Well, you only need the light when it’s burning low
Only miss the sun when it starts to snow
Only know you love her when you let her go…
As I’m listening to ‘Let Her Go’ on Spotify, lovingly folding up the last of the clothes hanging on the racks, as my final SUMMER sales – the Closing Down Sale comes to an end, the weight of cotton and viscose in my hands forces me to sit down and go down memory lane.
I must have been 22 when I started wearing these light and fun cotton clothes. Manufactured in my to-be family’s factory, I think they played a major role in choosing the ‘right’ boy when it came to marriage!
When the move to Hong Kong happened a decade later my mum-in-law helped me start my own business with these clothes, helping me create my own identity along with raising my children in a foreign country.
SUMMER – the name came so naturally to me. I didn’t have to do a Google search or a competitive analysis to see how it would work. It felt good to me, sounded right to me and SUMMER (in caps) it was! Next came the byline underneath the logo – ‘Affordable Style with a smile’ - exactly what I was selling! The first SUMMER logo was created in MS PowerPoint with a smiling sun in the background. I chose a bright yellow as my brand colour to add liveliness and brightness, my true feelings at that time. Touches of pink to the font added a feminine touch. I played along with the font type to see what felt best so yes a lot of feelings and emotions involved in the making of my brand.
Simple, everyday styles that offered love and comfort to the woman wearing them. My potential customer was a busy mom who had no time for frivolous fashion, who wanted to look good, respectable, presentable any time of the day. From the morning rush with kids being dropped-off to school, to attending parent coffee mornings to the quick lunch with her hubby while kids were still at school! The dress that she wore had to be comfortable, cool, stylish and offered her enough flexibility to dress it up or down depending on her next appointment! I also added a kids range to the collection as mums always felt better shopping for their kids while shopping for themselves (less guilt that way!) .
All I had to do was think like a mom, not too difficult, to build on the style collection, and in the first few years the business did roaringly well just by selling from home and word-of-mouth publicity!
Over the years as my children grew up and I found more time to myself, I expanded the business. Brought more stock, participated in outside fairs, did consignment sales, collaborations making SUMMER available in more places. With good business came good friends as there were many other mompreneurs like myself trying to balance work and home running their small businesses and we needed a hand to hold as we went along with it.
The website on Shopify came much later. A project in itself as I spent a whole summer building the website from scratch. We also did our first professional photoshoot in Mumbai with my dearest family supporting me. I roped in my sister, sis-in-law, nieces, friends and my own sons to model for my clothing. A complete riot at the photo shoot and a family affair to remember!
I know the main purpose of doing a business is to make money. But SUMMER has given me so much more than that. It has given me friends, freedom, love, affection, a beautiful blank canvas to draw on, a dream, a memory, an important learning, something to call my own, something that I will always cherish in my heart.
Thank you SUMMER. Maybe I don’t have to let you go after all, for you will always be a part of me, as I explore other possibilities, paint other dreams…