Startup Diaries: It’s Sleepless, Exciting, & Overwhelming!

The NextWomen Fashion & Retail Theme

When I graduated from FIDM with a degree in Merchandise Product Development, I knew eventually I would have my own brand. Little did I know almost 2 years to the day upon graduating, I would be quitting my ‘job’ and working full time on the launch of my own brand.  It was a very exciting/daunting day.

Like everything, 30:Fifteen, started out as just an idea in my head and a couple of fashion sketches in my note pad (that I carried around with me everywhere), but when it dawned on me I was never going to progress in my current position as quickly as I wanted to due to the current economic climate, I started to verbalise my ideas to my circle of influence.  I got some great feed back, so much so that I began to believe that I could make this a reality.

The collection is divided up into 4 women: Alethia, Sue, Anna and Jane. Each woman has a different focus and style but all four embody the 30 fifteen qualities and confidence.

The collection is based around three core colours: Black, Chalk, and Grey and three detail colours blue, pink and lilac. The cuts are very individual to the girl. For example: Sue is designed to accentuate the shoulders and back and flatter the hips and waist. I have always lived a very active lifestyle mainly because my family are very active and sporty but not every woman has it in their blood. My main goal behind the brand is to encourage women to get moving by looking gorgeous doing it

I started off by drawing CADs of all my sketches along with tech paks, but then spent as much time as I could doing research on the market, potential customers and then drafting a business strategy. I quickly found myself in front of some potential investors pitching my ideas. 

I couldn’t believe how impressed the investors were and how encouraging they were; it was a very surreal time. 

One of our investors had a really strong relationship with a manufacturers who specialised in knits, so a couple of months later I was on a flight over to Greece to meet them, source fabrics and start the processes of my debut collection!

From that trip onwards, my evenings, free time and weekends were spent working on the brand: liaising with the manufacturers, holding fit samples, speaking with potential buyers, creating the website and planning our lookbook shoot.

It was a very sleepless, exciting, and overwhelming time. I wouldn’t have had it any other way!

So now, I am living the dream of running my own brand, I’ll be honest, there aren’t fewer sleepless nights, but the days are never the same. I go from spending a day doing fits, to sketching new designs and liaising on new fabrics. Every day is different. We launch our collection at Pure London 10th- 12th Feb  and I could not be more excited about the future of 30:Fifteen or in fact proud of where we have come the last year. It is possible to feel good and look good.

Seeing a gap in the market for high quality, stylish and affordable tennis and active wear for women, Emily Tonkin decided to create her very own sportswear collection, 30:Fifteen. Emily grew up in Wadhirst, East Sussex and spent a lot of her childhood playing Tennis and dancing.  After her A-levels, Emily decided to join professional performing arts college ‘The Centre’ to peruse a career in dance with Musical Theatre, and in 2009 moved to LA to study acting.  Emily’s career plan took a swift change as she later decided to study Merchandise Product Development at FIDM. It was not long before Emily was inspired to create her own clothing range and spent her free time building and developing 30:Fifteen, a high quality and innovative tennis range, designed by women for women. 

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