#CaribbeanGirlsRunIt is the anthem put forward by superstars Nicki Minaj and Rihanna. The Caribbean is Hot (pun intended) right now. From music lyric cameos to inspiring the Fashion Show aesthetics of huge names like Paul Smith and Tommy Hilfiger, Caribbean flavor is what is in.
Authentic Trinbagonian Caribbean Fashion, however, has been relatively inaccessible for a long time, with many designers finding it difficult to set up efficient selling platforms.
In 2016 Simply Runway; a boutique dedicated to providing the shopping experience of “Purchasing with Purpose”, established a mentoring program for young Caribbean-based designers. In 2017, they hope to grow the initiative, welcoming more and more local and regional labels to their designer lineup. They are exposing the inner workings of their own business model to these entrepreneurs while preparing them for their future endeavors. This year, they awarded Jody Akal with a $5000 starter contract at CAFD’s senior these show, for “Most retail-able collection”.
Trinidad and Tobago is bubbling with fresh fashion design talent. With the fairly recent opening of The Caribbean Academy of Fashion and Design in Port of Spain, a slew of new creatives have been given the opportunity to hone their skills, and be trained under reputable names in the industry worldwide. Simply Runway is not only engaging designers, but employing other stakeholders such as fashion management students, stylists, models, writers and members of the beauty fraternity.
Simply Runway Owner, Candice Baccus Says:
“When we started Simply Runway 9 years ago, my intention was to establish a successful business and be my own boss. Five years into it i started thinking about how I can give back. Having grown it, understanding my customers’ needs and actively trying to provide for them, lead me to locally made fashion. My personal take on fashion specifically, is to maintain our uniqueness as Caribbean People, enjoying what defines us and accepting who we are wholly. I came up with a win-win scenario where I was giving back to our fashion industry while successfully still meeting my customers’ needs!”
Simply Runway establishes unique wholesale agreements with small-business designers, mainly new up-and-coming names, granting them the opportunity to access retail exposure within an established space at the high-traffic Grand Bazaar mall location and SimplyRunway.com; a scenario usually reserved for labels with a certain level of experience under their belts.
Simply Runway works with the designer to create or select from their portfolio, suitable pieces that fit the store’s aesthetic, customer preferences and budgets. The design becomes exclusive to the boutique. The arrangement is purely wholesale, and not consignment-based, as many start-up designers have grown accustomed to when they venture into retail deals.
Which Labels Have already signed on?
Jovew by Makisa Lewis
Loud by Afiya
Designers in store for more than 4 weeks have seen 60-100% in item sales. Several labels like Anibrook, Sew Lisa and Bhowram Atelier have signed new contracts to stock for a second time.
Within the first 4 weeks, designers see almost 50% of their merchandise moving off the racks.
Ricky Bhowram , Bhowram Atelier:
“Simply Runway is a pioneer in the fashion landscape. They offer designers the ability to fully develop their aesthetic, along with a platform for sale and further development. Bhowram Atelier has tremendously benefitted from our partnership and hope that others may follow in their footsteps.”
Makisa Lewis, Jovew:
“Working with Candice at Simply Runway has been simply amazing. She created an opportunity like no other in Trinidad, driving an awareness to local fashion designers, their creativity, their quality and showing that wholesale purchasing is possible within this industry. It was a smooth process and would definitely love to continue this relationship with company.”
Lisa Gittens, Sew Lisa:
“A longtime supporter of local fashion, Candice of Simply Runway puts her money where her mouth is. Its necessary and invaluable for small fashion producers to have access to the local retail market, which she provides. Additionally, Candice supports her featured designers in a mentor-ship capacity, sharing her knowledge and experience of selling fashion products in the local market, and most crucially, provides much needed revenue to small businesses by purchasing wholesale from the designers, an arrangement not widely practiced, if at all, in the local market. “
Janelle Forde, J.Angelique: “In addition to being simply a runway where my clothing was beautifully showcased, it is a perfect outlet to retail my designer collection, J.Angelique. The retail experience simply surpassed my expectation in terms of the caliber of clientele and sales turnover. Candice was simply a gem who understood the concept, my timeline and style of J.Angelique. Creating a collection specifically for the store was easy as we share similar tastes in style and expect high standards in quality.”
What happens next?
Simply Runway hopes to become completely or almost completely stocked with regional design labels, from handbags to jewellery to clothing and even shoes.
With the success of the Purchase with Purpose initiative so far, they are encouraged to welcome more new designers to apply in 2017.
How To Apply?
How can a new designer get in on the action?
Contact Candice Baccus:
(868) 493 5027
@simplyrunway on Instagram
In Person At Simply Runway, Grand Bazaar
Have your samples and a lookbook ready for review to get the ball rolling!