Anine Bing opens up about being a successful influencer to creating one of fashions hottest brands and expanding internationally.

By Brenna Dixon

 



You were a successful influencer – how did you think you cultivated such a strong social
following?

I credit a lot of it to timing. I was blogging really early on and was on Instagram before being an influencer was big. I was lucky to be able to grow a solid following in Scandinavia and had some great connections from working in fashion for several years. Early on, I think women were drawn to my effortless style and came to my page for inspiration. I really tried to engage with all the women who kept up with my life and tried to remain true to showing what I was doing and how I lived my life in the most authentic way possible.

Did you always aspire to work in the fashion industry?

I’ve always had a creative background — from playing in a band to running a blog, I’ve done a little bit of everything, but my love and passion has always been designing. I’ve been cutting up and mixing styles from flea markets since I was little, so starting my company was a natural next step. I really wanted to create the pieces I wanted to wear that were easy to mix and match so other women could look and feel great without a ton of effort.

What prompted you to start your own brand with your husband in 2012?

It started with cleaning out my closet. I had just had Bianca, my daughter, and I was bored and needed to clear out some of the extra clothes I wasn’t wearing. I picked 100 pieces and took pictures in them to put up on my blog. Everything sold out in a few hours and that’s when Nico and I realized that a lot of the women who followed me were looking for every day pieces that had become part of my uniform. I knew then that there was something missing from the fashion world and that I could create something based around the community I already had.

What would you consider was the most difficult part of starting your company?

Building a company from scratch has come with its fair share of challenges, from production knowledge to building a website to growing the best team around me. All of the little things throughout the way have taught me so much and I’m still learning something new everyday. With that being said, remembering to take time for myself was something I neglected when starting our brand. A lot of my time and energy for years has been focused on the growth of our company, so now I’m trying to prioritize a little self-care. To keep my energy up and my focus, I try to take a few minutes out of each day for myself. It can be as simple as reading a few pages of a book before I go to bed or doing a quick face mask, nothing big, but I do something each day just for me. This helps me recharge so I feel ready to give my all the next day. I really think it’s made me a better boss, mom, and wife.

Where do you get your design inspiration?

I am inspired by so many things I see in LA every day. Living in Los Angeles is its own inspiration. I am inspired by styles I see on the street, by vintage patterns and materials I see at flea markets. Music has also always been a huge part of my creative process and has impacted my designs since our first collection. I also find a lot of inspiration when I travel; I love to surround myself with new people and cultures. Seeing what’s going on on the streets in different cities, it keeps me feeling fresh.

Today, in 2018, you’ve opened your 10th store in London – how do you tap into today’s consumer and meet their wardrobe needs?

I try to listen to what our customers want. I am so lucky to have a community of women who I talk to often on Instagram and they tell me what they want to see. I get to talk to the women shopping our clothes in real time and I always try to keep them in the back of my mind when I sit down to design a new collection. But I also try to stay true to what I love, because that has always worked for us. I prefer essentials with edge so every collection has to feel true to our brand because we have carved out that space and a lot of women look to us for pieces that can be part of their uniform.

What do you consider the pillars of your business model that have contributed to 7 years and today’s success?

I really value collaboration. We have always been an all-hands company since the beginning and I think that mentality has gotten us to where we are today. A willingness to grow and learn is so important. I used to answer customer service calls and pack all the boxes but now we have experts doing all of those things and I am learning from them. I have always wanted to design but now I get to sit in board meetings and learn from our CFO and investors. That idea that it’s ok to not know everything is good, you have to be willing to listen and learn.

You started your brand with your husband and now are a mother of 2- how do you maintain your work/life balance?

It’s hard and I’m the first to say I don’t always balance everything perfectly but I try every day to be present. If I’m with my kids then I try to put my phone down and focus on them. If I’m at work, I try to ask questions and learn everything I can. I try to remind myself that I’m doing my best and that’s enough.

What has been the biggest obstacle you’ve overcome in your career?

I have had to learn how to trust myself. There were a lot of people who did not understand what I was trying to do when I started my business and there are still people every day who will challenge or question decisions we make at the company, but the truth is I knew from the beginning that there was something missing from the fashion market. The truth is I know my brand the best, I always know which styles will be bestsellers and which ones won’t. As a business owner you have to be open to listening to advice and opinions from others but you also have to trust your voice and believe you know what’s best for your company to help push it forward.

You have just secured a $15 million investment- can you give us a sneak peek as to what is instore for 2019?

Our brand is growing every day. We’re working on some exciting partnerships, and opening up more stores around the world in 2019. We just opened our 10th store in London which felt like a dream. Things are happening so quickly I’m sure there are so many things on the horizon for us I don’t even know about yet—that’s the most exciting part.

How has social media, and in particular Instagram, been detrimental to your brand?

Our customers are an active part of the brand and the choices we make. Everything we do from designs to the locations of our stores are determined from feedback we get from our community on social.  We ask our followers all the time what they want to see, and with our weekly drops we are usually able to deliver on that pretty quickly to keep the momentum going.

What kind of advice would you give to aspiring business women/designers?

Love yourself and give yourself a break. I have learned that you can do a lot but it’s impossible to do it all. The reality is there just isn’t time to do everything. Some days I get really busy with work so I can’t  cook a perfect dinner for my family but I can order from our favourite restaurant and put my phone down while we eat together. I think it’s about making choices and prioritizing what means most in that moment.

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