lois and amber wattimena - co-Interview with parents danny and olga
interview by Isrid
'Fashion isn't an easy profession'
Olga: “Danny and I were going steady, even before completing highschool. Starting from a young age we were already involved in fashion. I was sewing daily to copy clothes I had seen in the fashion magazines. Danny’s parents were artists and they created their own clothes to wear in their performances. We both took evening classes in fashion to learn how to make patterns and how to sew. Naturally we started our own studio. In 1990 we moved to the WFC to move into a showroom since we had started creating our own designs and our own label Styx was born. Our story is quite similar to our daughters story. We were young, our clothes were excentric and we were noticed by different fashion magazines, gaining popularity with various stylists. In 1995 we left the WFC. The girls were born and we spent all our time producing clothes for an international brand in the medical sector. We returned to the WFC about 7 years ago and our showroom is steps away from Amber and Lois. I have my own label Crème de la Crème, women’s fashion up to size 46, targeting the middle to upper segment.”
Danny: “After years of mass production, I felt the urge to create my own label. I design urban luxury collections under my own men’s label called Susudio.”
No more study, just work
Lois: “The fact that our parents are fashion entrepreneurs certainly made us excited to start our own brand LA Sisters. At the age of 14 and 16 we were making our own sweaters and t-shirts, selling them to friends and family. As I was finishing off my final year in highschool (VWO), I had to think of higher education. Just like Amer I didn’t feel like continueing my education, I wanted to work for LA Sisters. By that time Amber was running the showroom for two years already, so the day I graduated, I started working fulltime.”
Olga: “People think: ‘the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.’ Naturally we did produce their first collection but the girls financed any cost using their own savings. They use their own money, without any financing and are responsible to pay their own rent. The lease of the showroom is in our name, only because the girls are under age. As parents we couldn’t be more proud since they are the youngest entrepreneurs in the WFC.”
'LA Sisters fits us like a glove'
“Amber: “LA Sisters fits us like a glove. We started out making items we just liked ourselves. Lois and I were staying in Los Angeles and so my parents flew in our brandnew first collection to LA. LA proved to be the perfect setting to promote our new label through short videoclips and photos. Our success and sales are mostly due to our emphasis and activity on social media. We started out on Twitter and opened an account on Facebook, which lead to a great push in sales. Currently we see Instagram being our biggest channel for sales and all together we have more than two hundred thousand followers. Since the group we target is all about going out to dinner or hitting the club on a weekly basis, we understand it’s important to them to wear something new all the time. We create our collection with that in mind. We watch what’s being shown at the latest runway shows and we stay on top of the current trends. Due to social media and the amount of followers we have, we are creating a strong presence, making us trendsetters in our own right.”
Olga: “Fashion isn’t an easy profession. You have to be able to multitask, you work with seasonal deadlines and it is full of shady people. Danny and I had no experience in owning a business and so it became a long road of self discovery, growing and dealing with the ups and downs. We are happy to give our daughters some know how and practical tools to succeed in this industry, things they cant learn in school or social media. Things move faster in their world.”
Lois: “We hardly ever receive customers in our showroom. People place their orders through WhatsApp or email. We make use of the latest social media developments. We notice that posting a picture on Instagram, wearing our own collection, results in an instant order by our clients.”
Danny: “Using celebrities to hype a brand is a frequently used marketing tool these days. Amber and Lois are their own celebrities.”