International Women’s Day Feature: Yasmyn Paul

Edda: What’s your name and what do you do for a living?

Yasmyn: My name is Yasmyn. I’m from Brisbane and I have a label called Frankie + Dash. I am the designer, marketing, finance… and basically everything! I would say it’s coming up to 6 months now, so it’s still a little baby.

E: What lead you to create Frankie + Dash?

Y: The journey started at university, I studied fashion design. It’s tough to get into fashion, particularly Brisbane, it’s such a small niche. I started in a wholesale business and worked my way up there, eventually working in design. I was working in the world of fast fashion. It really put me on a strong path to try and do things differently. It’s so important to have input into the company that you’re working with to make sure production is sustainable in your business and the world. That is why I started Frankie + Dash. I really wanted to make a label that is fashion focused with two or three seasons a year, but making sure it’s not super fast [fashion] or nasty to the world.

E: What steps did you take with Frankie + Dash to ensure that it is a sustainable label?

Y: One of the biggest steps for me was finding a manufacturer that is certified ethical and has strong policies and operation standards in place. It was probably the biggest hurdle and the most important step. I found a really great company in India that is passionate about constantly improving. It’s easy to find someone who gets that one certificate that means something in one country, but nothing in ours. So finding them was a big win. Then I looked into fabrics. I wanted fabrics that won’t end up in landfill because they will wear and wash well, as well as having eco-friendly fabrics. The manufacturer we work with are always trying to improve as well. We’ve been working with them to minimise the amount of plastic they use in our packaging. It’s just crazy the amount of plastic is typically used in packaging. It definitely costs a bit more, but it’s worth it.

 

E: You recently fell pregnant, has it made you more creative? I’ve heard people often start a business when they fall pregnant.

Y: I’ve been getting that vibe from people. I’ve had a few people say, “Oh my! This next collection is some of your best work”. I was pregnant when I started creating the collection, even though I didn’t know it yet! I’ve heard a lot of stories like that. I don’t know what it is. It’s been a great surprise, it works really well to the business. I have also discovered a market in the mother’s community, I was unintentionally designing clothes that were mum-friendly, pregnancy-friendly and feeding-friendly.

E: Do you feel a difference working for yourself before you were pregnant compared to working for yourself now?

Y: I definitely am lucky that I work for myself and I work from home. The first trimester isn’t pretty! I feel for anyone who has to hide their pregnancy while at the same time feel like a zombie at work. It’s definitely been different, my productivity levels have been all over the place so its nice to be at home.

E: How far along are you?

Y: I’m 24 weeks and it has all of a sudden become very real. I have 15 weeks left and I’m madly trying to get ready for this little guy. I’m trying to get the next few seasons ready in advance.

Maternity leave isn’t really an option when you work for yourself, so I’m trying to design a few collections in advance.

E: When you were younger, what did you dream of becoming?

Y: Pretty much every since I was a little girl, it has always been fashion. It’s never been like a mermaid or a firefighter, it was just fashion.

E: How do you see that dream today? Has it changed?

Y: It would be fantastic to see the label through a few more years and watch it grow and develop as a ethical and sustainable label. I would like to educate our buyers and customers on how we’re doing that too. I’m also really excited to experience how being a working mum plays into it all. An exciting future awaits.

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