Meet BreakThrough DESIGNERS Anthony and Celeste Lilore of RESTORE Clothing. Listen, Learn, Connect.
1. What is your brand’s mission? How has it evolved since you started your business?
– To restore clothing and jobs in NYC and the US.
-Put RESTORE Clothing into the lives of as many people as is possible.
-Design, Manufacture, and Sell the best, most versatile, earth friendly active lifestyle fashions available, anywhere! Really!
2. How would you describe your brand’s aesthetic?
Authentic. Triple Bottom Line, Innovative American Sportswear. Think of us as Eco-Active Fashion. Ass-et Maximizing & Muffin Top Minimizing. We design and manufacture versatile active-inspired women’s wear intentionally conceived to fit and crossover fashion and fitness. Clothing for real, active women.
3. What’s the most difficult aspect of running your business? What do you do to combat that?
Having the time, resources & (wo)man-power to compete in a big game as a small player and stay ahead of the curve at the same time. We are working with the Levin Institute to fine tune our business plan so that we can pitch to investor/partners who share a common interest and have the back office staff to support the business growth that is our goal.
4. Do you sell wholesale or primarily through your own website/retail location? What steps do you take to attain brand recognition, whether to wholesale buyers or retail consumers?
RESTORE ™ Clothing is sold primarily through specialty retailers and spa/fitness boutiques and secondarily through our website. We are in the process of expanding our sales team (adding regional reps) and marketing message in order to reach large-scale wholesale buyers nationwide. We are continuing to build a following of LOHAS consumers on and off the web and we’re extremely active in our local community with initiatives such as Made in Midtown, and Save the Garment Center. Our chosen charity: 1% for the Planet gives our donation dollars to RiverKeeper .
5. What social media platforms do you find most integral to your brand’s marketing? How do you utilize them to connect with your customers?
Twitter has the most potential to level the playing field. We are actively using it to monitor and participate in the conversations globally. Facebook, is a where we are communicating (in real time, visually) with our customers and like-minded companies in the “Green Space”. Our website and blog is where our dynamic and more static information is placed as a more permanent resource for our community to access. Interaction is the key. We are working to improve this by adding interviews, collection updates, “Greenfacts”, and more personal viewpoints that our community might find relevant.
Everyday is the same, both different from the last and full of surprises. The person on the other end of a phone call determines the hat you have to wear for the next few minutes or so. In our work world there is no “ivory tower”, no relax and sketch or sew or draw pretty pictures. Design is something that is always in your head and heart and must be executed with precision at a moment’s notice, then you move on to the next thing. On any given day, there are factory visits to verify samples or production, meetings with fabric mills, conference calls for Made In Midtown or Save the Garment Center, meetings with our pattern maker to discuss new designs, errands around town picking up markers or dye samples, and of course packing and shipping orders and “bringing out the trash”. Some evenings are spent at events networking with other designers, retailers, green companies, industry publications, or non-profits and individuals supporting New York industries. Most are spent trying to complete the day’s work and planning the next few.
7. What are three of YOUR favorite brands? What do you admire most about them?
Patagonia: Eco-Social Ethos.
Calvin Klein: Design Aesthetic.
RESTORE Clothing: What could be! (combination of the above)
8. One piece of advice you can offer the fresh faces of fashion?
If this is not Your Passion, Your Air, Your Water, Your Blood; don’t do it.
9. What exciting things are in store for you in 2011?!
Completing and following “the plan” to find investor partners and scale the brand. Growing RESTORE Clothing as a Menswear line as well as Women’s. Create a positive impact in our community. Continue to give back, teach, and learn.
Connect with RESTORE Clothing
Thanks Celeste and Anthony for a great interview!