, the factory has a larger capacity for production. You’ve got one person sewing the seams and you got another person sewing on the zips. It’s a production line. The garments are very consistent. It’s a lot more challenging to find that level of consistency in Australia”.

However, Effie works with local makers who are incredible at certain categories, but who might not be great at others, so that’s where they shift their focus to international production companies.

When it comes to what we need here in Australia, Effie said “no one is going to university to be a machinist”, and that’s the reality. It’s a balancing act of wanting to support the economy and local businesses, but also wanting all of the bells and whistles that international production companies have.

So, how does Effie go with selling her lines?

The power of becoming an influencer for her own brand

Luckily for Effie, she has established an engaged online presence and after posting a piece, she can see how it’s going to track within a couple of hours.

Effie says that nothing beats that instantaneous reaction and the impact that influencers have can really make something sell out.

“Sophie Cachia is one of those. So as soon as Sophie wears something, that’s it. It flies off the shelves, but you don’t have that level of impact with everyone, because not everybody’s followers are as engaged.

So, I’m very lucky with that. I guess my reputation has kind of spread where it’s like, ‘okay, she wears what she makes’. They see it, they like it, they buy it.”

To listen to the full chat with Effie Kats, head to Fashion.Business.Mindset. The podcast is available now on Spotify, Apple Podcast, Deezer and Google Play!