How I Got My Job: Malindi Demery, Founder of Bum-Lifting Jeans Brand Freddy Clothing Ireland
Reckon starting and managing your own company is a near impossible dream? Think again. Girl boss Malindi Demery tells us how she turned her business into a successful brand.
Name: Malindi Demery
Facebook: Freddy Clothing Ireland
Tell us a bit about the background of Freddy Jeans
Freddy Clothing is the brainchild of Italian designer Carlo Freddy. The brand has been well known in Italy for almost 30 years and was mainly known for it’s active lifestyle clothing. It seems to us like it’s all very new, but in fact Freddy has sponsored the Italian Olympic team for years, the Royal Ballet and is now well established in over 25 countries across the world. If anything, we here in Ireland were slow to cop on! Needless to say, the recent explosion of the brand has been due to the introduction of the patented WR.UP ( Bum Shaping) Technology.
How did you come up with the idea to take them over to Ireland?
My family has always been in the clothing industry, so have always kept a finger on the pulse of what brands are hot in other countries. But in this case, it was a close friend of ours Colman Hourihan who knew what we were looking for and pointed us to Freddy. That’s the thing about the Irish clothing industry, people honestly try their best to help and support each other.
Tell us about the first few months of setting up; was it tough or was the reaction instantly positive?
I had no idea about things like registering a company, or even how to manage my accounts, I certainly had to refer to the college books when it came to accounting and tax affairs! Building a website and raising capital through investment and pre-sales were all early challenges but in all honesty, our biggest challenge was managing the uptake. The team and I never imagined we’d get the positive response that we did so as soon as the first shipment arrived it was out the door, and so the challenge began to manage the supply for stores and focus on driving our online sales.
What do you think has been the key to your success?
I’m my own target customer. When you can put yourself into the shoes (or jeans) of your customer, I don’t think you’ll be far wrong with each decision you make. What we choose to stock, how we advertise, how we speak to our customers who need help/advice, it’s all done in the way that me and my sister Elena (who also works with me in Freddy) think our customers will like.
At what point did you realise that they were going to do very well?
How many boutiques sell Freddy jeans in Ireland now?
We’ve 48 boutique stockists across Ireland.
Have there been any setbacks or challenges?
As mentioned, and without getting into the boring detail, the biggest challenge was our growth rate due to it’s impact on our cashflow.
What does your work life consist of on a daily basis?
Despite being a close nit (primarily family) team, we each have very clearly defined roles and routines. For myself it’s very hands on, I make sure I’m in the warehouse each day managing our online orders and overseeing the packing and shipment of boutique consignments. In the afternoons my sister and I plan our marketing activities, starting first and foremost with social media and then moving onto our bigger opportunities. Critiquing our website and monitoring customer emails are all in a day’s work when I’ve a spare minute to contribute. Luckily we all trust each other within the team, I’m still keen to be involved in everything.
Does what you studied in college help?
It’s true what people say, you can’t study experience. IADT Dun Laoghaire certainly did everything they could to prepare me to get stuck into a start-up and gain that experience fast. I studied business and entrepreneurship, so it was a perfect fit.
What’s the best part of your job?
It might sound too simple, but I honestly love searching for #freddyireland on Instagram and seeing our customer’s posts of themselves wearing Freddy’s! I honestly love re-posting them.
What do you think are the characteristics necessary to be a successful career woman in Ireland today?
Firstly, confidence. It’s so much easier to say it than it is to gain it, but I try to look at things differently since starting Freddy. At first everyone has doubts, but if you treat every failure as something learnt, you won’t fear it and you’ll naturally feel more confident about taking risks.
Self motivation. It’s so important to have your heart set on a personal goal, that way you won’t need anyone else to motivate you. You’ll continue to drive towards building a business you are proud of.
Ambition. Dreaming big and having the confidence to believe you will get there. Learn from the things that don’t go to plan and drive forward.
What’s next for you and Freddy?
Right now, we’re solely focused on bringing and distributing our autumn-winter stock and preparing for our first major ‘peak’ season online. Once through Christmas, we’re really excited about releasing our latest sportswear for the January Gym Joiners as there’s a few really unique pieces that we’re really keen to show to our customers.
Any tips for other Irish women wanting to do something similar?
No one knows how to do something before they do it the first time so my main tip or advice would be to go for it. There’s no shame in failure, I think of it as a measurement of the things you’ve learnt so keep trying. And on a similar point, you have to be unique. It might sound like one of those ‘everyone says that’ statements but being unique might be as simple as the way you deal with customers, the way you advertise, the reason why someone would want your product. Finally, be visible, have confidence in what you are doing so much so that you love to tell people about it in any way possible.
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