Georgia Smith hails from the Hawkes Bay, where she was instantly immersed in an artistic culture. So it should be no surprise she has since had large success with her fashion blog ‘GeoxSmith’ and her most recent endeavour, ‘Lines by GeoxSmith’. Lines has since been a roaring success with increasing sales, a developing ‘alternative’ culture and even international acts sporting items from the range. We were lucky enough to catch with the budding ‘artistic’ entrepenuer and discuss Lines, her inspirations and her aspirations for its future.
- Where has the idea for this company origniated from?
My initial interest in art origniated through NCEA at high school, where the lines started to become my style. Originally it started with spirals as I doodled during class and it morphed, as I developed a ‘rapper’ theme. I showed my dad this and he immediately said ‘this is super groovy, you could do something like this’ and it eventually became the t-shirt line.
- What inspired you to take this from art to fashion?
Its almost the people, because the people that I draw are incredibly inspiring. I’ll read an article about Kate Moss, or listen to Solange or Snoop Dogg and ill think ‘wow that’s super inspiring” and for me its about being able to wear something you love. Its hard to explain but you might love Chance the Rapper and feel good when you’re listening to Chance so wearing that portray’s your feelings. Nothin’ better than wearing something you truly love, ya feel?
- How have you managed to develop the businesses exposure so far?
I guess social media is a huge part of it these days, and I’ve had a blogging background (geoxsmith.com) beforehand but it was still extremely scary launching a brand because I was just so scared of failure. Especially the idea people were going to buy it because they feel sorry for me, which wasn’t the image I wanted. But right away I started getting orders from all over the country which gave me confidence, but over all social media was my largest form of exposure.
- What areas have you found yourself challenged in?
Definitely keeping organised and keeping on track. I was working full time over the summer and then coming home from a full time job at like 12am and having to pack all the orders before getting up early in the morning to send them off was tough. So I think that’s the most challenging thing I’ve faced. The reality of having a start-up on top of a job is time-consuming until it can be self-sufficient. You have to support it with a job in the meantime, especially for me also as I am still studying as well. But I guess hard work pays off in the end.
- So where do you view the business going and whats in the pipeline?
I guess my biggest goal is to have one of the artists that im drawing to actually see my work and request a personal piece. I’ve seen a lot of artists take an interest in fan art but I guess if you have a point of difference such as Lines does you can get more exposure and gain more interest because of how unqiue it is. Im really looking into broadening my target market also, as it's currently based in the 16-24 age range, maybe even older but id like to bump it up to 40-50 years old by possibly releasing a classics range with the people that they love with artists like John Lennon, Elton John and David Bowie. Some older guys are funky as heck but theres nothing really out there in New Zealand other than band tees or the plain old dad ‘button ups’.
- What makes you stand out compared to your competitors?
I guess its something you haven’t seen before, you havent seen faces made out of individual lines. Personally I haven’t seen a white t-shirt with a print on it that I truly like, without it being a band tee or a the typical branded logo so for me that establishes my point of difference. For me I feel im not selling the garment im selling the art. Many brands are so established now that they sell the label rather than remain creative and keep the artists unique style incorporated, so it gets lost. I don’t plan on ever letting this happen.
Georgia has created something here that is completely unique. The brand itself has gained notoriety for its artistic qualities, range of indie artist options and alternate style. It’s success has so far been underground and from the work Georgia has been doing you can see she doesn’t want this to change. A huge part of New Zealand culture is the obsession with straying away from mainstream labels and keeping the artists she draws unique and not necessatily mainstream, she is keeping her current clientel interested whilst expanding her reach. She spoke to me of the success she saw in the Chance the Rapper t-shirt after his performance at RnV, a sure sign her success is coming from fans of the artists. She currently provides a range of t-shirts, prints and tote bags.
- Personal reflection:
I love what Georgia is doing, she has created something that incoporates artistic quality, a demand for creative clothing and a growing underground ‘alternate’ scence to create a brand that appeals to anyone who loves the artists or even just the art. She is using the success of her blog GeoxSmith where she has worked with fashion icons such as Zara Staples and Trelise Cooper, to subtely promote her work by not directly promoting her product but promoting the culture. By writing pieces on the artists and their successes, she is developing an interest in her work without taking away from the label free image she has attained.
Being a young company, her biggest issue is going to be managing the balance between mainstreaming herself to get sales and keeping her work alternate to maintain her current clientel. By working around album releases, festivals and concerts she should be able to maintain her current success and cash in on peaking interest in the artists without directly trying to mainstream her work. Overall she has successfully created a start-up that appeals to a target market, previously untouched by New Zealands extensive fashion scene. Im excited to see where she goes next and I will definitely be copping an item from her range soon.
A Lecrae tee? Hint Hint.
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