In our ‘Inspiring small businesses’ series, we share and celebrate great stories from fellow small business owners who started and run their own business. By bringing you closer to these inspiring businesses we hope that you find motivation, tips, and ideas for building yours.
Today, we bring you the story behind sustainable fashion business Kotys, providing tailored dresses for work and social events, shared by its founder Otilia Balica.
What is it that you do?
Kotys is a UK based brand focusing on providing sustainable dresses made of natural fabrics for work and social events. On our website, we have a small stock in our Ready to Wear collection and we also offer a Made to Order service where customers can choose the preferred style in a standard size and customise the sleeve and the hem length that suits them best.
We want to offer a sustainable and ethical dress option to our customers. We value high quality that lasts beyond the season, craftsmanship and sustainability, that is why our design and production process is all based in London.
What’s the story behind your business?
Kotys’ mission is to offer premium quality dresses with sleeves made of breathable fabrics to women that mean business.
Creating a brand with a sustainable ethos has always had a leading role in our vision. After completing my Master’s Degree in Marketing and New Media, I started working in the digital marketing sector and soon noticed a difficulty in finding dresses with sleeves made of natural fabrics for business women. This niche gap in the market opened my interest in creating a brand that will create a sustainable solution for women in need of classic workwear.
With sustainability being at the forefront of the Kotys realisation, we have endeavored to produce high-quality dresses whilst remaining a staple in one’s closet, made out of sustainable fabrics and produced ethically without a design compromise.
What inspired you to start your own business?
I always had a passion for fashion and wanted to create a brand dedicated entirely to dresses with sleeves. The idea came from my 9 to 5 job in digital marketing. The continuous hustle to find dresses with sleeves made of natural breathable fabrics was my main frustration. I was looking for a brand with this mission – I couldn’t find it, so I decided to create Kotys, because I want a brand that speaks to women that have this requirement for different reasons.
What is the most difficult aspect of running your own business?
Fashion is a very competitive industry. Having the right amount of resources to reach potential customer during their decision-making process is our biggest challenge.
We are a small business and we know we offer high quality and value for the money for our product type, but we struggle to put our brand in front of the right customers at the right time. We have to compete with big brands that have access to bigger marketing budgets, so we always try to find solutions and improve our strategy to overcome these challenges.
What is the best thing about running your own business?
Running a small business allows me to make changes quite fast based on the feedback we get from our customers and working on always improving and tweaking our product and service.
Also having the chance to directly engage with our customers along their purchase journey is a great way to understand their pain points and communicate our product offering.
The best thing about running a business is the ability to learn everything along the way and challenge yourself during the process, this really helped me expand my skill set and my creativity. I did not have any experience in the fashion or business fields, so I had to learn everything along the way, which was in many ways good for the business.