Katie Perry is a designer from Sydney who specialises in lifestyle fashion. Don’t for a second confuse her with Katy Perry the singer. These two have some history together (who can forget the singer Perry muscling in on designer Perry).
Personally I think the entire ordeal just gave Katie Perry more exposure and catapulted her label into the stratosphere. One would think you’d come out of this situation more determined than ever to focus on your brand and make it as successful as possible, so it’s great to see her doing so well. And if you had to ask, I was on Team Katie from day 1.
- Occupation: Designer/Owner
- Label: Katie Perry
- Place of residence: Sydney
- Website: Katie Perry
- Facebook page: Katie Perry
- Twitter: kperryonline
Tell us a little about yourself
I have been lucky to grow up around the world – Africa, Asia, Australia and Europe, so I am a bit of a gypsy. I love travelling and have withdrawals if I don’t get on a plane every few months. Thats probably why the Katie Perry collection is very much about a travel wardrobe.
I was brought up by a very determined, hardworking single mum and have a gorgeous little brother.
How did you get your start in fashion?
Fashion runs in my blood. My great grandfather was a wool merchant and my mother worked closely with the Bennetton Brothers so it was only natural I would work in fashion.
I have worked in all areas from buying, retail, styling and managing. Then made the crazy leap and started Katie Perry.
Why did you choose fashion?
I love that fashion is an expression about how you feel about yourself.
Is the fashion industry what you expected it to be?
When I started I had no idea how hard it would be and it’s probably a good thing! I remember taking a photo of myself when I bought my first roll of fabric, I was so excited. Now there is no celebration or marking of the event as I do it every week.
What does your job consist of?
Everything. As a small bsuiness I am Head of Everything – from marketing, design, accounts, websites, blogs, customer service, HR…
Different parts of the day consist of different tasks and could be from travel, interviewing staff, working with suppliers to just doing my BAS.
Describe a typical week
MONDAY – Meeting with my cutter and/or my maker. This is a big day of being on the road as its takes me an hour and half to get to my makers (one way).
TUESDAY – Stay at the design studio and catch up on paperwork.
WEDNESDAY – Stay at the design studio update blog, website, newsletter. This is my computer day.
THURSDAY – First half is kept free in case I need to visit patternmaker or pick up fabrics and from 2pm I am back in the studio.
FRIDAY – See my fabric supplier.
SATURDAY – Set up and unpack at Paddington markets.
SUNDAY – No laptop day and help staff at Rocks markets. SLEEP LOTS.
Roughly how many hours do you work per week?
Now 4 years into the business I am learning to just go with how the hours and focus ebs and flows. Every week is different – this week I am doing 60 hours as I have new staff but I am also taking a half day on Friday to balance it out. I love the flexibility of having your own label.
What are the key skills you need for your role?
So many skills I could easily be here all day…
- Self motivation
- Learn to laugh when things for pear shapped
- Think outside the box
- The ability to constant keep changing and know that you will learn a lot about yourself
- Find the designs that work
- Stick to your market
What do you enjoy most about your role?
I LOVE LOVE designing and I also love my customers. There is nothing better then getting a woman to try on a piece and have her come out of the dressing room with a smile on her face, shoulders back because she feels great.
What do you find challenging?
Anything to do with paperwork. I am very right brain so having to do my BAS and accounts is torture.
What do you do in your time off?
I am a power yoga addict. Get me on my mat and its just me to worry about, pure freedom for 60-90 mins. Also love grabbing my iPod and going for a run outdoors.
What’s the highlight of your career so far?
How could I ever overlook winning the whole Perry vs Perry case. This was one time when I stuck to my principles and the case was dropped. Although it was an extremly difficult time for me the silver lining was I had so much support (even received emails from Iceland to Vietnam) and it made me even more hungry about protecting my baby, I mean my business.
Do you have any advice for someone starting out in fashion?
Take any chance you are given. I did work experience 3 days a week for 6 months and the contacts I made through it are to this day invaluable.
Finish this sentence: Fashion is…
… life and whatever makes you feel great.