HEW Clothing delivers a modern sensibility and an innovative take on the male wardrobe, marking a new chapter for menswear. A focus on quality, material and fit underpins each season – but print and colour are what defines HEW as a truly unique label.
Where did you get the idea for your business?
It was when I was working as a costume designer, I found it difficult to find bright colourful menswear pieces. I collaborated with some friends to make some unique prints, which were made into menswear pieces. In the beginning HEW was just going to be t-shirts but then quickly moved into more woven tailored pieces.
How did you get your business started?
I completed the NEIS program. I spent one year setting up the branding and the products. It took a long time to set up the production side of HEW. I always had a vision of HEW being high-quality products so it took a while to find the best manufactures and source the finest fabrics. Digitally printing on 100 per cent cotton is difficult, there were some shocking prototypes in the beginning but eventually, through trial and error, I found who were the best to work with.
What lessons have you learned so far on your business journey?
There have been so many! Haha Here are some I immediately think of:
1. Every single transaction needs to be in writing! Everything! This will save you in any sticky situations with miscommunication.
2. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket i.e – one factory, one cargo, one stockist because when one of them fails you will need to quickly switch to an alternative to ensure your business survives. I was reminded of this when I read in the news the other day one of the worlds largest shipping companies Hanjin has just declared bankruptcy and all of then cargos at sea are unable to be delivered because they cannot pay docking fees. If my entire SS16/17 collection were on a cargo that could not be delivered, it would be a disaster and could potentially cost the business.
What has been your greatest business moment or achievement so far?
Earlier this year, HEW participated in the Virgin Australia Fashion Festival by having an offsite runway event. This was HEW’s first runway event and it was really special to see the audience who attended the show. Everyone had a great time and the collection was really well received. Another achievement was opening our first permanent store this year at South Melbourne Market.
What are your top three tips for starting a business?
1. Be passionate
2. Be patient
3. Have a strong point of difference, really ask yourself why someone will buy your product over another companies product.
Profile Photo credit: Kristyna Hess
Ema Hewitt completed an RMIT Bachelor of Design (Fashion) Degree in 2009 and the RMIT NEIS course in 2013. She is willing to answer your questions about starting a new business. Find her in the Members section.
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'Have a strong point of difference, really ask yourself why someone will buy your product over another companies product.' - Ema Hewitt Founder of HEW Clothing