This young entrepreneur is discarding functionality for fun and fashionable winter jackets

Lottie Stanbury was challenged by the difficulties of finding affordable yet stylish jackets to wear throughout the winter months and used this as inspiration for starting her own fashion brand. Starting with 20 jackets and an Instagram profile, Frio the Label was born from her vision and motivation.

At only 20 years of age and still studying at university, Lottie’s business has already evolved from an idea into a legitimate Australian fashion label, which has been featured on Vogue Australia, involved with the Adelaide Fashion Festival and shipped internationally to lovers of Frio around the world. Young Entrepreneurs Magazine spoke with Lottie to find out what more about her experience with starting Frio and how she found success out of her love of fashion.

Tell us a bit about Frio the Label and how it started.

I was half way through my second year of university when I launched Frio. Frio, which means cold in Spanish, began with the intention of creating eclectic pieces that are versatile enough to ‘don’ with street wear and cocktail dresses. Frio combines versatility and affordability to provide luxurious but fun statement pieces that can be worn almost all year round.

I began with an order of 20 jackets in 4 colours (emerald green, black, baby pink and grey), bought using savings I had from babysitting. When they arrived, I remember laying them on the dining room table and saying to mum, ‘What am I doing? I’m going to have to give these away as presents, I will never sell this many.’ I didn’t anticipate that all 20 would be sold in the first few hours, followed by a waiting list of over 40 people trying to get their hands on a jacket.

What was your inspiration for creating Frio the Label?

I’ve always been interested in fashion from a young age, but I definitely didn’t think I’d have my own label, at least not yet! I think my inspiration was a mix of disliking winter and always struggling to find clothing that was both affordable and warm.

What steps did you take to make Frio the Label happen?

I started by selling them only through Instagram with some photos I had taken of them. Once I saw the interest in the jackets, I realised I needed proper imagery and social media content. Together with my mum and two friends who happened to be models, we pulled together the first photo shoot in a few days. By this stage, I had sold all 20 jackets and was waiting for new shipments to arrive, so embarrassingly I had to ask my friends, who had been kind enough to buy a jacket, if I could borrow theirs for the shoot. It all happened very unexpectedly, but it has allowed me to grow the label organically and introduce new colours and products as I go.

What has been the hardest part of your experience as a young business owner?

It has definitely been hard juggling both university and starting a business. Doing it all on my own has also meant that I’ve had to do multiple jobs within the business, such as managing wholesale, online sales, marketing, accounting and packaging all the jackets for online orders when they come in.

What has been the highlight so far?

I have learnt so much along the way and every day is different. Receiving orders online from international countries is definitely a pinch me moment, as is securing new stock lists and getting feedback from customers who love the product!

I’ve tried to stay very optimistic throughout the whole process, and the fact that I had no idea, coming into this experience, of how far the business would go or what it/I was capable of has made it exciting. We were also part of the Adelaide Fashion Festival last year, and have asked to be involved with it again this year, so that is also incredibly exciting!

How do you keep motivated to ensure the success of the label?

It’s sometimes hard to stay motivated when I don’t have a boss to correct me when I’m procrastinating or lean on when I’m looking for new ideas, but every time I get an online order or secure a new stock list, that definitely motivates me to continue growing the business. I would also say that I’m motivated by the fear of failure, so that keeps me going!

Do you have any advice for other young entrepreneurs?

Just go for it! You never know what’s possible and I think that if you believe in an idea enough, you’ll have the drive to make it successful.