Ever seen the perfect coat – but in the wrong shade of yellow? Or a skirt that would be just right – if only it was an inch longer?
Laura and Saara Huhta, the two sisters behind Named Clothing, share a passion for sewing and design. Four years ago, they were on their way to have dinner with their parents and started to contemplate alternatives to their then-careers. Saara has a degree in clothing, Laura is a shoe designer, and they both worked in design – but not quite exactly where they wanted to.
Both agreed that ready-made patterns that would’ve suited them were few and far between. Once they reached their parents’ house, the idea was born: the sisters would start designing clothes and, instead of selling the clothes, they would sell patterns.
A lot has happened since that dinner, however not exactly from the get-go. In 2013, Named Clothing opened a webstore. The first weeks were almost dead quiet.
“Occasionally a friend of ours would order a pattern, just to support us,” Laura says laughingly.
The jackpot came by accident when a UK-based blog published a story about the budding entrepreneurs. Suddenly orders were almost flooding in, at least in comparison to, well, the day before.
No one will wear what you’re wearing
Now the Huhta sisters host their own office and showroom in Alppila, near central Helsinki. Before the white-walled, Scandinavian-style office was opened, the headquarters were a room in Saara’s flat.
Named Clothing releases two collections per year. Initially the plan was to offer fabrics and other sewing materials alongside with the package that includes the pattern and a detailed instruction sheet. That proved to be far too much work for the duo alone, so for now the focus is on designing and delivering patterns.
The vast majority of Named Clothing’s retailers are abroad in places like the UK, the US, Australia, France, Switzerland and Portugal. Almost all online orders come from outside of Finland; mainly women between 20 and 40 years of age.
Saara and Laura Huhta believe people are growingly interested in the origin and ethical aspects of their clothes. Money is another factor.
“Sewing your own clothes might not be cheaper than buying them from high street shops, but by choosing the right materials self-made clothes last longer,” the sisters note. “And you’ll never see someone wear the same thing as you.”
Surprises all over
Since the launch of the first collection in 2013, the Huhtas have encountered various learning curves. Customer feedback has been essential, as too the help of other professionals. Numerous freelancers and government officials have helped Named Clothing to take its first steps, beginning from modelling for website photos and the sisters’ mother assisting with everything from sewing samples to basic bureaucracy.
“We do pay our mom when she works for us!” Laura adds hastily.
With the help of an intern who recently started working at Named Clothing, the two women have a little more time in their hands for developing the company. They are hoping to find a sales and marketing professional in the team as soon as possible.
“There are so many ideas we would love to follow through. Right now all we’ve got time for are the essentials, but hopefully that’ll change.”