INTERVIEW | RIME ARODAKY
Name: Rime Arodaky
Current Title / Company: Designer / CEO of Rime Arodaky
WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST JOB OUT OF UNIVERSITY?
Assistant Designer at Sonia Rykiel Studio. I got hired after an internship for a year during my fashion school.
WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO CREATE YOUR BUSINESS?
Being an entrepreneur was a forever dream. I was (& still am) a dreamer with something to say. When I launched my first collection, I just wanted to say " I can get married and be cool and myself at the same time." 6 years ago bridal was not as wild, free, fun and creative as it is now. I wanted to bring style & some fashion in this world.
TAKE US THROUGH A DAY IN THE LIFE OF YOUR BUSINESS?
Everyday is so different from each other! Things are always crazy. Bridal meeting, fittings, changing details on new gowns, meeting with the team to discuss strategy, PR or new projects (fashion show, photoshoots, e-shop...). Then I always try to have a moment each day for design or inspiration. Alone at home or in my office with music, my dog sitting next to me and a green tea, it's my moment of quietness. Then there is always somebody knocking at my door for a question. Often it's a customer service question. I always tend to stay close to my brides and their feedback, my goal is to make them the happiest!
HAS ANYTHING SURPRISED YOU ABOUT THE JOURNEY TO CREATE YOUR BUSINESS?
Yes! Realising that design is such a small part compared to handling the everyday business. This means 20 people working for you, all kind of meetings, customer relationship, strategy, quality and production! But I love it and it's never boring. Every season is a challenge and I love to reinvent myself and create new stories every time.
YOUR BUSINESS HAS GROWN. SO LET'S TALK MONEY. TELL US ABOUT THE INTIMIDATING PROCESS OF FINDING FUNDING FOR YOUR BUSINESS. ANY ADVICE FOR WOMEN WHO NEED TO FIND FUNDING FOR THEIR OWN STARTUPS?
There are no rules and there is no recipe. It was an adventure and it still is! When you grow, you actually need even more money. The tricky time is now actually. Not 2 years ago. Finding money is not easy especially these days. I started my business with my own money. My concept was to sell a DNA and something new through my blog at first.
My first brides loved my voice and bought their gown without any lookbook or photos. Just with a sketch and a mood board. That was very bold of them. I have designed my first 14 gowns like this. With their deposit. Thanks to the balance of their gown, I was able to create my first photoshoot by borrowing their uniques gowns (only one of each existed). I don't think anyone knows this story until now..
There was no help, no funding. The trust of bankers came 3 years after that. After 100 gowns sold, 2 photoshoots, & many knots in my stomach. The bankers helped because they saw the sales, a massive growth in 2 years, & a great hole in this industry and saw something different in what I had to say. I think they saw some gut!
Competition was not that big at the time. And the wedding industry was not as attractive as it is now.
YOUR BUSINESS HAS DEVELOPED QUITE A FOLLOWING. TELL US A BIT ABOUT MARKETING YOUR BUSINESS. HOW DID YOU SPREAD THE WORD?
I spread the word with my blog at first. Then french wedding blogs talked about me, then famous magazines followed them, then word of mouth for sure and of course Instagram.
I also invested a lot in my visual identity since I started, especially through strong campaign stories, breakthrough locations (like Brazil, California) and high quality models and photographers. I never compromise on this. Reinventing yourself through these little themed stories is so important. As important as the quality of our gowns, which all made in France.
WHAT DO YOU THINK IS THE KEY TO THE SUCCESS OF YOUR BUSINESS?
That I have found my own voice and I think I am what I design. It's not fake, it's not trend, it's what I am, feel and live. Find your concept, and be true to yourself. If it's authentic and unique, people (even bankers) will buy it. I also believe that energy and good vibes attracts the best! A "me too" kind of business (meaning doing like someone else) has never encountered sustainable success.
I also believe in taking risks. It needs to be scary at first ;)
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE BRIDAL TREND AT THE MOMENT?
The bridal trend I love is sheer and see through lace.
YOUR FAVOURITE PIECE FROM YOUR CURRENT COLLECTION?
Our Endora & Pearl gowns
Best advice you ever received? Make a business plan. And make one every year.
I wish I knew how to ….. Delegate more
What is your coffee order? No coffee, only tea. Green or chai with almond or coconut milk.
TV show do you wish was still on the air? Sex and the city of course!
Next travel destination? California for my RTW photoshoot, then NYC and Nashville for designer days. But can't stop dreaming about my last summer trip in Bali. I want to go back there whenever I can to do yoga, walk in tropical forest, listen to guitar by the beach and drink fresh juices.