12th November 2019
This very day, 5 years ago, the 3 of us sisters huddled around a computer and gave life to the Izaak Azanei website with the touch of a click. What followed were around 3 minutes of us staring at the screen hoping, by some miracle, someone somewhere would place an order. They didn’t. But my God, the hope was real. When you’re so immersed in something, you expect the world to be as emotionally invested as you are, and it was with this naiveté that we waited. Looking back at our younger, passionate and naïve twenty-something year old selves, I see that we failed to realise lesson number 1 in business: the world does not owe you anything. Having a good product is not enough. Communicating your message will be an equally tough part of the journey.
Every season we learn and every season we try hard to be even better. We’re still not where we need to be, but five years on it feels pretty good to take a step back and think about how this very day 1825 days ago, we were praying with heavy hearts for somebody, ANYBODY, to take that leap of faith and place an order on our website. In the years that have gone by, we’ve racked up a long list of lessons, from trials & errors, good people to not so good people. Try sampling a full collection, the collection that got us into Harrods for the first time, to then be told by your factory that they’re too full to fulfill any of your production. Not even a single piece. Ya, we’ve been there. Lesson number 2: shit happens. And it happens to all of us. But, you pick yourself up and you move on. And in the words of our forever idol, Aaliyah – dust yourself off and try again.
There are no words deep enough to express the gratitude we have to our small little team, who wake up every morning committing themselves to our goals. Many of you would have interacted with Ember (a.k.a. the fourth sister), who wears multiple hats at our company. She has really led the way for so much innovation and change. To see others personally invested in your dream is a beautiful thing and is something we never ever take for granted. Our little team of three has now grown to six – small in size but big by heart, and we are further supported by a handful of talented and inspiring freelancers. Lesson number 3: find your tribe and love them hard because your people really are everything.
The 4th major lesson is going to sound generic, but stay with me. When I look back at what has really made this company, and what I believe with every ounce of my being will be a core part of our future – is to be KIND. By some divine twist of fate, people have walked into our lives whilst we’ve been on this journey, offering support and kindness above and beyond anything considered normal by a stranger. Our very first photo shoot back in 2014, a perfect example of this, was done simply by an exchange of words with a store-assistant who happened to be an up and coming Stylist. A week later, we were on the streets of Soho in London with that very Stylist, who had sourced an entire team of the friendliest of strangers to make our shoot happen (all within the grand budget of £500). Fast forward five years, our products are now in some of the most prestigious stores in the world. Fast forward five years, and said stylist just finished touring with Camila Cabello (shout out to our boy C!). The point is, as I get older I am realizing more and more that good things happen when you truly help from the heart. And my advice has been and always will be to help others. One designer landing that dream account does not prevent your chances of being in there too. Be kind, believe in the universe and believe in your brand. Everything happens at the right time, it’s all part of the journey.
Fashion is a way of expression. Studies show that people wear the colour black because it’s the colour they feel most comfortable in, most safe. So, we create the same Classic black pieces in beige, in grey in rainbow, in every single colour – a reminder from us that who you are today and what you’re wearing right now does not determine who you are tomorrow and what you’ll feel like wearing then. We work our hardest to always ensure that our Collections are made up of pieces that you can rely on, pieces you know you’ll feel good in when you wear them – a trusty companion, if you will, who will accompany you on all of life’s journeys. When you wear a piece of IA, you really are wearing a piece of our heart. Every single day that entails you putting on a piece of clothing, you are making a choice - a choice that shows who you are or how you feel, to the entire world. In this way, your clothes become your most powerful voice because they can speak for you, without you needing to utter a single word. Knowing that there are women all over the world who wake up and actively choose to make Izaak Azanei their voice for the day, produces a feeling no words can accurately describe. And it is with the same giddy excitement, the same rush of gratitude and the same infinite love for our brand that we experienced the very first time an internet stranger made that choice, that we still feel today when our phones ring with someone else in the world taking the same leap of faith. Lesson number 5: we may create the products, but YOU bring them to life.
Thank you for being with us on this journey. Thank you for queuing up at our sample sales. Thank you for supporting our evolution as a brand – the response to Little IA was just something else. Thank you to our retailers for believing in the dream of three young girls and keeping IA in your curation. Thank you family & friends who never get tired of writing the most encouraging Instagram comments every time a new product comes out (WE SEE YOU ALL). Thank you to every single person reading this.
It will always start and end with you,
Krish, Rosh & Dee
Now where the cake at?