Gabrielle Adamidis is the proprietor of Hopeless lingerie from Australia. Gaby has started an Etsy shop as an initial outlet for Hopeless. Gaby graciously participated in an email exchange that resulted in this article.
TLP: How did you get started with Hopeless?
Ever since I can remember I have wanted to do something creative with my life. Whether it was painting, drawing, sewing or something else. My mum taught me knitting and embroidery when I was very very young, and I started sewing my own clothes when I was about 14 or 15. I studied art history at uni for a few years, and then in the middle of my degree I quit and went and studied fashion, and immediately knew it was what I wanted to do. I had the idea for lingerie randomly one night just over a year ago. It was just a really really clear picture in my head of what I wanted the brand to be. Kind of a lightning bolt moment I guess. I have stuck to it and am just going to continue working as hard as I can to achieve that picture!
TLP: Sounds like the timing was spot on.
I think it was just the right time. I had matured enough and experienced enough life to be motivated and dedicated enough to really commit to it. I am still very young, 26, (even if that sometimes does feel really old!) and I know there is still so much for me to learn about the business. I think it was just the readiness. I started everything completely from scratch. I knew nothing about the industry, I only had some dress making and pattern making experience from TAFE (ed. Technical and Further Education — see wiki for more details). I spent many many hours researching other brands, writing my business plan, collecting pages from magazines. I really just immersed myself in the lingerie world because I knew that if I was going to do it, I had to do it properly.
I design for women who like to invest in quality and appreciate vintage styling. The most important thing for me is to create pieces that people will treasure – I love putting effort into details and paying attention to the small things, and my brand is aimed at women who appreciate that kind of work.
TLP: Sounds like you have a guiding vision for hopeless. Do you have any help with the effort so far?
Hopeless is pretty much just me, but I do have a lot of help of family and friends. My sister helps out with running errands and and a heap of other bits and pieces, she plays a great devils advocate when I get over excited about things. My partner is much more financially minded so I rely on him a lot when it comes to all the banking and the less fun stuff.
TLP: How has being based in Australia affected your business plan?
The lingerie industry in Australia is very different to the rest of the world. Australians are much more inclined to wear very comfortable practical underwear – whereas European women are a little more adventurous, so the lingerie business is much bigger over there. That is why I am developing two separate ranges within Hopeless – the silk fancy things, and the much more practical bamboo jersey pieces. I think it is important to have something for everyone and something for your different moods as well. I definitely would like a global brand, but also want to focus on keeping all my production within Australia, as well as all my fabric and supplies.
TLP: How does the Internet factor in? How about Etsy?
The internet is obviously great for reaching far away places. I owe a lot to Etsy, most of my successes so far have been a result of someone seeing my work there. I started it initially as a make-do place to show everything while my website was being set up, but since I started there I have had tens of thousands of people through the shop and have had wholesale business come of it as well. It is such a fantastic platform for people to get their name out and reach to people they would never have found otherwise. I receive comments and messages from people all over the world, and the community is so supportive and encouraging.
TLP: Do you have plans beyond Etsy?
I have a website almost ready for launch, that I think will do well alongside Etsy. I will not be leaving Etsy anytime soon though as the amount of people that come through the shop is huge! I am in the process of finding someone to help me with sewing, so I can spend a lot more time on the promotion and administration side of things. Ultimately I want my own little shop somewhere in Melbourne to start with, and then a few more around the world. I know that is a long way off yet though!
TLP: Do you plan on doing off the peg?
Everything on Etsy is made to order – according to the customers measurements and any special requests like a different trim or colour-way. I also have a couple of stores that I wholesale to – which I guess you could call off the peg. I would like to do more one-off pieces – as I get the most enjoyment from making that first sample. Its when I have to make ten or twenty of the same style that I start getting bored!
TLP: Where do you see Hopeless in five years?
I want Hopeless Lingerie to be the mother brand of a Sleep-wear line, Swim-wear and Bedding and Linen, with a small store in the city. My dreams are kind of endless, I want to do it all.