Sunday, September 13, 2015

Lessons on Creating a Bad Ass Company from Reformation's Yael Aflalo

You may not recognize the name ‘Reformation’ but you have definitely seen their amazing flowy floral cut out dresses and button front denim skirts being worn by Rihanna, Karlie Kloss and fashion bloggers. Reformation is the newest “It” girl label made even more remarkable by the fact that their manufacturing uses all vintage, dead stock or eco friendly fabrics. Below are some steps Reformation’s founder and CEO Yael Aflalo took to turn her company into fashion’s new must have label.

Have a vision and plan. Yael Aflalo has discussed in interviews how she has a vision board in her bedroom to help her focus on what she wants to accomplish. She is also known for being very structured and organized with her time. Her technique is scheduling tasks at the same time on a weekly basis and setting time limits to her activities. This helps her never having to worry about what to do next, she simply follows her plan.

If at first you don’t succeed...Before Reformation Yael had another clothing line called Ya-Ya, which was a typical fashion brand she ran for 10 years. The label eventually closed due to difficulties during the recession. After running a conventional label for nearly a decade she knew that following the fashion calendar and dealing with overseas factories wasn’t for her. Her experience led her to build her new more innovative and more successful company.

Go against the grain. While in China for a work trip Yael noticed all the pollution around the clothing manufacturing regions. She recounts how in some areas the pollution was so thick it was hard to breath. When she returned home to the U.S. she immediately started researching how to manufacture clothing that had less of a negative impact on the planet. She focused on reducing waste and built her business following Earth friendly principles. This is the exact opposite of what most other fashion labels were doing at the time.

Look for gaps in the marketplace. Eco-friendly clothing is not necessarily known for being fashionable. A lot of green brands suffer from being too granola and often ignore design. Reformation filled this gap by producing clothing that is every bit ‘It Girl’ worthy.

Make it special. Since Reformation uses vintage and dead stock fabrics that come in limited supplies they only make about 200 pieces of each garment. Aflalo says "We want to always make less than what people want us to make so, in that way, it's special. It keeps things exclusive." They also focus on making pieces that aren’t too seasonal and can be worn over and over as Aflalo says “Clothes that are versatile and sustainable."

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