The founder of Alice Kass was recently interviewed by fellow #girlboss Rebecca Perez of Goss Club, an inspiring and entertaining blog we are super proud to have been featured in. We always love collaborating with other boss babes who share our mission and values. In Rebecca's words:
Goss Club is meant to be a place where women could interact with each other. Where young girls, who don't know where to get the tools, resources or networks needed to succeed could come on this platform and learn how. We wanted to build a strong community of women who would inspire and empower each other, in order to make a brighter future.
Check out Goss Club + the full interview below to learn a little bit more about the story behind Alice Kass lingerie.
Where did the concept of Alice Kass come from?
Alice Kass stemmed from the personal frustration of trying to find undergarments that reflected the way I dressed. I wanted bras and underwear that looked cool and fit into the rest of my wardrobe! I tend to wear a lot of black and leather and was looking for something comfortable that wasn’t boring, sexy but not over the top.
The lingerie world tends to deal in extremes, extremely girly with bows and bright pinks, extremely expensive with delicate luxury lace, extremely sexual with bondage and latex, or extremely basic and functional. Not that I'm not into the feminine, luxurious, sexual or functional, I just didn't want to have to choose. The modern woman shouldn't have to settle!
I quickly realized that a lot of the women around me shared the same frustrations and couldn't really identify with the traditional images pushed by major lingerie companies. I started researching and found a ton of amazing brands doing really cool things; lingerie you want to show off as part of your outfit, underwire bras that are actually comfortable, high-waisted thongs for our high-waisted Levi's, styles we actually want to wear. The problem was that I just couldn't find one store that brought all these brands together.
With my background as a luxury womenswear buyer, I knew this was an opportunity I had to jump on. With the support of my friends and family, I launched Alice Kass in November 2014. The response was amazing; both women and men have been overwhelmingly excited about being able to get their hands on hard-to-find, different lingerie. The pieces I select are unique but also wearable on a daily basis.
Alice Kass lingerie isn’t just for special occasions; women should feel good every single day. Hence my motto: lingerie as an everyday luxury. No padding, no push-ups, Alice Kass is about the woman wearing the lingerie, so we focus on fashion pieces that feel as good as they look.
Did you have any mentors/fashion inspirations?
I am most inspired by other women entrepreneurs I've encountered since starting Alice Kass. There have been so many amazing women that have given me advice and supported me along the way, too many to name. I organize many pop-up shops, events and photoshoots which have led me to develop relationships with incredibly talented and tough women!
Kim Lallouz of Monsieur Restaurant/Miss Prêt à Manger has been a huge inspiration, she works hard, gets shit done right and puts her heart into everything and she's been a great supporter of Alice Kass since day 1.
I also love getting into huge discussions about business strategy with Brit, one of the owners of Barbarella Nail Salon. She’s super insightful and inspiring and I always leave our convos with a list of five books I need to read haha.
Where do you find your daily inspiration for trends?
I think my inspiration comes to me when I'm doing something else like working out, driving, sleeping. All the influences from conscious life manifest into a specific idea when you aren't trying.
Also, conversations are #1. Bouncing off ideas often leads to new ideas (thanks Hava). Last but not least, browsing social media; I follow a lot of magazines, brands and photographers and those inspire me on the daily to keep pushing and improve.
How do you balance creativity and business?
Business and creativity go hand in hand for me. I've always loved the business side just as much as the creative side and wouldn't part with either. I think that's why I started my own business, so I could do it all. Some people are more one than the other and they get a partner to complement them, which is cool. For me, it's me and my alter ego. Sabrina is business, Alice is creative.
What advice would you give someone starting their own fashion business?
Find your thing, your unique angle, and focus on that. Don't be afraid to just start right away even if it's not perfect.
Be on top of social media, it's seriously the most accessible and powerful means of marketing. Talk to everyone, ask for advice from people who've made it (in your field and others), collaborate and grow your network.
What do you know today that you wish you knew when you first launched?
I wish I had started my Instagram account sooner!!! I always thought I had to be more legit before starting things but honestly, you'll never be fully ready, you just have to go for it.
What are your future plans for Alice Kass?
SO many plans!!! Starting a bridal section, collaborating with Jane & Rye jewelry on a really cool project, throwing a huge festival themed pop-up shop for Osheaga this summer, welcoming Canadian brand Mary Young for the Fall and just continued growth, learning and collaboration overall.
My goal for Alice Kass is to become the premiere Canadian destination for lingerie and a hub for collaboration between like-minded, independent, modern females. I'll be getting more involved with charities that help women here and abroad by raising funds and awareness at every pop up shop I host going forward.
I'm also really looking forward to participating at Mural from June 9th to the 19th on Saint-Laurent street, it's one of the most exciting festivals in Montreal! We'll be there with all our new lingerie for the whole eleven days and we have some exciting contests and giveaways planned.