We met Kyla in the summer of 2020, between her grade 11 and grade 12 years in high school. As an aspiring university business student and avid TikTok user Kyla has recognized an opportunity to start a fashion brand utilize her understanding of the Tiktok platform and her research into her target market.
Within weeks, she showed up to our office with her business plan in hand, hundreds of sketches, and had even recruited her grandfather to help oversee her efforts!
At first we were skeptical of her direction and the brands potential as we see a lot of clients come across our doors with unvetted Ideas, and unresearched market segments.
Kyla proved to be different. Upon review of her collection, we gave her some tips to narrow down her line to fit within her launch budget, and a week later she came back with a focused collection and all the numbers to back it up. We were impressed!
Our favorite part about Kyla is her natural ability for making business decisions; she has a knack for numbers and a clear understanding of how her decisions impact pricing and lead times, a nuance that even experienced brand-owners struggle with.
She never came across as someone who didn’t have prior experience in apparel. Perhaps it was her Grandfather, Marshal, who worked in apparel manufacturing himself that through osmosis passed down his knowledge! We are not entirely sure – but hopefully, we will find out a bit more through this Q&A.
Hi Kyla! Thanks for doing this. Your story is so inspirational for other teenagers. Did you always know that you wanted to be a designer and business owner? What lead you to taking such a big step in your career so early?
Bauer: Thank you for reaching out! Growing up, I was always creating a small business on the playground with my friends. I would sell anything from bracelets to Pokemon cards and would always have fun marketing them. When I went into high school, everyone was planning to be doctors or have desk jobs, but the thought of that never interested me. Going into grade 10, I realized my love for business could be a serious job too, and why to wait till I was an adult to start. I begin to plan out what I would want to sell and how I wanted to make a small impact in retail. I’m an impatient and excited teenager, but that turned out to be my super strength. I don’t think anyone should wait around to start pursuing their dream. If you have the capability, take steps to start now.
It took you 10 months to get to market and we created 4 unique styles in your ideal fabric, colours, and prints. Of all the battles to bring the collection to life, which did you find to the most difficult or daunting?
– Creating the artwork?
– Creating the styles?
– Creating website or marketing plan?
– Be patient with global shipping delays?
Bauer: During the process of making Pink Abyss a reality, we ran into a few speed bumps in the road. The first being that I am a perfectionist. Though this in its self is not a bad thing, because that is how I got a final product I was proud of, it did create delays for production. Each time I waited to see improvements with the print’s design or colour on the sweater, production time would be pushed back. Though I understood the wait was worth it, I found it challenging. When the product was finally in its final stages, we faced more backlog in production due to the global shipping delays caused by Covid-19. In the end, I received a product that I was more than happy with, and I encourage anyone who is facing similar road blocks to keep pushing forward because eventually, it will get better.
Your collection is officially launched! This is a huge milestone that few people make it to. What style is your favorite? What is your customer saying?
Bauer: Personally, my favorite piece is the White and Blue Solid Print Sweatpants. My favorite color has always been blue, and sweatpants are my comfort clothes whenever I’m at home. The most popular item that has been sold is the Pink and White Solid Print Crewneck. Everyone who has bought from me has been extremely happy with the quality and designs of the clothes. This makes me extremely happy to hear as I spent so much time trying to make this product as perfect as it could be.
What is next for Pink Abyss, do you have a second collection in mind?
Bauer: The next step for Pink Abyss is to focus on marketing and spreading our name. (Make sure to follow me @pink.abyss.clothing on Instagram) I want to start working more closely with influencers and people willing to represent the Pink Abyss name. Though we don’t have a second collection in the works right now, I would love to once the sales of our current items start to pick up. I would want to continue to create unique loungewear that improves your style and comfort daily.
You are about to graduate high school this week! Congratulations! You mentioned that you were planning to apply to Ryerson’s Fashion Program in the Fall, is that still the plan? Are you planning to continue to run Pink Abyss at the same time?
Bauer: Thank you so much! Though I was accepted to Ryerson’s Creative Industries program, I decided to follow my dream at UBC Sauder School of Business. Though both schools provide amazing programs, I believe that Sauder was a better fit for me as it does look at the business aspect in greater focus. Additionally, UBC is in my hometown of Vancouver, and I wasn’t quite ready to say goodbye to the beautiful sights. Therefore, I plan to continue working and growing Pink Abyss simultaneously, even though my schedule might be a little packed. I understand that university and running a business will not be all fun and games, but I am a determined person and I’m not easily going to give up Pink Abyss, even if it means more than a few late nights.
If you enjoyed this article and want to contribute to our blog please get in touch with our team at firstname.lastname@example.org Thank you Kyla, and to all our readers to supporting Apparelmark’s goal to help emerging fashion brands find their way through the competitive apparel Industry. Please stay tuned for more creative tips, Ideas, Interviews and surprises In our upcoming blog posts.