You’ve heard it many times before and we’ll say it again, these are unprecedented times…

We are fortunate here at Fashion Equipped that we can work as a collective with our ‘Start Your Fashion Business’ Programme Community, our 1:on:1 Clients and our Industry Partners to face this challenging time together.

We are so thankful to be able to welcome inspiring leaders to our Industry Support Q&A series who are generously sharing insights into the immediate impacts COVID-19 is having on their business.

Our goal is to share insightful updates from those on the front line of fashion, in real time.

Listening to these insights and experiences may just help you to navigate the road ahead and provide you with some inspiration when we all need it most.

Our conversations include navigating daily changes, managing the impact on teams, on customers, on sales, supply chain, cash flow, communication strategy, tips on how to pivot and more.

In this Q&A, our Founder Elizabeth Formosa is in COVID-19 conversation with Cathryn Wills, Founder of Sans Beast.

Watch the video here:

Key Takeaways from this dynamic, insightful conversation between Elizabeth & Cathryn:

Immediate challenges faced:

  • Sans Beast DTC Sales are down 50 – 70% – it varies daily
  • More discounting is expected and necessary at this time
  • Wholesale orders are being cancelled
  • Determining when the right time to buy stock again is tough, especially when you now have excess inventory – it’s not a matter of just stopping everything
  • Future order placements will be impacted due to uncertainty
  • Cathryn and team are monitoring the situation daily/weekly with their online business & with that of their stockist partners
  • Sans Beast invests in two major campaigns per year. There is uncertainty around the timing of upcoming shoots, not just cash flow wise but with the team having to social distance and not being able to come together

What’s important right now?

  • Protecting the Business
  • Ensuring the team is supported while working remotely is crucial
  • Staying relevant and connected with customers. Sans Beast have just launched a ‘Blue Skies’ sale and will continue to connect in heartfelt ways with its loyal following
  • This will include tips for working from home and inspiration
  • Community building and connectivity is key. It’s not about conversion right now
  • San Beast will not be cancelling any stock their manufacturer has already made
  • Cathryn said “It’s just not ethical”
  • Look after your supply chain partners – they are an extension of your team

“A business MUST have a Unique Selling Proposition, a WHY and a reason for being. This has always mattered, but it matters now more than ever”

Cathryn’s advice to those in the early days of business:

  • The world will always need Innovation and yearn for new concepts
  • A business MUST have a Unique Selling Proposition, a WHY and a reason for being This has always mattered, but it matters now more than ever
  • Innovative ideas will always cut through
  • There will always be an appetite for something different
  • Be honest with yourself about your USP and the competitive landscape
  • Your USP does not have to be just about the product, it might be your content, tone of voice, how you say and deliver things. Get creative
  • If you haven’t launched yet, sit tight until the market shows signs of recovering. Use this time to ensure your business plan is ROCK SOLID and polished. Refine your concept
  • Don’t waste this time you have available to you! Its’ unique

‘Don’t waste this time you have available to you! Its’ unique”

Cathyrn’s predictions on opportunities post COVID-19:

  • A global wakeup call around the mass raising of animals – more awareness
  • An opportunity to hone skills, finetune creativity and tap into innovation
  • This will force brands and businesses not to be complacent around their communities and customers and assume money will just keep coming in
  • It will encourage more brand connectivity and gratitude for our customers and the money they spend on our brands
  • Hopeful there will be more altruism and empathy
  • We will experience the slowing down of fashion
  • Growing as an individual – and ultimately a brand is just an individual – a great brand has a heart like a good person – hopefully that is what will flourish when we come out of this situation
  • Not all post COVID-19 opportunities are commercial, but they are an opportunity for growth

“I’m hopeful there will be more altruism and empathy”

Watch the CRAFT OF SANS BEAST here

You can find Sans Beast at:

Instagram  @sans.beast

Facebook  /sansbeast



With all the need for our focus to switch very quickly from the amazing event we hosted as part of the Virgin Australia Fashion Festival Ideas Program in March 2020 to the impacts of Covid, the time has not been right to share the highlights from this event. But stay tunes as they are coming your way soon!

Cathryn Wills joined Fashion Equipped on our industry panel during the VAMFF with fellow panellists who included Lana Wilkinson, Celebrity & Fashion stylist, James Bartle, Founder Outland Denim, Jess & Stef Dadon, Founders TWOOBS & How Two Live – Panel discussion lead by Yianni Giovanoglou, Trend Specialist, WGSN. 

VAMFF Ideas Programme Industry Panel, Hosted by Fashion Equipped

Elizabeth & Cathryn, VAMFF Ideas Program Event, March 2020.

View more photo highlights from our VAMFF event here!


Cathryn Wills established Sans Beast in June 2017, after a career spanning close to 30 years in the Australian fashion industry.

The late 80’s saw time in retail at Benetton, followed by various roles at Palmer Corporation, before gaining a BA Fashion at Melbourne’s RMIT. A substantial chapter at Country Road then followed, where Wills worked in knitwear, eventually becoming Knitwear Design Manager across the men’s and women’s divisions.

Post leaving Country Road, Wills pursued a freelance design career for a number of years, before finding her niche at Mimco, joining founder and former owner Amanda Briskin (-Rettig) in 2004. Wills went on to the role of Creative Director post the sale of the business, and in 2010, expanded her creative remit to encompass the commercial leadership of the brand, as Managing & Creative Director.

After living and breathing the world of leather handbags & accessories for over a decade, Wills adopted a vegetarian diet in mid 2015 and progressively recognized a disconnect between her professional role and her ethical stance on animal welfare and the environment. Through further education, Wills saw the need to change her consumptive and creative path, eventually resigning from MIMCO in early 2016.

In establishing Sans Beast, Wills sets out to build a design led, quality brand that only utilises materials that are procured from non-animal sources.


If you feel your business has been significantly impacted at this time and require any assistance, please reach out to Elizabeth directly at

Fashion Equipped is here to help ??

If you would like to further your fashion business development, join a community of like minded brands, creatives, designers and entrepreneurs that is lead by passionate industry mentors, then we would love to chat.

We welcome you to join our ‘Start Your Fashion Business’ Programme and Community.

Enrolments are closing at the end of April and won’t reopen again until August 2020.

SYFB can be accessed online, from any location.