Left: Maria Cox
Future A/W looks from Annie and the Mannequins
Its has been great to catch up with Maria Cox over the summer, a graduate student of ours who these days owns and runs Annie and the Mannequins full time with her sister, Steph. This successful, online vintage fashion emporium has had fantastic press and internet recommendations. This new enterprise is going from strength to strength . . . .
1. Hi Maria, How did you end up in your current position after graduating from Adam Smith College?
After completing the HND Fashion Design and Production with Retail, I gained a 3rd year entry place at Heriot Watt University, Borders Campus. I studied the BA Textile and Fashion Design Management degree and achieved a 2:1. The HND prepared me well and I started Uni with strong basic skills and knowledge which boosted my confidence. After my degree, I started Annie and the Mannequins on a part time basis and now own and run it with my sister full time. It has been a huge personal achievement as I have always loved vintage fashion and had a strong desire to have my own business. Without my college course and degree I would not have the fashion business head I now have!
2. Please tell us a bit more about this new fashion venture.
Annie and the Mannequins is an online vintage fashion boutique selling affordable fashion garments and accessories. Based on and using current and future fashion forecasts, we put together weekly complementary fashion looks and promote and sell them through our ebay shop. We had the idea when searching for this type of fashion for ourselves as we had been searching high and low for vintage pieces to wear in an every day context with jeans and cut offs. We like to be fashionable and look a bit different to the crowd. Our searching provided us with many 'era specific' pieces from floor length floral dresses, ball gowns, veiled hats that would all look great with elbow length gloves and a victory hair roll but we were interested in pieces that we could wear on a more everyday basis. This is when we realised that there was a gap in the market and Annie and the Mannequins was born.
3. How do you work?
At the moment we sell primarily through ebay as it provided us with the foundations to be able to sell online immediately. It is the perfect online platform with a potentially global audience. In the beginning we had to build a customer base, a reputation and promote the brand to become recognised in this competitive field. We sell in the Netherlands, Australia, China and many more countries that would have been impossible with a bricks and mortar store. The opportunities for us online are fantastic.
At the moment we are busy setting up a second Annies Boutique on ASOS which is really exciting. This will launch in the next few weeks. Aswell as running these 2 businesses it is really important to build the brand and be recognised by key online fashion players. To date we have been featured in ASOS.com, chictopia.com, 'everybody is ugly' blog, ifashionmgazine.com as well as makeawish.com. Fingers crossed there are more featured articles coming up.
More from the Annies later . . . . . . but here is a link to their site in the meantime. Enjoy.