Today we’d like to introduce you to Stephanie Vermaas.
So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
We started in Bali, Indonesia where I am from because at the time I couldn’t find what I wanted to wear. I had just finished college majoring in fashion business and had a jewelry line out which I sold in our concept store but I have always wanted to start a clothing line and there was a gap in the market at the time for everyday basics that were cute and a little street.
The island was saturated with resort wear or tourist t-shirts and we had no Zara or H&M back then so our first line of loose cotton tees and singlets was released in 2011 and it was called THIS IS A LOVE SONG just like the name of the store. When it took off and I learned more about pattern making, I wanted to expand the product line and ended up with a full womenswear collection that we shot for catalog and for fun I sent it to a list of sales agents that I found on the internet, long before Instagram launched and social media made things more accessible.
A sales agent in NYC replied with interest and we set up a meeting and that was my first time going to the States. I was nervous and landing in a big city like NYC was daunting and I felt like I was in a movie. They loved the collection and placed us immediately in Urban Outfitters, Revolve, NastyGal, and all the stores I loved and dreamt of being in when I was younger. I was thrown into the wholesale side of the business unexpectedly and learned as we were going. We did a lot of tradeshows, pop-ups, collaborations with artists and such and it was exciting but also tiring.
A lot has changed since then in the brand and the business but we have grown into a team of 45 people in our fair trade factory in Bali which is 85% women and all from different educational and religious backgrounds and we have an all-female team here in LA and recently relocated into a bigger HQ that is open for customers Tuesdays to Fridays for private shopping appointments. You can book an appointment here: https://thisisalovesong.com/pages/tials-hq
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
There has been a lot of moments where I wanted to pull my hair out. When you are running your own business, you are responsible for every decision and for things that go wrong you are responsible too and knowing that can be a lot of pressure sometimes.
I wear many hats and in my job description, I joke that I am the founder & CEO but the intern as well. The road has not been smooth but it has been so rewarding. Especially, when you see strangers wearing your designs or customers writing 5-star reviews and loving your products because it makes them feel good.
This is what inspires me and my team to keep going so the struggles are microscopic in comparison to the bigger picture that we are trying to create which is for every woman to truly embrace and love themselves for who they are and to also give back to our community.
THIS IS A LOVE SONG – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
THIS IS A LOVE SONG is women’s intimates, activewear, and swimwear line. We are also known as TIALS and we are designed in Los Angeles and produced in Bali in our very own fair trade factory where we are proud to have a team that reflects equality and diversity. Our mission is “to become a woman comfortable in her own skin” and we empower women through our products that promote body positivity and size inclusivity.
Our customers know us as a direct to consumer brand but as a company, we also design and manufacture private label products or custom designs for established or start-up brands. We recently produced the merchandise for Porn Hub which was really cool! We have also done merchandise for Major Lazer and Zedd and we are always looking for opportunities to produce high-quality fair trade garments.
This year we also started our digital service in LA for smaller fashion companies looking for a solution to establish their online presence as that is very important in today’s market landscape. This B2B side of the company is all served by TIALS STUDIO and hopefully will be one of the many extensions of our company story and what we do in the future!
What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
Being able to launch our fair trade factory in Bali, Indonesia that is our very own and completely self-funded. This was important to me because I wanted to support the community where I’m from by providing equal job opportunities, fair wages and health care to them and their family.
This is definitely my proudest accomplishment as an entrepreneur and the idea came from trying to solve our own problem when we were just a starting brand that could not hit the big minimums a lot of manufacturers impose on you.
After a few wholesale orders, we decided to make our own little studio with a few sewers but we also wanted to make sure our production was ethical so this was another drive that created TIALS STUDIO which produces all of THIS IS A LOVE SONG products as well as other brands, big or small. If you have a brand, please feel free to reach out!
My other proud moment this year was having Kelly Cutrone join our team because I have always looked up to her and I never imagined that she would one day be our publicist and my mentor. She is amazing!
- THIS IS A LOVE SONG: Intimates / $17 – $59
- THIS IS A LOVE SONG: Activewear / $49 – $99
- THIS IS A LOVE SONG: Swimwear / $39.50 – $95
- THIS IS A LOVE SONG: Apparel / $44 – $89
- TIALS STUDIO: Pattern Making / $75 – $250
- TIALS STUDIO: Sampling, Design, Production / enquire for pricing
- TIALS STUDIO : Brand Consulting & Strategy Call / $150 an hour
- TIALS STUDIO: Packaging Design & Mock Ups / $250 onwards
- TIALS STUDIO: Logo & Branding Suite / $800 onwards
- TIALS STUDIO: Social Media Monthly Package / enquire for pricing
- TIALS STUDIO: SEO Audit / $650 onwards
- TIALS STUDIO: Google Adwords Management / $400 onwards
- TIALS STUDIO: Web Design Packages / $4000 onwards
- Address: 5631 Hollywood Blvd. Suite F Los Angeles, CA 90028
- Website: www.thisisalovesong.com & www.tialsstudio.com
- Phone: 844-688-4257
- Email: email@example.com
@stephaniesrikandi / www.stephaniesrikandi.com, @scoobysnapstories, @mekaeldawson