“There’s a recession!” “Tighten Your Belts” “How To Budget” “Saving Tips” yeah, yeah, yeah, it’s all we hear these days! The internet, news programs, TV adverts, we’re surrounded by people, businesses, presenters telling us that there’s no money to be made in business, that there’s no jobs out there. Well in an attempt to inspire at least one person who reads this, I wanted to demonstrate that it is still possible to do what you want and achieve what you want to achieve.
I contacted one of my old work pals and questioned him on his thriving, new clothing company! Roland Martial is the Company Owner and Sole Director of EAU de MARS Clothing Company which was created 2012. I worked with Roland for a spell at good old Bolton River Island and have followed the progress of the company via social media since it was set up. I knew he had worked tirelessly to achieve his goals, and I also knew that company was going from strength to strength. What I wanted to know was how??
B: So Roland, when did you originally think up the idea of EAU de MARS?
R: I had the idea for a clothing company immediately after I started working for River Island. The name didn’t come to me until about 6 months before I actually set up the company.
B: So it’s fair to say that River Island got the creative juices flowing.. But what are your styling inspirations when it comes to the design side of things?
R: The skateboard and tattoo culture are the founding artistic inspiration for the brand. Tattoo culture and street art particularly from both France, UK and japan are a big influence.
B: But how did you go about getting ideas in your head down on paper? Did you find it difficult or had your ideas been bubbling away for some time?
R: The ideas had been in my head for some time. The best way to put ideas into paper is through a business plan. This allows you to establish what you want to do, what you are trying to achieve, and how you are going to achieve it. A business plan will also reveal flaws in your strategy or key points you might not have thought of when the ideas were just a vision in your head. Creating a business plan isn’t easy but it is a must and there is a lot of free help out there on how to write a good business plan.
B: Speaking from experience, I know that a lot of people these days don’t have the drive to get off their backsides, and go and create their dream! What was your drive? And have you found it difficult?
R: It’s always been my dream to set up my own business and be my own boss. I have always thought this way right from being a child. I guess I get this attitude from my Dad as he himself started up his companies from a young age and as a child we got involved in his various business ventures. EAU de MARS has been an extremely difficult venture. It should never be underestimated how difficult it can be to set up your own business. It requires a lot of sacrifice, time, money, a lot of sleepless nights and initially working long hours for very little reward.
B: Most young adults out there expect you need degrees, and a CV full of qualifications to get somewhere in such a tough industry. What experience and qualifications did you have before starting up the company? Do you have any words of wisdom to our readers?
R: To me, experience is probably more important than qualifications. Working nearly 5 years at River island and then a year at BHS menswear gave me an insight into the fashion industry. I also studied Graphic Design which means at the start I had a little experience in both fashion and design. But what’s important to remember is that you keep learning everyday on the job. If I had any words of wisdom I would say to plan ahead. Planning before setting up a business is crucial. List the skills you will need. Try and acquire those skills before you start otherwise you will be left incapable of performing some crucial tasks needed to manage your business. Also plan your finances and be aware that you will probably need to make a lot of cuts. Once you have set up, try and keep your day job, if your business model allows you to, as a safety net while your business is in its infancy and you aren’t too busy.
B: From your social networking sites, I see you have built up quite a little following. Was this an easy thing to do? What has the response been from your customers?
R: Building a social media presence was not easy and I still learn everyday on how to appeal to this new generation of customers. Firstly, you have to be present on the relevant sites so they can follow your brand. But you also have to create a buzz about the brand through social media. A common way of doing this is to promote giveaway competitions so be prepared to give a few free items in exchange for social media growth. There are of course other methods of growing a brand on social media but I will not be able to explain these without revealing companies secrets…
B: Clearly, you’ve got off to a great start here, but what do you hope EAU de MARS can achieve in the future?
R: I hope EAU de MARS will be stocked in stores such as Topman, Pulp, Footasylum and ASOS.com in the UK and in stores such as Landscape rockshop in France. Having a distributor for Europe, America and Asia is our ultimate goal as it would mean that the brand would have truly gone global. But there is still a lot of work to be done before we get to that stage.
You can currently get hold EAU de MARS products from their official website www.eaudemars.com, check out their new lines for SS13 including tees, sunny’s and vest tops! Summer WILL be here at some point, so make sure you’re prepared. Roland also advised me that he is currently in talks with a couple of store owners with regards to stocking their products (fingers crossed!) and well done EAU de MARS!
YOU can do what ever you want, whenever you want to. Work hard! Make sacrifices! It’ll all be worth it in the end..