'You don't have any money': How two Instagram stars created their own label
It has become one of our favourite brands.
ROTATE is a Copenhagen-based brand from Birger Christensen in partnership with Danish stylists and influencers, Jeanette Madsen and Thora Valdimars.
As their new collection is being welcomed into Brown Thomas, we chatted to Jeanette and Thora about why they felt the need to start ROTATE, where they see the industry going and their new collection.
So, where did it all begin? Thora said that while working in a magazine together, they realised that there was a gap in the industry - and they wanted to fill it.
"We were so busy, you know, we had all the deadlines with the magazine, we're both moms and Instagram had started really taking off, so there was just so many things...
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"We were talking for a while, what we wanted to do, and then we found out that we shared a common dream of starting our own brand and then it just kind of took off from there.
However, while the dream was firmly in their minds, it wasn't going to be easy to just create a fashion line from scratch.
"It took a while for us to do the actual jump," said Jeanette. "Talking about it to actually making the real business plan. When we were working, we had a salary, we both had kids so it's not just 'OK, I'm just going to follow my dream and see if it's going to happen', but then we were like 'OK let's talk to this guy, he's a friend of ours and he's an investor'.
"He was really up for helping us but he was like 'girls, you don't have any money, basically.'"
Their friend said that he really wanted to help them, however they would need to think of how they were going to secure capital to launch it.
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"A week after that, we got a phone call from Denise who is the CEO in Birger Christensen and she asked us if we wanted to come in for a meeting. We thought it had something to do with the magazine or Instagram, so we didn't think about it.
When Jeanette and Thora visited Denise, she revealed that she wanted to do a collaboration with them and wanted something big. She asked them if they had any ideas and they told her about the new brand consisting of dresses that are affordable.
"Party dresses, dresses for a wedding, Christmas eve, New Years Eve," is what they had in mind. The influencers wanted to design dresses like this because they understand that while you might want to buy a dress for every occasion, many women don't have the money to.
"We couldn't afford going out and buying all these dresses. Of course, we could borrow but sometimes you want something that's yours."
Denise loved the idea and the ladies quit their jobs a week later.
"I think when we started making the dresses, we really wanted to make something that we wanted to wear and something that fits the female body so we didn't listen to the ideas of how long or short a dress should be, we had our own ideas," said Jeanette.
"We wanted everything bigger than normal, shorter than normal, longer than normal, everything should just be more of what was already there."
As for what they see being big in the future, the designers said that things have become a little bit too casual. You see women going out for big nights out in runners and a t-shirt - and while they want each woman to wear what they're comfortable in, they also want to see a rise in glamour in the future.
"When things start becoming too crazy there's this new movement that starts becoming a bit more denim and beige-y. For a while now, things have been quite beige so I think people feel the need to see a bit more colour and a bit more print and sex, because it's been a bit too casual for a while.
When it comes to the perfect party outfit? Both women swear by "cleavage, long sleeves and make it short."
And when it comes to the perfect piece from their new collection? It has to be the Raspberry Rose Combo:
ROTATE Birger Christensen Autumn/Winter 2019 collection is available in Brown Thomas now.